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TODAY’S BEAUTY INDUSTRY STANDARDS (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THEM)

February 11, 2019 by Hy Serure

TODAY’S BEAUTY INDUSTRY STANDARDS (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THEM)

Every one of us has a goal to properly support our health and well-being. Our efforts may be doing the reverse, though. In an attempt to cleanse, soften, moisturize, and protect our skin with countless mainstream personal care products, we have been exposing ourselves to hundreds of harmful toxins.

We’re not talking about minor redness or irritation that happens after using a new product. We’re talking about altering the chemistry of our bodies, upsetting our hormones, and increasing our risk of cancer. According to information from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average woman uses approximately 12 personal care products which may contain as many as 168 different chemical ingredients. Chemical exposures to hormone-altering toxins like parabens and phthalates are happening on a daily basis for many women— every day for a lifetime.

Perhaps even more startling than this is the fact that the majority of consumers are in the dark about what they’re actually putting on their bodies. 

PERSONAL CARE PRODUCT REGULATION

Most people understand the significance of choosing organic foods, but very few recognize the importance of making safer decisions concerning their personal care products. This uninformed state is due to their being very little changes in personal care product regulation laws. In fact, the last time they were changed in the United States was 1938. The European Union, on the other hand, has banned more than 1,300 ingredients over the past several decades. In comparison, the U.S. has banned 11 since 1938.

Furthermore, the average consumer assumes that if a product has made it to the shelves of their local department or drug store, this product has undergone extensive testing. It may have, but not the kind we think... 

THE FDA AND REGULATION

While the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully regulates what you put into your body in terms of food and drugs, there are no firm regulations on what you put on your body. 

What’s more, there's a lot of confusion about what is and isn't regulated by the FDA. For example, some personal care products fall into the category of “drugs” such as hair treatments for dandruff or cleansers for acne. These are subject to regulation. On the other hand, a range of products meant to cleanse or beautify— including moisturizers, nail polishes, shampoos, perfumes, and makeup— are only classified as “cosmetics”. 

Products labeled as cosmetics (other than color additives) are not subject to FDA premarket approval. This means that, depending on what the product is, the company may not have to test the ingredients for safety, report adverse reactions, or even list all the ingredients on the label. Cosmetics companies are expected by law to substantiate the safety and effectiveness of their products, but there aren’t any parameters in place to assure this. 

RAISING STANDARDS

At the end of the day, the “powers that be” aren’t guaranteeing the safety of the personal care products you’re using. This means that we as consumers must raise our own standards in order to preserve and protect our health and well-being. Here’s what you can do…

GET INFORMED

The EWG, an American environmental organization committed to consumer choice and empowerment in regards to personal care products, offers a comprehensive database for consumers. The Skin Deep Database is designed to educate you about the harmful ingredients used in personal care products. To date, the database has detailed information on thousands of chemicals.

CHECK THE LABELS

Once you’ve gotten up to speed on commonly used toxic ingredients, exercise choice during your shopping trips. Choose products that are free-from the most toxic chemicals.  

SUPPORT CONSCIOUS AND TRANSPARENT BRANDS

Many personal care products and cosmetics brands like Well Within Beauty are committed to manufacturing high-quality, organic, vegan, and sustainable products that are both safe and effective. Plus, we go above and beyond to attest product safety by securing third-party certifications and seals from esteemed organizations like Cosmos Cosmetic Standard, Leaping Bunny, and EWG Verified. Start using such brands that maintain a high level of transparency in their ingredients lists as well as their manufacturing and packaging practices.

SPREAD AWARENESS

Pass along what you learn about harmful ingredients in personal care products to your family, friends, and social networks. Help those you care about make more informed choices in the products they use. Advocate for brands that are working to produce non-toxic products and hold accountable those that aren’t. 

GO GREEN

Committing to a green, conscious, and sustainable lifestyle is a major undertaking— a completely worthy undertaking. Raise the standards with your personal care products, but keep the momentum going. Using the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, start making better choices in your household cleaning products, too. Slowly but surely you can work to drastically reduce the chemical exposures you and your family experience.
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