Ever wondered what impact personal care cosmetics and beauty products have on the planet and our bodies? Personal care rituals are an integral part of our daily routines and, let’s face it, healthy radiant skin will never go out of fashion. On average, we use nine personal care products daily. To name a few: deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, body lotion, sun cream, make-up and the list goes on. Luckily, due to consumers’ increased interest in an eco-friendly lifestyle, innovative skin-friendly products are on the market. So, let’s find out how to consciously choose natural products with the planet and our health in mind.
The Impact of Cosmetics on Our Bodies
Did you know that cosmetic ingredients do not remain on the surface of our skin? Our skin actually penetrates these ingredients making their way into our bloodstream and accessing our organs and glands. Depending on what we put on our skin, this can be beneficial or detrimental to our health. Exposure to harmful chemicals absorbed through our skin can lead to a variety of health issues. In fact, our personal care regime can even strip away our bodies’ natural oils and moisture, further increasing the vulnerability of our skin by making it more permeable.
Parabens are the perfect example of the detrimental effect a cosmetic ingredient can have on our bodies. These harmful chemicals are commonly found in everyday items including: shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, deodorant, toothpastes, moisturiser, make up and many more. According to EWG, parabens can disrupt hormones in the body, harm fertility and reproductive organs as well as increasing the risk of cancer. Long story short, be sure to avoid products containing parabens.
How Beauty Regimes Affect the Planet
It’s not just our bodies that we are potentially harming. In fact, studies have shown that hormone systems of wildlife are harmed due to the chemicals found in these products. The array of chemicals, toxins and plastics that rinse down drains eventually end up poisoning our waters. As a result, natural habitats and wildlife are damaged or even destroyed.
It’s not just the non-sustainable packaging of these products that leach toxins into our waters and soils, the toxic chemicals also play a part in this cycle. A common example is ‘Oxybenzone’ or ‘Benzophenone-3’, which is found in many sunscreens. Although this ingredient does wonders for protecting our skin against the harmful rays, it actually contributes to the bleaching of the world’s coral reefs. These reefs house diverse ecosystems and provide habitats and food for many marine species. The sunscreen on our bodies washes off into the sea, ocean, river or lake when we take a dip, or ends up trickling down the drains into the earth’s water when we take a shower.
So, it turns out that our self-care rituals actually have an impact on more than just our personal hygiene and glowing skin. Luckily, the solution is simple – consciously choose products with both health and the planet in mind.
Healthy Skin and Eco-Friendly Solutions
EWG’s Skin Deep Database
The Environmental Working Group, also known as EWG, is a girl’s best friend when choosing the safest products and the best brands. Skin Deep provides ratings on cosmetic safety based on the hazards associated with the product’s ingredients. EWG evaluates and assesses personal care products to combat deficiencies in product regulations. You can search for a product or brand to see how it marks on the scale at the click of a mouse. It’s logically divided into a coloured scale as green represents a low hazard, orange a medium hazard and red a high hazard. Skin Deep also provides top tips for safer products by informing us on which harmful chemicals we should avoid.
Strive to fill your personal care rituals with beauty brands and products that use natural ingredients. Natural beauty products do not contain harmful chemicals, artificial colours or ingredients that typically cause skin irritation. They are enriched with natural fragrances which, unlike their traditional artificial counterparts, do not contain chemicals that damage our bodies.
Go the Extra Environmentally-Friendly Mile
Products with organic ingredients tend to be the most eco-friendly option. That’s because natural ingredients don’t always equal sustainability. The increase in demand for natural ingredients has resulted in farming and mining at an unsustainable level. In order for suppliers to meet demands, pesticides are commonly used to decrease costs and speed up the creation process. Pesticides are detrimental for the environment as they pollute the air, water and soil, meaning ecosystems are damaged and biodiversity is diminished. For this reason, organic products are great choices. Other sustainable ingredients worth investing in are: coconut oil, hemp oil and aloe vera.
Avoid Palm Oil
The palm oil industry is unsustainable due to its destructive deforestation. In fact, research shows that thousands of orangutans have died because of this industry. The alarming rates at which the vast amounts of rainforest are cut down puts many species at risk. Elephants, rhinos and tigers are also at risk because of habitat destruction. Luckily, the solution is simple. Choose products and brands that do not use palm oil. When checking the ingredients, keep an eye out for “vegetable oil” or “vegetable fat” which is often palm oil under a different name.
Whether it be for the sake of your health, the planet or even both, there are so many reasons to make conscious product choices. The good news is that there are plenty of clean safe skincare products out there. Opt for natural chemical-free products in order to nourish and support your skin. This transition certainly won’t happen overnight so start with one product at a time on your quest for happier, healthier skin that the planet will thank you for. What are your top sustainable beauty brands and products?