If you are concerned about the environment and the potential health risks of certain chemicals, natural skin care products may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you are more concerned about effectiveness, chemically formulated products may be the better option. Ultimately, it is a matter of trial and error to see what works best for you. In many cases, chemically formulated products are more stable and safer compared to certain natural alternatives.
This is because many of these products are tested and cosmetic regulations place limits on the amount of chemicals that can be used. However, it is important to understand what “natural” and “non-toxic” really mean, if certain chemicals pose a health threat, and how to shop wisely. The problem is that the term “natural” is quite vague. Often, the terms “non-toxic” or “natural” suggest that the product does not contain synthetic chemicals that may be related to health problems or that irritate many people (or both), according to Dr.
Jennifer Chwalek, board-certified dermatologist for Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. These chemicals can include fragrances, dyes and certain preservatives, such as parabens, he says. But that's more of a consumer perception than a promise. On the other hand, clean beauty advocates say that particles that enter the skin can cause some systemic damage.
While the FDA says that some of these worrisome ingredients, such as phthalates and parabens, are safe as used, research suggests that they are potential endocrine disruptors or chemicals that affect hormones and may increase the risk of cancer or fertility problems, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). It's common to hear people talk about the use of these ingredients being illegal in Europe. In fact, the European Union has banned the use of five parabens, although it allows small amounts of certain parabens. U.
S. regulators currently allow 20 parabens, or chemicals similar to parabens. While there may be legitimate reasons for concern, there are many unknowns about the chemicals used in skin care ingredients. Many of these studies have been done on rodents that are exposed to a much higher concentration than normal, so more research is needed, according to Dr.
Garshick. There's also the problem that these ingredients are used in a number of other products (including foods), so you have to wonder how they fit into the bigger picture of total exposure and what exactly that means. Organic Contrary to what you might think, the FDA doesn't regulate the “organic” label on cosmetics or skin care products. But if the formula is made with agricultural ingredients, it can be certified as organic according to the U.
Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s National Organic Program (NOP). For a product to carry the USDA organic seal, it must be made of at least 95 percent organic ingredients. If something is labeled “made with organic ingredients”, it means it contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients, but you cannot use the seal. Paraben-free parabens are preservatives used to prevent harmful substances such as bacteria and mold from proliferating in products, according to the FDA.
You'll see these listings as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. The FDA states that, although the investigation is ongoing, “at this time, we have no information to show that parabens, as used in cosmetics, have an effect on human health”. A product labeled paraben-free will not contain parabens. PFAS free: stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFA), according to the FDA.
These chemicals are added to some lotions, cleansers, nail polishes, shaving creams and makeup to soften the skin, add shine or improve the texture of the product. Some data suggest that PFAS are not harmful to people in the amounts contained in cosmetics; however, data are limited and additional information is needed to truly assess their safety, according to the FDA. Phthalate-free phthalates are chemicals found in a variety of household items including personal care products such as soap and shampoo according to the FDA. One called diethylphthalate (DEP) is commonly used in fragrance ingredients.