Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wellness Wednesdays: Toxic Beauty

On my journey to living a healthier life I have tackled many of the basics.  I started with nutrition – eating healthier and learning more about the sources of foods, pesticides, organics, GMOs, and how it can all disrupt your body.  Next, I tackled the cleaning products arena.  I made my own laundry detergent and cleaning products that are safer to use.   

My next battle is what I put on my skin each day- makeup, as well as lotions and cleansers.  Your skin absorbs much of what is put on it, including any nasty chemicals.  I have put this off for quite a while as it is expensive to just trash your nasty products and replace them with better choices, but also to learn what is in my favorite beauty products was a scary thought.  BUT, the time has come and I am going through them now.  ::nervous sigh:: 

Here's a good video to help explain why you should be cautious with your makeup and other beauty product choices.

First I wanted to set some guidelines for myself so I knew what I was willing to put on my skin for the rest of my life, therefore making it evident what I was trashing and what to replace it with.   Here are my guidelines:

      I.         Does not contain any of the “dirty dozen” ingredients:

1. BHA and BHT
2. Coal tar dyes
3. DEA
4. Dibutyl phthalate
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
6. Parabens
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
8. PEG compounds
9. Petrolatum
10. Siloxanes
11. Sodium laureth sulfate
12. Triclosan

             This ingredient list was created by a David Suzuki, a Canadian geneticist and founder of the David Suzuki foundation.  This list contains many ingredients that cause cancer, reproductive and non-reproductive organ toxicity, and other health risks.  Here is a link to his organization’s guide to the dirty dozen list.   You can read more about each of these ingredients in more detail by following that link.

 II.          Toss any products that may interfere with my hormones.  Since I have a hormone imbalance already (PCOS), I have to be extra-conscious of any ingredient that can make it into my body mimicking my natural hormones and causing things to get even more off track. These are called Endocrine Disrupters. 

  III.         Rates a 3 or less on EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database.  This database contains almost 10,000 personal care product ingredients and shares them on their website, along with ratings and concerns for each product.  Most of my products were listed.
Here are my products I use regularly and how they rated against my guidelines:
  • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion = 2
    Largest concerns were allergens.
    Verdict: KEEP IT!
  • Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser = 2
    Largest concerns were allergens.
    Verdict: KEEP IT!
  • Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara = 3
    Largest concern – contains parabens (endocrine disruption)
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
  •  Jane Iredale Amazing Base (mineral foundation from dermatologist) = 7
    Largest concerns – Cancer, organ toxicity (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, dimethicone, etc)
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
  •  Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow = 4
    Largest concerns = Cancer
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
  •  Neutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Treatment Foundation = 5?
    This score is questionable as the old formulation was listed.  Not sure if there is a difference to the current formulation.

    Largest concerns = Biochemical/cellular level changes, endocrine disruption, cancer, organ toxicity (contains Retinyl Palmitate, Parabens)
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
  •  Clinique Long Last Lipstick = 5
    Largest concerns – cancer, organ system toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxology (Glyceryl Rosinate, BHT)
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
  •  Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer = ?
    This product was not in the database.  Upon further investigation it has been found that this product contains nanoparticles.  I was not able to obtain a complete list of ingredients and Clinique does not allow you to request a full list of ingredients anyways. You can only ask them about up to 4 ingredients per product.  A little sketchy if you ask me.  This is my FAVORITE product as I always have bags and dark circles under my eyes, as well as blemishes and it has never failed me.  I hope I can find a good replacement.
    Verdict: TRASH IT! 
  •  Clinique Quickliner = 4
    Largest concerns – Neurotoxicity, cancer, organ system toxicity, possible endocrine disruption. (Aluminum Powder, BHT, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE)

    This has always been my favorite eyeliner as well.  Goes on SO smooth and easy to apply.  I’ll be sad to see this one go.
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
  • Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm = 2
    Not a lot to worry about with this one except perhaps Castor Oil (can cause developmental/reproductive toxicity).
    Verdict: KEEP IT!
    (or trash it, I’m not too attached to it)
  • Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Shampoo = 4
    Largest concerns = Fragrance – organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity, cancer
    Verdict: TRASH IT!
That's a lot of things to trash!  It's a little scary too, knowing that I've been putting this junk on my body since around the age of 16.  
Next week I'll talk about some options for replacing all of these things I've trashed.  I've compiled a LOOONG list of possible companies, but still need to sort it out and read reviews, ingredient lists, etc.  STAY TUNED!!

Written by: Crystal Warren, Representative for Power Up for PCOS which provides support to women with PCOS through educational Power Up Groups, building connections with other PCOS women, calendar of upcoming PCOS events, professional referrals and reviews, PCOS store, and other specialized events to raise money for PCOS research.  To find our more, visit, email or by calling 810-545-PCOS (7267)
Power Up for PCOS - emPowering Women to Manage PCOS

*Please note that I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give out any medical advice. I am a woman with PCOS who is sharing my personal experiences in this blog and I advise you to consult a professional.*

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