At Ellwood Thompson’s, we always tell our customers that if it’s on your skin, it goes in. That goes for a lot of things too, creams, make-up, soaps, lotions, etc. So making sure you’re aware of what those ingredients are and what to look for is part of our job that we take seriously. Three years ago we took the steps to completely ban any products containing parabens from our store, and we’ve kept it that way since. The following list shows you 5 more pollutants that your body just doesn’t need, often found in beauty and skin products.
1. Triclosan & Chlorphenesin: These two ingredients are often the active ingredients in antibacterial soaps. They do not break down in the environment and may contribute to bacterial resistance. These ingredients are also known to cause aquatic toxicity. A recent FDA advisory panel report even stated that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soaps.
2. Synthetic Chelators, such as the commonly used trisodium EDTA, are used in personal-care products to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials. They are problematic for two reasons. First, there is environmental research data showing that chelators do not readily biodegrade in the environment. Second, since the function of synthetic chelators is to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials, there is no real need for these ingredients in high-quality natural products to begin with. So shop wisely and you won’t run into this one.
3. Petroleum-derived Ingredients, One-hundred-percent petroleum derived ingredients, such as mineral oil and petrolatum, come with some unpleasant environmental realities. For one thing, they are derived from non-renewable resources. These ingredients are also bad for functional reasons, since they form a barrier when applied to skin that does not allow it to breathe. Finally, they often contain impurities as a result of the manufacturing processes—which is something consumers have almost no way of knowing about, but should guard against. Other ingredients to avoid in this category are parrafin, lily white gel, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, alkyl benzoate, and ammonium polacrylate.
4. Chemical Sunscreens: It’s sunny outside and we all know in the back of our heads how important it is to protect ourselves. Chemicals in standard sunscreens such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have some human-safety concerns, since many have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Every year, gallons of chemical sunscreens wash of people’s skin and into the oceans, which can be toxic to marine life. Physical sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are safer alternatives for humans and the environment.
5. Aerosol Sprays: Fortunately, since the late 1970s, consumer aerosol products made in the United States have not contained ozone-depleting CFCs. All consumer—and most other—aerosol products made or sold in the United States now use propellants such as hydrocarbons and compressed gases like nitrous oxide that do not deplete the ozone layer. While aerosol spray cans produced in some other countries might still use CFCs, they cannot legally be sold in the States. In our Nourish department, we do not carry any products that use aerosol as it’s propellant.