It’s the beginning of the new year, and what a better time to Make the Switch to Safer Skincare! Let’s chat about why switching to safer matters: In 1938, Congress passed the United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA). Since then, consumer health protective laws for cosmetics and personal care products have never seen a major update. That’s 81 years.
Additionally, there are some 80,000+ chemicals in use today, many in cosmetics, skincare, and personal care products. And many of them lack safety data.
On top of that, the FDA’s authority is limited. They cannot force a recall on harmful cosmetics and skincare products. I’m sure you’ve seen this graphic before…in the US, we’re just behind the ball.
In March 2019, the bipartisan Personal Care Products Safety Act was introduced with the goal of updating the FFDCA. In the meantime, some companies such as Beautycounter, take proactive steps. They limit problematic ingredients in their high-performing products. (See The Never List.)
Other companies are reformulating their ingredients to be more in line with consumer safety. But we still have a long way to go.
Step 1 for me in Making the Switch: Get rid of all expired products – If it’s medicine and it has an expiration date that makes you question it’s effectiveness or safeness, ditch it. If it’s old makeup that you can’t remember when you bought, throw it out. Clean out colors you don’t like or shades you never wore.
Step 2 is to do inventory on the products you use daily. Consider your whole routine for skincare and personal care products. On average, women use 12 personal care products a day. Men use six personal care products daily. And, teen girls use 17.
Products to include in your list:
- Skincare (facial cleansers, serums, masks, moisturizers, toners, lighteners, etc)
- Cosmetics (all makeup, perfume / cologne, nail polish, lash adhesive, etc)
- Deodorant and antiperspirant
- Soap (body washes, shower gel, hand soap, etc)
- Hair care (shampoo, conditioner, styling products, dyes, etc)
- Tooth care (toothpaste, floss, etc)
- Shaving needs (shaving cream, disposable razors with moisture strips, etc)
- Feminine hygiene products (tampons, pads, cleansers, etc)
- Sun protection (sunscreen, after-sun lotions, etc)
- Kids-specific products
How many products do you use daily off the top of your head?
Step 3 is to learn to read your labels! When I shower, do you ever read the shampoo bottle?! You learn a lot reading a label over and over! See which of your products have known concerning ingredients like: PEGs, parabens, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), or fragrances. Which of your stuff has those offenders? Can you commit to start to look for replacements for those that have multiple skin irritants? One way to check, if your product doesn’t have a label, is to go to ewg.org and type in your product. It will give you a health “number” based on its relative safeness. I aim for products under 4 or 5. 10 being the worst and 0-1 the best. They look at things like skin irritants, ones known to cause respiratory problems, cancer-causing ingredients and more.
Step 4 is to start switching out 1-2 products this month – I’m a big fan of starting small. If not, it’s overwhelming for your budget and your mind. One easy and affordable switch to make today is your lotion or your body wash. My favorite lotion is Beautycounter’s because it is naturally scented with citrus mimosa, goes on smooth, and I know is verified by the EWG as safe! Plus it lasts 2-3 months! I aim to switch products first that we use daily and actually seep into our skin and stay there. Body wash is an inexpensive way to switch to safer. My favorite Target body wash is Native and I love the brand Everyone for Every Body.They also have kid’s soaps, hand soap and more.
Here’s what I do know…we just don’t know the toxic build-up that is happening with all the products we use daily, the cookware we cook with, if we use plastic in the microwave, using our phones too much, watching too much TV and more.
Seek out companies who disclose all their ingredients and make it their mission to be transparent.
Take it at your own pace. Remember that many more affordable brands available in mainstream stores rate favorably, too.
And here’s the thing: if you don’t switch everything, that’s okay. Try not to stress about it. Do the best you can with what you have. Be open to learning more and gradually making swaps as you can.
I can personally tell you, my family’s health is better than it’s ever been and I have confidence in what I recommend to others and in starting conversations about how to live your best life.
What’s 1-2 products you can pitch and 1-2 you can replace on a budget? Let me know in the comments below!
Start making the switch by clicking the link below to see some of my favorite safer products!