This Guest Blog was written by Jasmin Maxymowich
Clean Beauty Consultant and Wellness Advocate | @wellwithjas
I am sure you have seen the clean beauty trend going on right now. Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of why this is, and why switching to cleaner beauty and natural skincare products may be your 2021 resolution.
When it comes to health, we have been told for years what is important. Eat healthy, move your body, drink water and get enough sleep. Obviously, the path to wellness is a bit more complex than that but those are a few of the essentials. Though we may check all the boxes off that list, there may be a piece of the wellness puzzle that is still not addressed.
One pillar of health that is often missed is the chemicals and ingredients in our personal and skin care products. It is estimated that the average woman uses 16 skincare and cosmetic products every day. That seems like a lot, right? Let’s face it, whether you are a minimalist with your products or you’re a makeup and skincare diva… we all use many products as part of our daily routines. For instance, let’s take a look at our morning routine. You wake up, brush your teeth, wash your face, shower, put deodorant on, etc. Within the first hour of your day, you have already put products in your mouth, your hair, your underarms, face and entire body.
The products that we use on our skin get absorbed into our bloodstream. When in our bloodstream, they can then play a major role as endocrine disruptors.
What are endocrine disruptors?
These are chemicals, either man-made or natural, that can interfere with the body’s hormones. The hormones in our body are responsible for mood, development, metabolism, reproduction, sleep and so many more functions in our everyday life. Certain chemicals in our personal care products are known as endocrine disruptors and can have a big impact on our health.
Our endocrine system is built from many glandular organs in our body that function to produce hormones. The hormones attach to our cells with very specific fitting… almost like a lock and a key. Once the hormone and the cell are bound, then a specific action can take place. This happens hundreds of times every moment of our lives.
When there are endocrine disruptors entering our bodies, these take the place of our hormones and bind to the cells. Since the hormone-cell connection is very specific, when an unusual substance (aka endocrine disruptor) mimics the hormones, then an improper cascade of events occurs.
So how do these endocrine disruptors ‘disrupt’?
When these endocrine disruptors enter our body, they can have any of these impacts:
- Decrease or increase normal hormone levels
- Mimic the body’s natural hormones
- Alter the natural production of hormones.
- Interfering with hormone signaling
- Competing with essential nutrients
- Accumulating in hormone-producing organs
The greater impact
Overall, the greater impact that these chemicals have over time is how they disrupt our hormone balance, our organs, tissues and their impact on women’s (and mens) health as a whole. There is lots of research that show a correlation between the harmful chemicals in our personal care products and infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, PMS, dysmennorhea and many other hormonal conditions.
If we know this, then why isn’t all beauty clean?
Even though there have been studies done on the harmful effects of these chemicals, and there is enough evidence showing their link to many health conditions, there is still very minimal change in our cosmetics. Let’s just pause for a second so we can acknowledge what you’re thinking… It is not your fault for choosing the products you did. You didn’t know any better.
Phew… okay now that we have all took a breath let’s dive into the beauty industry standards and their concern (or should I say, lack of concern?) for your health.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was passed in 1938 and this was to regulate adulterated or misbranded products, not necessarily the actual safety of the products. It has been over 80 years since Congress last voted to regulate cosmetics. This means, there are more rules governing the chemicals that are sprayed on crops than the ones we spray on our bodies.
Any beauty company can create a product, send to a manufacturer and sell on store shelves. There is minimal testing required to distribute the beauty products to consumers.
Therefore, it is not the consumers fault for purchasing products that may be causing them symptoms and stress in their body. However, now that you know this information, let’s chat about how to reduce your exposure to harmful ingredients and switch to safer products.
How to reduce your chemical exposure
Here is where clean beauty comes in. However, clean beauty may not mean the same thing to everyone. In fact, companies can label their products as being “natural”, “eco” or “green” but these words have no clear definitions. As shocking as it is, conventional beauty companies can include ingredients that are proven to be or are suspected of being harmful to our health. When searching for cleaner products, it is very important to be an advocate for yourself.
Do your research.
When choosing a product, look past the front label and check to see what the ingredients are. A simple resource that I love to introduce to everyone is the EWG Skindeep database. This website does all the work for you and makes it so simple to check the safety of your products. All you have to do is scan the product and it will show you what ingredients are harmful and the impacts of those ingredients.
Switch to safer alternatives.
If the products you are currently using are possibly harmful to your health, consider finding an alternative with safer ingredients. Once you start looking into the ingredients and doing your own research, you will be able to know which product to make the switch to. When searching for companies to purchase from, it is best to find a company that is transparent about their testing and the ingredients that they use. There are beauty companies out there that are advocating for stricter regulations and laws to be passed that protect the consumer. When switching to cleaner products, it is okay to switch over slowly. You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of all of your products. Choose one product and start from there.
Less is more.
It can be overwhelming going to stores and seeing hundreds of products marketed specifically to you and your needs. Even more so, going into a store for one thing and realizing there are 40 of the same product, made by different companies. Which product and which company do you choose? It can be very tempting to want to fill your bathroom shelves with all the latest lotions, makeup products and perfume. When we strip our beliefs about the purpose each product serves, we can find which products are necessary and which ones we can do without. Marketing does wonders for selling us products we don’t need, but simplifying your beauty routine can help you feel more whole and comfortable in your skin.
Being Healthy Is Beautiful
We lather our skin in lotions, use cover-up to cover our imperfections, layer on the products to reverse aging, and colour our hair to suit our style. We do all of this to feel more beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, self-care is so important but it shouldn’t be at the cost of your health. You should feel healthy from the inside-out. Being healthy is beautiful.