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How to Avoid the Worst Things in Personal Care Products

How to Avoid the Worst Things in Personal Care Products

The Truth About Personal Care Product Safety

You may not have personal care product safety high on your worry list today, but maybe you should. You probably think that the FDA has programs for testing products. Well, it doesn’t.

The FDA cannot and does not require companies to do product safety tests. And, the FDA does not review or approve the majority of personal care products.

In fact, the FDA has prohibited only a handful of substances.

Well, then the substances are safe, right?

Not according to the European Union, Canada, and Japan. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that the EU has banned more than 1,000 ingredients that manufacturers use in US products.

You may think it’s not a big deal since it’s just a little lotion or powder. How much could really be absorbed?

You might want to reconsider this argument after reading more.

You’ve got multiple ways you can be exposed. You can inhale, ingest or absorb harmful substances. And, studies show that this is happening.

Research shows that harmful ingredients like phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and sunscreen ingredients are commonplace in the bodies of men, women, and children. (source: EWG)

Admit it. You’re dismayed. 

Are All-Natural or Hypoallergenic Products the Answer?

You might think that products described as All Natural or Hypoallergenic are safer, but just like cleaning products, no regulation exists around these descriptions.

According to the FDA, the labels “natural” or “hypoallergenic” can “mean anything or nothing at all”.

So now you know. 

Which Personal Product Substances Are the Worst?

Here it is. The List of Substances to Avoid:

Triclosan & Triclocarban – Disrupts thyroid and hormones.

Parabens – Avoid especially Propyl-, Isopropyl, Butyl, and Isobutyl-Parabens. Disrupts the thyroid and causes reproductive and developmental disorders.

Phthalates – Increasingly linked to brain, behavioral changes, cancer, and reproductive system harm. Typically, not listed as an ingredient because phthalates are found in fragrances and companies are not required to identify chemicals in fragrance. 

Fragrance – Can include any one of 3,000+ ingredients – many synthetic, petroleum-based and toxic. Some formulations include phthalates.

Formaldehyde or Formalin – Known carcinogen, asthmagen, and neurotoxin.

Boric Acid & Sodium Borate – Can be absorbed readily into the body and are unsafe for infants and use with broken skin.

PEG/Ceteareth/Polyethylene – Frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane a probable carcinogen.

Coal Tar Hair Dyes + Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine – Coal tar is a known carcinogen.

Oxybenzone – Human studies link to irritation and allergies. Animal studies show hormone disruption.

The list of personal care substances to avoid for safer and healthier care products.

Four Helpful Ways to Find Safer Personal Care Products


1. Read the labels and avoid any product with the substances listed above. This is hard work. And, it requires glasses or a magnifying glass, so be sure to read options #3 and #4.



2. Avoid all products with fragrance. Remember, fragrance can include any of 3,000+ substances, many synthetic, petroleum-based and toxic. Fragrance can also include phthalates.



3. Use the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

The site has over 70,000 product ratings. Start with one product type like hair and bath products, and then move on to other products.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so take small steps.

After you enter the product name, the database will return a rating and risk information. The database also provides safer alternatives.



4. Try these highly rated brands.

Many of these brands are available at your natural grocery store.

  • Andalou
  • Avalon Organics
  • Desert Essence
  • Dr. Bronner’s
  • Honeybee Gardens
  • Hugo’s Naturals
  • ShiKai Borage
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Juice Beauty

Or shop's selection of Personal Care Products. We only carry products that have safer ingredients.

Ready to Take Action?

It really does matter what you put on your skin and spray on your body. Start by focusing on one area like hair products or deodorant and work through your products. 

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