If you've noticed an avalanche of new beauty products on the market that are touting "nontoxic" ingredients or formulas, you're not imagining things. The focus on eliminating harmful chemicals from our lives continues to intensify as research consistently shows the hormone-disrupting impacts of ingredients commonly found in beauty products (stuff like phthalates, parabens, and triclosan).
It's especially concerning because the FDA doesn't actually regulate the beauty and cosmetics industry as stringently as many consumers assume. That means companies are able to pad products with potentially harmful chemicals simply to increase shelf life.
Your skin is capable of absorbing anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of whatever you put on it, so it's crucial to actively avoid toxic ingredients — but what does "nontoxic" even mean? Unfortunately, since the term is not regulated by the FDA, technically it means nothing. Or more specifically, it means whatever the makers of a product deem as nontoxic. Any beauty product that claims to be nontoxic can simply be greenwashing you, so don't be fooled by the label, and make sure you read thoroughly through about the ingredients involved.
Familiarize yourself with the important chemicals to avoid such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, formaldehyde, synthetic colors, and chemical sunscreens. Anytime you spot these being used in your products, switch them out with safer alternates, because these offenders can cause all sorts of health problems like an increased risk of breast cancer or weakening of the immune system.
For an eye-opener, check out the Skin Deep Database by the Environmental Working Group. There, you can search through over 74,000 beauty products and see how your favorite products rate in levels of harmful chemicals. And resist the impulse to buy any beauty products labeled nontoxic until you've gone through the list of ingredients and made sure for yourself!