What Is Clean Beauty?
Clean beauty means the products contain clean, safe and non-toxic ingredients. They’re free from synthetic ingredients which can be harmful to your skin and enters your blood through your skin. Our skin is your largest organ and performs vital functions for our bodies. Therefore it’s vital to be mindful of what we put on our skin.
Why Choose Clean Beauty?
About eight years ago, I leant that it takes 26 seconds for what your put on your skin to enter your bloodstream and women, on average, apply more than 168 different chemicals to their skin every day. Quite a shocking amount in my opinion.
Clean beauty products are a rapidly growing industry. Consumers want to take their health into their own hands and avoid the chemicals and toxins that are in many conventional beauty products, as well as those that are found in everyday life.
The number of people who don’t believe in animal testing is also on the rise. This has led to more people looking for clean beauty products with vegan or cruelty-free ingredients.
The Dirty Dozen – Ingredients To Avoid
The Dirty Dozen is a list of 12 chemicals that are often found in skincare products. They may have toxic effects on the human body and weaken the immune system. I tend to avoid these chemicals like the plague!
These chemicals are as follows:
Often found in antiperspirants and most other personal care products. Aluminium inhibits the body from sweating, which is how our body rids itself of toxins, it also mimics oestrogen. According to the doctor my mum saw following her cancer, it’s also almost always found in breast cancer tissue biopsies.
2. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)
This is a colourless, clear, viscous liquid that smells like ammonia and is often found in products that foam to make them creamy or sudsy, for example, face wash and soaps. It’s also common in eye makeup, fragrances, hair products, and sunscreens.
3. DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyl)
These are formaldehyde (yep, you read that right!) releasing preservatives that are commonly found in hair straightening products, skincare products, shampoos and conditioners, nail polish and laundry detergent. This ingredient can cause skin allergies, sleeplessness, joint pain and headaches.
4. Mineral Oils, For Example, Petroleum Jelly
This is a really common ingredient that is a by-product of petrol. It’s often found in products the doctors prescribe for eczema and such. Commonly found in creams, ointments and lotions, as well as cosmetics (especially lip balms). You’ll have heard of a well-known brand (Vaseline) that uses this as a base. It’s used in products to “lock in” moisture for both skincare and hair care products. It coats the skin in a plastic-like layer and means the skin cannot eliminate toxins and often causes acne and other conditions.
5. Parabens (eg. Methylparaben, butylparaben, and Propylparaben)
These are super common are found in most cosmetics (especially moisturisers and deodorants) and skincare products as a preservative and to increase the shelf life of a product. Parabens have been linked to hormone disruption. People are becoming more aware of the harm of this ingredient because many brands are often labelling their products as “paraben-free”.
6. PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
These are chemical thickeners, solvents and softeners. You can find them in creams and cleansers, etc. These have been found to reduce and alter the skins moisture factor. They also increase the skins absorption rate allowing the skin to drink in more product (and chemicals).
7. Propylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol
This is a viscous, colourless liquid that acts as a harsh surfactant when in a liquid state. It’s a strong humectant (it attracts/absorbs water) which is why it’s so widely used. They can weaken the protein and cellular structure of your skin because of how quickly these chemicals are absorbed. These are found in shampoo, conditioners, cosmetics, sunscreen, deodorants, etc.
These are ingredients that end in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” These delightful compounds are used to soften, smooth and moisten. They’re known to be harmful to fish and other wildlife. Linked with endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicant and impair human fertility.
9. Sodium Lauryl Sulplate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
These are foaming agents and detergents that are in most products that foam, bubble and lather (think soap, shampoo, bubble bath, etc). You can also find it in household cleaning products. It’s even used as a degreaser in mechanics garages! It’s toxic to aquatic organisms and is also a respiratory tract, eye and is a common skin irritant.
These are often labelled as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), di(2-Ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), and more. However, this ingredient is all to often hidden as a fragrance and not on the label at all! It makes the scent last longer, make it stick to the skin and is also found in nail polish and eyelash adhesive. Phthalates are quite significant endocrine disruptors and, in some cases, facilitating early puberty in girls and boys, and reduced sperm count in men.
This is an antimicrobial ingredient that is a synthetic antibacterial and antifungal agent. It’s really common in hand sanitisers, antiperspirants, toothpaste and antibacterial soap. It’s very toxic to aquatic life (you don’t want to wash this down the plughole!). It has a significant impact on thyroid function.
12. Synthetic Fragrances/Parfum
This is a tricky one because when they say parfum, there are so many dodgy things that it can be. It’s used as an umbrella term for such a big list of chemicals that there is no way of telling what’s actually in the product that you’re buying or how hazardous that particular set of ingredients is.
Why I Choose Clean Skincare
These ingredients aren’t used in organic skincare products because their effects can be detrimental to a person’s skin and health. They have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, allergies, developmental toxicity, ecotoxicity and more.
It is best to always buy products with chemical-free ingredients from brands that you know or trust as there will be less risk involved with these types of products. There are so many on the market these days that choose ethical, clean beauty products has never been more simple.