Controversial Ingredients and What They Mean
At this point in the clean beauty movement, we all know that we’re supposed to turn our products around and read the ingredients list. We know that we’re supposed to stay away from ingredients that we can’t pronounce or identify. And we know that we should look for products that declare that they are free from specific chemicals and ingredients. But why? Read on to find out which ingredients apply to you!
These are allergen-focused labels, and should be carefully considered by anyone with allergies. “Gluten-Free” means that a product does not contain any form of wheat, barley, or rye. “Wheat-Free” means that the product does not contain wheat specifically, but may contain barley or rye. To be “soy-free,” a product must contain no legumes of any kind, including beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts.
A trans-fat is an artificial fat created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid, also called a partially hydrogenated oil. In June 2018, Trans-Fats in any food items were banned by the FDA. (It should be noted that companies can still label their products as “zero trans-fats” even if there are small amounts per serving. Check the nutritional facts and ingredients list to be sure.)
These are a type of chemical that are derived from petroleum/crude oil or natural gas and are known to be harmful. Included in this list are those on the Dirty Dozen list. These can include hundreds of compound chemicals, and can be found in thousands of products. Petrochemicals are commonly found in cleaners, paint, antifreeze, cosmetics and candles.
Preservatives are necessary when a product contains water, to keep mold and bacteria from growing. Parabens are a type of synthetic preservative, considered endocrine-disrupting, and mimic estrogen in the human body. According to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a project of breast cancer prevention partners), research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors. Formaldehyde is dissolved in water to be added to skin care products, and is called Formalin. Formaldehyde has been declared “carcinogenic to humans” by several national and international expert agencies, including the American Cancer Society.
Sulfates are synthetic ingredients that strip oil, dirt and residue from surfaces, as well as produce rich, foaming lather. While clean hair and skin is desired, products containing sulfates strip the natural oil and proteins from the hair and skin that make it healthy. Sulfates also cause irritation to eyes, mouth, and skin, as well as clog pores. Beware - many companies will use compounds that are similar in makeup to sulfates, and still label their products as sulfate-free. Again, check the nutritional and ingredients list to be aware.
Latex is a potentially serious allergy, and is commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products. If this is a known allergy, look for a Latex-Free label, and thoroughly read the ingredients list of a product before using.
Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are used in cosmetics and skin care products to moisturize skin, as well as to mix the ingredients. These chemicals have been linked to affecting reproductive systems in animals, as well as endocrine disruption, developmental toxicity, and cancer. And, to solidify the severity of the potential harm in this chemical - phthalates are completely banned from use in cosmetics in the EU.
BPA stands for bisphenol A, and is commonly used to strengthen plastics and containers. According to the Mayo Clinic, BPA binds to strogen receptors and affect bodily processes like cell growth and repair, fetal development, hormone receptors, and reproduction. More alarming are recent studies that have linked BPA to numerous conditions, including obesity, prostate cancer, and undescended testicles.
As you know, The Skinny was founded on the promise to make clean, pure, edible products that do no harm to your body. All of our products contain 5 ingredients are fewer, and never contain synthetic chemicals, parabens, or anything listed in this blog post. You can trust that every product meets these standards.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the Clean Beauty/Chemical-Free movement! To learn more, you can:
- Listen to the podcast that our co-founders created to educate consumers!
- Sign up for our FREE Clean Beauty course to teach you about chemicals and ingredients in our skin care products!
(This is Part 2 of a three-part series about decoding labels, lists, and ingredients, and understanding the Clean Beauty movement. Read Part 1 and Part 3 for a better understanding!)