Monday, December 29, 2008

Beauty Goes Green

There is a lot of hype in the beauty industry right now about so called "green" products. There are literally thousands of products on the market claiming to be green, environmentally friendly, natural, safe, organic, flower & plant based, pure, botanical, eco-friendly, etc - all undefined terms in a largely unregulated industry. Here are some helpful tips to navigate your way around these products and feel good about what you are putting on your skin.


Green products can be broken down into two basic categories
1.) Products that have been manufactured and packaged using the cleanest and greenest energy, manufacturing practices, and packaging possible. Look for:

  • Companies using sustainable energy sources such as wind power.

  • Packaging made using recycled materials and/or printed with soy ink. Choose containers that can be recycled or re-used and re-filled like The Scandle Body Candle.

Products like The Scandle Massage Candle that have been developed and manufactured using ingredients that will not be harmful in any way to the consumer or the environment.

Look for:

  • Biodegradable ingredients

  • Organic and natural ingredients

  • Your skin is your body's largest organ, so it stands to reason that what you rub, lather and smooth into your skin should be made using ingredients that don't have any damaging side effects. Absorbing small amounts of toxins into your skin over a long period of time can have a cumulative, damaging effect.

Make sure that you read the ingredient list! While many products have a long list of "organic" and "natural" ingredients - they might still be using potentially harmful ingredients that could irritate your skin. Some products will be free from one or two bad ingredients, but include other potentially harmful ones. It is important to pay attention to what is in the product, as well as what isn't. Keep in mind that some potentially harmful ingredients do have a "natural origin" too.

These are some of the potentially toxic agents commonly found in beauty products that you should avoid.

  • Parabens: A group of chemical preservatives that is possibly carcinogenic. Linked to breast cancer, reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption.

  • Sulfates (harmful): Sulfur-based compounds that are found to be irritating and drying to skin and hair.

  • DEA: A type of Ethanoloamine which has been connected to Immunotoxicity and believed to cause harm to the brain and nervous system.

  • Ethoxylates: Chemical compounds which are irritating to the skin and thought to be carcinogenic.

  • Silicone: A synthetic additive which can be harmful and irritating.

  • Phthalates: These compounds are commonly found in nail polish and fragrances. They are thought to be harmful to reproductive system, have been linked to developmental disorders in children, Immunotoxicity and Endocrine disruption.

  • Petrolatum: Developed from Petroleum, it can be irritating to the skin, clog pores, and may be contaminated with toxic impurities.

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