The Dirty Dozen in Cosmetics

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A skincare and makeup routine is like clockwork. Mornings may typically start with a cleanser and toner, followed by eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Once your face is primed, it’s ready for concealer, foundation, eyelid primer, brow pencil, eyeliner, eye shadow, lip liner, lipstick, a swipe of blush, mascara and finishing powder. Throughout the day, you may need touch-ups and reapply lipstick or gloss all day as needed. Chances are, you rarely think about what you’re putting on your skin as long as it looks great in a selfie. But research shows we definitely need to pay attention. As the body’s largest organ, our skin is like a giant sponge, immediately soaking up anything that is applied topically and absorbing harmful substances and ingredients into the bloodstream. It may sound scary, but your skincare and makeup products could be making you sick! That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the 12 top offenders in skincare and beauty products known as The Dirty Dozen.

There are many references to The Dirty Dozen in just about every industry. One of the first mentions to The Dirty Dozen was an international environmental treaty signed in 2001 to eliminate and restrict the production of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Another popular use of the phrase refers to pesticides found in food products. But thanks to the growing demand from consumers for transparency in products, there’s new Dirty Dozen List revealing the most toxic chemicals in cosmetics.

If you’re like the average adult you probably use around nine personal care products a day and some age groups use 15 or more. Why is that a concern? Because in each of these products, there can be a wide range of chemical ingredients that are detrimental to your health. When you regularly use body wash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, deodorant, foundation, and other cosmetics, the chemical load stresses the body. This is referred to as bioaccumulation, and when some chemicals cannot be removed from your body quickly enough, they are stored in cells and can cause allergies, sensitivities, asthma, reproductive disorders, autoimmune responses, and even cancer.

If you’re interested in becoming more conscious of the products you’re putting on your body, it’s easier to start with a small list and then broaden your knowledge base. By familiarizing yourself with The Dirty Dozen, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier 2019!

Take a screenshot or print out this list of ingredients in The Dirty Dozen before you shop for skincare or cosmetics. You’ll learn to easily recognize these harmful offenders on the ingredient labels of many products. Once you’re informed about which ingredients to avoid, you can dig deeper into studies supporting why they should be avoided. Pay close attention to the concentration levels on labels, as this is the most important factor when determining toxicity and if the product is relatively safe to use on a daily basis. Just because an ingredient is in a product, it may not be cause for alarm if the concentrations are under or within stated guidelines for safety.

Two great tools to use when you’re in the store browsing products are the Think Dirty App and EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The reason we prefer these two options is that they focus on the product itself and list the ingredients in that specific line and at the levels of concentration considered harmful. The Think Dirty App allows you to scan the product barcode and reveal ingredients as well as safer options if the product you’re looking at is unsafe. It also assigns score levels for ingredients that help you quickly understand if you should be concerned or not. If you want scientific references to organizations that have published studies on specific ingredients, they are at your fingertips!

If you’d like to be a beauty sleuth and learn more toxic ingredients, the health issues, product labeling laws and even how to find hidden ingredients in cosmetics, you can visit an in-depth overview at Beauty Schools Directory about toxic cosmetics. This guide shows how deceptive claims such as “natural,” “organic,” and “green” are used. Both the FDA & American Cancer Society state that this type of language is unregulated and there is no evidence that products labeled with these terms are safer than products that don’t have the terms. Once you become informed, the power is in your hands to purchase products that are better for your overall health.

  1. Coal Tar Dyes (P-Phenylenediamine or Colors CI #####)
  2. Petrolatum
  3. Triclosan
  4. BHA & BHT
  5. DEA (Diethanolamine)
  6. DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)
  7. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
  8. PEG Compounds
  9. Siloxanes
  10. SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
  11. Parabens
  12. Parfum (Fragrance)

Written by Joel TK

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