Chemical-free Skincare: Why switch to organic and 100% natural
We’ve come to a point in time where labels such as organic, paraben-free, chemical-free, nontoxic and 100% natural ingredients are ever present on our skincare products, and we need to start paying attention.
The truth is that the majority of our skincare products, ranging from face lotions, cleansers, toners, exfoliants, make up removers, acne treatments, moisturizers and serums, contain harmful chemicals. And I am not just talking about the kind that only dry out your skin or cause irritation, I am talking about the kind of chemicals that are known to play a role in fertility issues, cancer, and organ toxicity. These chemicals are not well regulated by the US government (FDA), which is why they are widely used in the skincare and personal care industry.
Most of these compounds are absorbed by the skin, thus exposing the body system to damage. And while your detoxification organs such as the liver can process and neutralize many of these toxins, continual use, and our overwhelming exposure to chemicals in general (food we eat, water we drink, air we breath), prevents the body from doing this effectively – effectively enough to prevent damage to our cells, imbalance in our hormone system and the contribution to disease and chronic conditions.
The long term effects of the use of chemicals on our body is far reaching. In fact, it is still being researched to just how damaging these chemicals can potentially be. The main reason that I urge you to make the switch to organic and 100% natural chemical-free skincare is because this is an important piece of the puzzle to keeping you healthy. To preventing conditions of toxicity such as infertility, abnormal weight gain, mood disorders such as depression, skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, and various cancers, just to name a few. In fact, many of these chemicals are damaging enough that they are banned in certain countries such as the EU, Canada and Japan. For example, Denmark scientists concluded that one of these commonly used group of chemicals called Parabens cause hormonal imbalance (they are a endocrine disruptor) that adversely impacts fertility in both women and men. In addition, they discovered that they can also lead to certain types of cancer if used over a long period of time.
Now this article is not meant to scare you, nor is it to claim that the use of one of these products is directly going to cause you to be infertile or to have cancer immediately, but be certain it can be a piece of the puzzle. The fact is that serious health problems are affecting each and every one of us. Even if they are not touching you directly, I can guarantee that you know someone (whether it be a family member, friend, or co-worker) where they do. The rates of cancer, autoimmune diseases, infertility, and chronic conditions are ever growing and it is time to take control. This is one way in which you can do just that. You can stop exposing your precious body to chemicals, and start exposing it to something of real benefit. We are already exposed to so many toxins that we have no control over (polluted air, polluted water, hidden pesticides/herbicides in food, stress), so don’t add to the load, especially when it is something that you have complete control over. It is not worth it. Don’t allow this to be an area that contributes to stress on the body, make the enlightened choice instead. Make a healthy choice that you can feel good about, like making the switch to chemical-free skincare. This way you can be sure it is adding to your health, not detracting from it.
The first step is to start reading labels. Don’t just buy a brand solely on claims and packaging, but actually LOOK at its ingredients, just as you probably do when buying food. Look for the terms natural, organic and chemical-free. And do not be fooled by branding, just because it has plants, herbs and words such as “natural” on it, does not mean that it is healthy for you. Delve deeper.
Here are the main chemical ingredients you want to avoid:
concerns: ecotoxicology, allergies/immunotoxicity, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Parabens (Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben)
concerns: biochemical or cellular level changes, developmental/reproductive toxicity, ecotoxicology, endocrine disruption, allergies/immunotoxicity
Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)
concerns: biochemical or cellular level changes, allergen
concerns: biochemical or cellular level changes, cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
concerns: enhanced skin absorption, cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
concerns: potential carcinogen (cancer), endocrine disruptor, organ system toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
concerns: known allergen, organ system toxicity, developmental effects, some concern for cancer
concerns: enhanced skin absorption, biochemical or cellular level changes, developmental/reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, allergies/immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), persistence and bioaccumulation
DMDM hydantoin (formaldehyde releaser)
concerns: known allergen, immunotoxicity, some concern for cancer
concerns: known allergen, organ system toxicity
concerns: ecotoxicology, contamination concerns, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), persistence and bioaccumulation
concerns: ecotoxicology, allergies/immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
concerns: ecotoxicology, allergies/immunotoxicity, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), neurotoxicity
D&C Red 30
concerns: ecotoxicology, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), persistence and bioaccumulation
concerns: excitoxicology, endocrine distruption, contamination, irritation, organ system toxicity, bioaccumulation
concerns: multiple additive exposure concerns, irritations, allergies, organ system toxicity
concerns: contamination concerns, organ system toxicity
concerns: cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, ecotoxicology, allergies/immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity
*Now this is not the list in its entirety, but a darn good start.
Now I know that this is a very long list of words that you cannot pronounce, let alone remember, but the point here is that these are actively in the products you are now using. Name brands such as Ponds, Clean and Clear, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Nivea, Kiehl’s, Origins, Aveeno, St. Ives, Biore, Olay, Fresh, Proactiv and many others all have a variation of these chemical ingredients. Furthermore, these ingredients are NOT just in your skincare. They can also be found in your shampoo + conditioner, nail polish, body wash, make up, shaving cream, chapstick, perfume and other personal care products, so consider making the switch here as well.
Here are 3 simple steps to take to making the switch chemical-free skincare:
1. Pull out your skincare products and start reading the labels. If you see any of the chemicals listed above, toss them. Also, if the majority of the ingredients are chemicals, then it is probably not what you want to be using. To give you a reference, truly organic, 100% natural products contain mostly all ingredients that you can identify. Here is a comparison:
Conventional Skincare Product Label
Can you see the difference here? The first one contains mostly all chemical ingredients while the second contains mostly all plant-based (recognizable) ingredients.
Now don’t be fooled by the label, “Natural” either. Many very unnatural brands that are made with chemicals claim “natural” but are not. This is not a regulated term and doesn’t mean much at all, so remember to turn the bottle over and to check out the ingredients before committing.
2. Head on over to a website called, Cosmetic Database. This is one of the best and most powerful resources for determining if your product is safe. They have a rating score based on the ingredients in the product, and I always like to stay in the green zone to ensure safety. All you have to do is add the product’s name and it will score it for you along with a breakdown of which ingredients are harmful and why. If you don’t find your product in their database, simply search for its specific ingredients instead.
*many chemicals do not have ample evidence but based on its limited existing studies their safety rating is made. In my opinion, while I wish there were more conclusive studies and solid proof, I will always err on the side of safety. That means avoiding the ingredient if there is a chance it could be toxic. In my experience, questionable chemicals are more likely to be determined harmful than not, once more studies are conducted.
3. Go for the chemical-free, organic and plant-based products. Lucky for us there are so many wonderful products out there to choose from, so your choices will not be limited. I have also found that these plant-based, chemical-free skincare products also work much better. Not only will you not experience issues of dryness, irritation, and rashes like conventional products, you will also find them to be gentle, moisturizing, anti-aging and far more effective. My skin has made a great turn for the better once making the switch. I have also seen them make a huge difference in those with acne prone skin, and in those who have skin disorders such as eczema, rashes and psoriasis, as well as in those who suffer from allergies (either to the products themselves, or to environmental/food allergies that cause skin complications).
Here is a list of some of my favorite chemical-free skincare brands and products to get you started:
I have personally tried each and every one of these and can vouch for them. I have added one of my favorite products of each brand to get you started. These products are either 100% natural or organic.
a. Eminence Organic (this is what I personally use)
Here is the routine I use:
– Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer (night time cream)
– Bright Skin Moisturizer SPF 30 (day time cream)
Along with this exfoliant…
And this mask…
b. Tata Harper
And here are some other brands that I have tried and liked, AND are chemical-free…
– Stonecrop Moisturizer (amazing for men!)
– Black Cumin + Cajeput Serum (fabulous for acne)
e. Avalon Organics
– CoQ10 Facial Cleansing Milk (great for a more affordable product)
f. Juice Beauty
– Age Defying Kit (great option for a more affordable anti-aging routine)
g. Om Aroma & Co.
– Honey Sugar Scrub (just like you made it at home… in the best way!)
h. Acure Organics
– Night Cream (love this for the winter when your skin is super dry)
j. Neal’s Yard
– Frankincense Hydrating Cream (one of my favorite moisturizers, second to Eminence Coconut)
– Incredible Pumpkin Peel (a gentle, non-irritating peel)
– Argan Oil (love this as an “all over oil”, both body and face)
n. Laurel Whole Plant Organics
– Lip Treatment (love this stuff! Great for dry lips)
I do hope that you have been inspired to make the change, not out of fear, but rather excitement for what better, natural products lie ahead for you! This is just one piece of the puzzle that you can have control over in improving your health and in the prevention of disease, so take it! Going chemical-free is always a great move, one that you will always feel great about.
If you have a favorite natural skincare product that you would like to recommend, please leave a comment below! We are always looking for new products to try.