A report published in October 2010 by the David Suzuki foundation states that U.S. researchers identified 10,500 industrial chemicals used as cosmetic ingredients—including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxics, endocrine disruptors, and more. These toxic ingredients can be absorbed through our skin, and come into direct contact with sensitive tissues, organs, and glands.
In 2004, Canada’s Cosmetic Regulations were updated to legally require manufacturers to list all ingredients on retail packages. This law took effect in 2006.
However, despite these new regulations, Canadian manufacturers were able to find loopholes. For example, they are not required to disclose fragrance ingredients and instead they write parfum.
Also, personal care products regulated as “drugs” on the basis of therapeutic claims (e.g., tartarfighting toothpaste, bacteria-killing cleansers, and face cream with sun protection) are exempt from cosmetic labeling laws and are not required to list their ingredients.
According to the Suzuki foundation, almost 80 per cent of personal care products contain at least one toxic or harmful substance. Suzuki identifies 12 common, toxic substances found in our cosmetics— called the “dirty dozen”- that you should avoid. Below are the top four most harmful:
1. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits
P-phenylenediamine is used in some hair dyes; other colours are used in a variety of cosmetics. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
2. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quarternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
3. Paraben, methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben
Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics. Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some are harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Audrey Duann is the health and beauty manager at the Big Carrot, and has been working in the natural cosmetics industry for eight years. She says that “many people look for a miracle product that will erase all of their problems immediately. However, natural products require a collective approach to work best.”
For example, she says that applying a heavy cream can help dry skin to a degree, but using cream in conjunction with drinking enough water, eating your veggies, and avoiding smoking can actually resolve a dry-skin condition forever.
“On the surface, some synthetic products may claim to offer a miracle cure, but when you factor in the enormous toxic burden on your body, and the fact that a synthetic product can only go so far when up against not-so-healthy lifestyle choices, the perceived quick fix isn’t worth it.”
100% Pure has a fantastic line of hand creams that are really unique – they use actual fruit and berry ingredients in their formulas. They smell really yummy and are great to keep in your purse for dry-hand emergencies.
Kosmea Eighth Natural Wonder serum is very effective at reducing fine lines and refreshing the skin’s appearance. It’s packed with antioxidants and moisturizers such as rosehip seed oil, green tea and hibiscus extracts.
Weleda makes an amazing Calendula diaper rash cream that has a high concentration of zinc oxide and calendula extract. These two ingredients dry up diaper rash and reduce inflammation. *This cream is also great for eczema sufferers and provides relief to itchy inflamed skin.
Cleanwell hand sanitizer is great for grimy hands and is safe for children to carry to school and use on their own because it is alcohol and triclosan free. It has a nice thyme scent and a bottle that lasts forever.
More and more men are realizing that there’s nothing un-manly about using a face cream and taking care of your skin. Green Beaver makes a green tea face cream that is non- greasy and has no fragrance. I love selling this one to the boys.