From a young age, I have always been fascinated with the ingredient list on the cosmetic labels. I would try to find some ingredients that I could recognise and try to "recreate" this product with simple ingredients I could find in my mothers food pantry. I would make masks with honey and oats, serums with Olive oil and Rosemary and much to my mothers dismay, I would mix all of her creams together hoping to make one big super cream! I couldn't understand why companies chose only certain ingredients for their product, so why not mix everything together?
Fast forward to young Chanti in Esthetics schools. One of the first thing you learn is ingredients. We Learnt how to recognise them and what skin concern they are good for, which ingredients are necessary, and finally, which of these ingredients could be harmful.
It always bothered me that there would even be a portion of my course where I would have to know if I was putting harmful ingredients on my clients skin. Wasn't there some sort of regulation for this? The truth is, the FDA has not regulated beauty ingredients since 1938! Which results in skin care companies being able to put almost anything in their creams. It is up to us, the professionals and the consumers to do our homework and support the brands that are doing their best to produce clean, organic and safe skin care products for us to use.
Up to 60% of what we put on our skin ends up being absorbed in the body. When the products we use are made from harmful artificial ingredients such as; Parabens, Petroleum, and Fragrances/Parfums an unnecessary burden is placed on not only our skin, but our entire body. We can avoid this burden by being mindful with the brands and products we chose to invest in. There are several ways to chose a product, you can avoid harmful chemicals, chose organic brands, support local businesses and much more! Below I will list a few steps that I take before investing in a brand for my business or purchasing a product for myself .
Here are some potentially harmful ingredients to avoid:
Parabens: Used as a preservative, it is the most popular product and found in almost any skin care product that has water (listed as "aqua"). Parabens can mimic hormones and disrupt fonctions of the endocrine system. The word "Paraben" may not come up in your ingredient list, look out for ingredients like; propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.
Phthalates: Phthalates are used as plasticizers, ingredients that changes the texture and quality of skincare products. It iis shown to disrupt hormones and decrease sperm count, therefore harming the reproductive system. Look for these ingredients when purchasing your next serum, mask or cream; di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), and diethyl phthalate (DEP).
Sulfates: Typically used in foaming face cleansers and shampoos. Sulfates can be very harsh and strip the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which is linked to immunity and disruption of skin health. It can also cause eye irritation and dryness of the skin and scalp. Here's Sulfates variations on product labels; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate.
Petroleum: This ingredients is used in many creams as an inexpensive moisturizer. In reality, it clogs pores, gives a false sense of hydration and can contain cancer causing chemicals. It has been banned as a skin care ingredient is many European countries.
Fragrance/Parfum: Almost all scented skin care products, fragrance (or Parfum) appears on the label. "Fragrance" can be made up of several different chemicals, some of these chemicals are associated with allergic reactions, hormone disruption and severe skin irritations. Consumers cannot know what is in a particular fragrance, therefore it’s best to look for a product that is scented with natural ingredients instead. Some of these natural ingredients could be Essential oils, herbal infusions and dry botanicals.
Know how to read the labels:
Another way to be ingredient savvy when purchasing your products is to look at the order of the ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in proportional order with highest quantities at the top of the list. So have a look at your favourite cream or serum , if an ingredient you don’t like the sound of is featured somewhere in the top half, it’s probably best to look for an alternative product. For example: If I find a serum I might like, and "Fragrance" is one of the first 3 ingredients, it is likely that this serum will leave my skin dehydrated and irritated.
It is important to note that If an ingredient is classified as a drug, it will be listed before everything else and active ingredients may be in a separate list.
Chose Organic Skin Care
Brands that are Certified Organic have done the homework for you. When you choose organic skincare, you are choosing products whose ingredients work with the sophisticated natural systems of your skin .Organic means using skin products made of plant derived ingredients along with some other naturally occurring ingredients. These ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, GMO and so on. Here are some reputable labels that brands will put on there packaging to let you know they are Organic:
Supporting Local Businesses:
It is easier to ask questions, visit the facility and order from the source when you are shopping from a local business. Local businesses that truly care about the health and wellbeing of their customers and the environment will always be happy to share details about their ingredient selection and manufacturing processes.
Given the right nutrients, our skin has the ability to care for and mend itself, and hopefully I was able to provide enough insight to help you on your next skin care shopping trip or on your next visit with your Esthetician!
Cheers to Clean and Happy Skin!