Today, an endless number of brands offer products such as moisturizers, shampoos, hair gels, deodorants, etc., which make big promises. More often than not, these promises fall short when it’s revealed that these products are filled with harmful ingredients. Luckily, the personal care industry is now making a push for clean beauty. Contemporary brands are ensuring that their products are reliable, toxin-free, and effective.
Why opt for clean beauty?
Our largest organ, the skin is an entryway into our body. Did you know that 60% of every single product we apply is absorbed almost instantaneously? It is crucial, then, for us to ensure that everything we feed our body is adding to its health, and not taking away from it. The truth is, if we continue to use products filled with toxins, we can end up with dire consequences such as hives, eczema, patchy skin, and more.
So, how do you know if a particular product is ‘clean’? Simply put, if a product’s formulation is devoid of toxic ingredients, it is deemed to be clean. So, it must be easy to identify the products that are good for you? Not quite. While switching to toxin-free products is a great idea, you may not have the time to delve deeper into each ingredient and research its origin and backstory.
So, to start with, you can simply opt for the products that come with certifications like “Made Safe”, ‘Toxin-free”, “Cruelty-free” and “Environment-friendly”. These certifications clearly imply that the brands are doing all the research for you and bringing you the safest products. Beyond this, here is a list of toxic ingredients that are absolute no-no’s for personal care products:
Here’s a scary fact: PEGs were used as a nerve gas in World War II, and are now widely used in products you put on your skin. Hiding in most thick and creamy products, PEGs or polyethylene glycol is a thick liquid comprising chemicals like ethylene dioxide and 1.4-dioxane. Sure enough, PEGs can cause damage to the nervous system. They also promote the penetration of other ingredients into your skin, they can really make sure impurities enter into your bloodstream and cause imbalances.
Sulphates are the most common additives which are widely used as foaming agents in shampoos, face washes, and shower gels. So, the next time you feel like a good foamy bath might be making you squeaky clean, it might just be drying and irritating your skin. Two of the most common forms of sulphates to look out for are SLS and SLES which can irritate the eyes, skin, and even the lungs with long-term usage. Moreover, they contain a carcinogen – 1.4-dioxane – which can have disastrous health effects. Most sulphate-laden products are also tested on animals to check the level of harm they can cause to humans, making them not only harmful but also cruel.
As the name suggests, petrochemicals are derived chemically from petroleum. They have no known benefits for the skin and do nothing more than clogging the pores to form a barrier that makes it air and water-resistant. Petrochemicals usually contain phthalates, phenoxy-ethanol, and aluminum which make the skin appear smooth but cause frequent breakouts by blocking the pores.
Parabens, too, are pretty common in the world of personal care, since they are preservatives that extend the shelf life of most products. However, these can cause serious hormone imbalances in the body and can also cause breast cancer. So, it is best to entirely avoid products that contain parabens such as propylparaben and isobutylparaben.
Finally, Triclosan is a mainstream antibacterial and antiperspirant substance used in many deodorants, face washes, hand sanitizers, etc. This can cause contact dermatitis, skin irritation, and reduced resistance to antibiotics. FDA has even banned brands from using the ingredient in soaps. Thus, you’ll be better off avoiding it too.
Evidently, toxin-filled products are not only bad for us but also detrimental to the environment. Breaking away from brands that use these ingredients will be your first step towards a conscious and healthy lifestyle. There is no dearth of safe products in India today. Look for these beautifully packaged and considerately created products, and it’ll definitely be worth it!
Inputs by Dipali Mathur Dayal, CEO and Co-Founder of Super Smelly