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Our Top Tips for Choosing Safe Cold Weather Skincare
Cold Weather Skincare
Dry winter air and harsh heating systems can wreak havoc on our skin, lips, and hair! Sadly, many of the products designed to soothe and nourish our winter skin can be packed with toxic chemicals that expose us to allergy triggers and health hazards. Here’s what to look out for to keep your family safe throughout this not-so-skin-friendly season!
What’s So Bad About Conventional Skin Care Products?
Our skin absorbs products we use on it, so chemicals used in the formulas can build up in the body over time and cause serious health issues. Skincare products are a tough category because liquid and gel products require preservatives and stabilizers that allow for longer shelf life and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately, these ingredients can be problematic for our health, as preservatives have been linked to a host of health conditions including breast cancer. Another study from the Environmental Working Group study on personal care products found hormone-disrupting chemicals built up in the bloodstream of teenage girls, particularly worrying as their endocrine systems are continuing to develop during this window.
Tip #1: Start with Fragrance Free
The problem with fragrance is in the name: “fragrances” are considered to be trade secrets, allowing manufacturers to use that one single word as a catch-all that can contain hundreds of ingredients without disclosing them to you.
An example of hidden toxic fragrance ingredients are phthalates, which are known hormone-disruptors and carcinogens, just to name a couple of the many health risks they are associated with. These are ubiquitous in fragranced products because they make scents last, and you’ll never see them listed on ingredient labels.
Despite the fact that many ingredients related to fragrance are known to be dangerous, the industry is poorly regulated, with no restrictions on ingredients that are known carcinogens such as styrene, pyridine, or benzophenone, or for commonly-used endocrine-disrupting synthetic musks. If you have family members that suffer from allergies, this lack of transparency can be dangerous, as fragrance ingredients can trigger respiratory conditions like asthma and allergies.
For even more on fragrances, check out this blog post.
Tip #2: Avoid Parabens
Parabens, stabilizers that inhibit bacterial growth, often aren’t listed on labels. Parabens are known to disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system and have been banned or restricted in European countries. The CDC has detected them in almost all Americans they tested. Besides endocrine disruption, they have been linked to reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation. To avoid them, skip products with ingredients that end in -paraben, and know that even so-called “natural” products often contain these. Also avoid paraben substitutes like methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone.
We understand that avoiding parabens and going fragrance-free is tough (which is not the same as “unscented,” by the way!) so, make sure you check out resources like the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database and the Mayo Clinic’s SkinSAFE program.
Quick picks for safe, cold weather skincare products
To help you get started, here are the EWG’s Skin Deep results for all the parts you want to soothed and hydrated this winter!
Where to Learn More
The best defense we have against toxic skin care products is to educate ourselves on ingredients. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database to easily research products and their ingredients. And it’s important to make the same educated decisions when it comes to cleaning our homes, with a fragrance-free, toxin-free cleaning system like Force of Nature. We’ve harnessed the power of simple, household ingredients to create a powerful, EPA-registered disinfectant that is gentle enough to use around your family.