With all the cosmetic options we have to choose from, many find it overwhelming to have an onslaught of new (and often more expensive) cosmetic lines to choose from: the “green” market. The rise of ”green” everything is seen by many as a hippie trend, but it’s important to consider just why the demand/necessity for it has come about.
So, why go green? Regarding everything from groceries to cosmetics, there’s a false notion among consumers that if something has made its way onto store shelves, it must be safe enough to use. The unfortunate reality is that less than 12% of the cosmetics on the market have even had their safety assessed, and in many cases we don’t even know the potential health effects of the various chemicals. Many ingredients used in everything from sunscreen to baby shampoo have been linked to cancer, learning disabilities, and even asthma, to name a few.
The huge companies and conglomerates that sell these products are actually the ones in charge of assessing the safety of their own products (talk about conflict of interest!). When they make both the rules and the products, we end up in a place where words like “herbal” and “natural” have no legal definition. Even hair perms and skin whiteners can make these claims while being some of the most toxic items on the market.
This lack of regulation is a critical part of why the truly green market has emerged. Many honest entrepreneurs have dedicated themselves to producing and making available all kinds of cosmetics that don’t contain any toxic chemicals. This often comes with higher production expenses, since they have opted for natural and organic ingredients instead of the cheaper toxic ones, but greater safety is worth it when it comes to our health. Here below are some links where you can learn more!
1,4-Dioxane: The chemical is an unwanted byproduct of an ingredient processing method called ethoxylation used to reduce the risk of skin irritation for petroleum-based ingredients.
Aluminium chlorohydrate (and other aluminium-based compounds): Aluminium chlorohydrate (and other aluminium-based compounds that are sometimes employed instead) work as antiperspirants by temporarily ‘plugging’ sweat ducts, preventing the passage of sweat to the skin’s surface.
Aminomethyl Propanol: Aminomethyl Propanol and Aminomethyl Propanediol are alkanolamines are used a pH adjusters.
Animal Fat and Musk: Procured from the meat, fat bone or genital glands of animals Animals and used as a skin conditioning and as fragrance and can cause skin irritation. As CBM is committed to the animal welfare, we do not wish to support such derived ingredients.
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole): BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) is a preservative and stabilizer found both in cosmetics and food classified as potential carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.
Benzalkonium Chloride: Biocide, preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies, Benzalkonium Chloride is a sensitizer especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema.
Butoxyethanol: is an ether alcohol functioning as a fragrance ingredient, solvent and viscosity decreasing or controlling agent.
Chemical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin.
Some have been linked to hormone disruption while others appear safer but remain understudied. At CBM, we prefer to use physical sunscreens that sit on top of the skin and block rays at the surface of the skin.
Coal Tar: Coal Tar is a thick liquid or semi-solid byproduct of coal processing usually used as anti-dandruff agent and colorant.
Ethanolamines: Triethanolamine (TEA), Diethanolamine (DEA) and Ethanolamine (ETA) are clear, colorless, thick liquids with ammonia-like odors. They are used as pH adjusters and surfactant.
Other derived ingredients can be labeled as Monoethanolamine (MEA), Cocamide DEA and Cocamide MEA.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA): EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a chelating agent, used to sequester and decrease the reactivity of metal ions that may be present in a product. Also look for other ingredients like Disodium EDTA, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA and HEDTA, and others ingredients with -EDTA termination.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic impurity released by a number of cosmetic preservatives, including diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is mainly used for skin bleaching/whitening, to decreases production of melanin pigments in the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. It may cause a temporary uptick in redness or dryness at first, especially if you have sensitive skin and is listed a potential carcinogen.
Mercury and Mercury Compounds: Mercury and its compounds are used as preservative substance added to delay decomposition and inhibit spoilage by preventing growth of bacteria and antimicrobial agent which cause concern organ system toxicity and endocrine disruption.
Methyl Cellosolve: Usually used a solvent - a substance in which another substance is dissolved, to form a solution - or to control viscosity but can be the cause of skin irritation and be neurotoxic. Can be listed as Methoxyethanol.
Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone are widely-used preservatives that have been associated with allergic reactions and skin irritation.
Mineral Oil: Mineral Oil is a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. On ingredients lists, look for Liquid paraffin and/or Liquid petrolatum.
Nanoparticles: Used to reduce the white chalky tint of mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Little is known about the safety and performance of nanoparticles due to the fact that manufacturers do not have to disclose the qualities of particles in skincare products.
Parabens: Parabens are a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products. They are used to enhance the shelf life of products and is associated with endocrine disruption, allergic reactions and is a potential carcinogen.
Phenoxyethanol: A glycol ether that can either be found in nature or synthetic. Almost all phenoxyethanol used in beauty products is synthetic and is associated with skin irritations, and some researches connect it to a reduced fecundity in females.
Phthalates: Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP, DMP, and Others) are a diverse group of materials that make plastics more flexible and are used in a wide variety of products. They are used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle; dimethyl phthalate (DMP), used in hair sprays to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair; and diethyl phthalate (DEP), used as a solvent and fixative in fragrances. It may not be labeled in ingredients lists.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG Compounds): PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. The main potential concern is their possible contamination with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens.
Polysorbates: Polysorbates are surfactants that are produced by reacting the polyol, sorbitol, with ethylene oxide and act as a surfactant and emulsifying agent. The main potential concern is their possible contamination with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens. On ingredients labels, look for Polysorbate –20, -40, -60, -80 and others.
Resorcinol: Resorcinol is a white crystalline solid with a sweet taste. This common ingredient in hair color and bleaching product is a skin irritant that is believed toxic to the immune system and a frequent cause of hair dye allergy.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), also known as Sodium dodecyl sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are both by-product of a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. SLS is a "moderate hazard" that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption while Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is also a concern as in some circumstances it can become contaminated with Dioxane. While it’s considered less of a skin irritant when compared to SLS, there are underlying concerns over its continued use in beauty products.
Synthetic Flavor or Fragrance: The word "fragrance" or "parfum" on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
Toluene: Toluene is a volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner, derived from benzene, a known carcinogen. Toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. Mother’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus.
Triclosan and Triclocarban: Triclosan is an antibacterial agent and preservative used in personal care and home-cleaning products; persistent in the environment and may be associated with endocrine (hormonal) toxicity. Triclocarban is a substituted carbanilide.
Source : EWG - EWG's database gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals.
CLEAN BEAUTY MART screens for ingredients accepted by referencing the below allowed lists: The California Safe Cosmetic Act, California Safe Cosmetic Act 2005 listed material and known carcinogens, ECOCERT approved ingredients