The Ultimate Guide to Skin Care Safety

The Ultimate Guide to Skin Care Safety

We all want healthy, glowing skin, and a veritable cornucopia of skin care products promise to deliver the skin you've always wanted. All too often, that promise comes with a steep (and hidden) cost. Cosmetic companies increasingly rely on potentially dangerous chemicals to enhance the potency of their products. In some cases, they are allowed to use these chemicals because test results about those chemicals' risks are unclear. No one wants to gamble with their skin and health, but endlessly combing through lists of ingredients can feel overwhelming and profoundly frustrating. Instead, try these simple strategies to get a skin care routine that works—and keeps you healthy.

Know what you need 

If a product does not work, stop using it. This seems obvious, but almost every study ever performed on the subject suggests that people continue using skin care products even when they don't get the promised results. You may hope that in another week, month, or year, you'll see results. As you wait for results that never arrive, you may expose yourself to toxic products, for no real reason. Don't overload yourself with products that don't work.

Likewise, consider whether you really need the products you currently use. Everyone needs a good moisturizer and sunscreen, and beyond this, you should only treat conditions you actually have. There's no need to use acne products if you don't have acne, or to insist on using that “miracle serum” the cosmetics lady told you to use 10 years ago. By simply minimizing your use of products, you can reduce your exposure to toxic ingredients, even if you make no other changes.

Seek out natural skin care companies

Don't have time to read through ingredient lists? Try shopping with a company that's willing to do it for you. The use of terms like “natural” is not regulated, so before you select a so-called natural skin care company, read about it and check to see how natural the ingredients actually are. Some companies with good reputations include:

  • Tatcha
  • Boscia
  • Herbivore
  • Alba
  • Burt's Bees
  • Marula
  • Clark's Botanicals
  • Ava Anderson
  • Arbonne
  • Josie Maran
  • Yes to
  • Tata Harper
  • Orico
  • Revolution Organics
  • Intelligent Nutrients
  • Lurk
  • Nourish Organic
  • Somebody

Minimize the use of toxic ingredients

If you're buying mainstream cosmetics, the odds are good you're using at least a handful of toxic ingredients. If you've found something you love and can't bear to give it up, consider working to minimize your use of toxic ingredients, rather than eliminating them altogether. Scale back on the following:

  • Dioxane
  • Butylated compounds
  • Carbon black
  • Coal tar
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydroquinone
  • Lead
  • PABA
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • FD&C color pigments
  • Propylene or butylene glycol
  • Triclosan
  • DEA, MEA, and TEA

Make your own

Can't afford organic beauty products? Fed up with endlessly trying to eliminate toxic ingredients? Consider making your own beauty products. With a few drops of essential oil, you can create lovely perfumes, and tutorials for making moisturizers, conditioners, and even highly effective skin masks are readily available online. You'll get purer, fresher ingredients without fillers or preservatives, and you might even make a little cash if you decide to open an online shop. 

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