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Clean Beauty: Why It Matters And How You Can Ensure A Clean Beauty Regime

The beauty industry is one of the most fascinating industries there is and one that we know too little about. All the lively, vibrant and neutral shades and textures are amazing to look at. But these take our focus from the truth behind the beauty industry, that of these products infused with chemicals that can harm your skin. And that is why the concept of 'clean beauty' is gaining such momentum. Today, we talk about all that you need for clean beauty. Here we go!

What Is Clean Beauty & Why Is It Important?

The beauty industry has not very rigid and tight standards when it comes to the ingredients being used. And as such, there are many toxic ingredients used in preparing the products that you use on a regular basis[1] . And this is where the concept of clean beauty finds its place.

Clean beauty means using products that are non-toxic, natural and safe to use. Unfortunately, the regulations on ingredients that can be used in the making of beauty products are very vague and broad and as such the companies have a lot of room to play with these guidelines and the ingredients that they use[2] .

Remember the Johnson & Johnson scandal where people raised their voice against the brand as they were concerned about the safety of their younger ones owing to the ingredients used in their products? It is a great example of how the products we use every day are not as safe as you would think. And this is mainly because of our lack of knowledge about the ingredients that we are infused in our beauty products.

How To Ensure A Clean Beauty Regime

Clean beauty, simple put, is using ingredients that are non-toxic and therefore safe to use. So, to ensure a clean beauty clean regime you need to focus on the ingredients that are used in a particular product. It is as simple as flipping the product and going through the ingredient list. And for that, you need to what ingredients and chemicals used are harmful to your skin. But, there is also a catch there. Often, there is a lack of transparency in the ingredients mentioned in the product. Frangrance, for example, mentioned as an ingredient is too wide a term for you to know what actually is put in the product. So, it is highly advised that you go for fragrance-free products.

As so, to have a clean beauty regime there are certain ingredients that you need to avoid. Here is a list of those ingredients.

1. Phthalates

Phthalates such as dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate and bisphenol have been proven to be toxic for our environment and very harmful for the human body [3] . Used in cosmetics, phthalates are supposed to improve the penetration and flexibility of the products but they end up causing damage to the skin. In fact, the EU has banned the use of phthalates in cosmetic products.

2. Fragrance

Fragrance is one of the main ingredients in cosmetics that cause an allergic reaction to the skin[4] . Moreover, fragrances include phthalates to extend its shelf life and phthalates as we already discussed are highly toxic for the skin.

3. Triclosan

Used as an antimicrobial agent and preservative in products such as toothpaste, soaps and deodorants, triclosan is found to be a skin sensitizer that can cause allergic reactions on the skin[5] .

4. Formaldehyde

Present mainly in nail polishes and hair products, formaldehyde is an irritant for the skin and eyes. It is also found to pose carcinogenic risk and cause liver infections[6] .

5. Parabens

Parabens act as a preservative that helps to increase the shelf life of the products and ensures that you can use the product for a longer period of time. But, parabens are also believed to penetrate into your skin and cause skin irritation, reproductive issues, hormonal disbalance and have also been linked to breast cancer.[7] [8] .

6. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

BHA is used as an antioxidant in cosmetic products such as lipstick and moisturisers and can lead to skin depigmentation and other health issues such as liver damage[9] .

7. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)

SLS can disrupt the skin barrier function and lead to various skin infections and thus it is not recommended to be used in cosmetic products[10] .

8. PEGs (polyethene glycols)

PEGs are moisture-carriers that are mainly found in cream-based products and used to thicken and soften the products[11] . But, it is a toxic ingredient for your body that can cause, cancer and nerve damage[12] .

9. Phenoxyethanol

Used as a preservative in cosmetic products, phenoxyethanol is not only an irritant for the skin but it also penetrates under your skin to cause live, nervous and kidney damage.[13] You should, therefore, never expose your skin to this toxic ingredient.

10. Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is widely used in sunscreen and other skincare products to reduce the damage done by the harmful UV rays of the skin. But, it, in fact, is a toxic ingredient not only for your skin and body but for the environment as well. It can cause various skin and health hazards and contaminates the environment[14] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Barrett J. R. (2005). The ugly side of beauty products.Environmental health perspectives,113(1), A24. doi:10.1289/ehp.113-a24
  2. [2] Kessler R. (2015). More than cosmetic changes: taking stock of personal care product safety.Environmental health perspectives,123(5), A120–A127. doi:10.1289/ehp.123-A120
  3. [3] National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Dibutyl phthalate, CID=3026, (accessed on Nov. 29, 2019)
  4. [4] Hamilton, T., & de Gannes, G. C. (2011). Allergic contact dermatitis to preservatives and fragrances in cosmetics.Dermatitis,14, 16.
  5. [5] Kim, H., Gautam, R., Joo, S., Yang, S., Acharya, M., Maharjan, A., ... & Heo, Y. (2019, October). Use of the local lymph node assay: 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine flow cytometry method to predict the skin sensitization potential of PHMG, PGH, TRICLOSAN and mixtures of these compounds with the excipient propylene glycol. InTOXICOLOGY LETTERS(Vol. 314, pp. S225-S226). ELSEVIER HOUSE, BROOKVALE PLAZA, EAST PARK SHANNON, CO, CLARE, 00000, IRELAND: ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD.
  6. [6] Solomons, K., & Cochrane, J. W. (1984). Formaldehyde toxicity. Part II. Review of acute and chronic effects on health.South African medical journal= Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde,66(3), 103-106.
  7. [7] Alexiades-Armenakas, M. (2008). Parabens toxicity to skin and other organs.
  8. [8] Güzel Bayülken, D., & Ayaz Tüylü, B. (2019). In vitro genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of some paraben esters on human peripheral lymphocytes.Drug and chemical toxicology,42(4), 386-393.
  9. [9] Slaga, T. J., & Bracken, W. M. (1977). The effects of antioxidants on skin tumor initiation and aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase.Cancer Research,37(6), 1631-1635.
  10. [10] Lee, C. H., & Maibach, H. I. (1995). The sodium lauryl sulfate model: an overview.Contact dermatitis,33(1), 1-7.
  11. [11] Skin conditioning composition. U.S. Patent 4,970,220, issued November 13, 1990.
  12. [12] Tusing, T. W., Elsea, J. R., & Sauveur, A. B. (1954). The chronic dermal toxicity of a series of polyethylene glycols.Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association,43(8), 489-490.
  13. [13] National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. 2-Phenoxyethanol, CID=31236, (accessed on Nov. 29, 2019)
  14. [14] DiNardo, J. C., & Downs, C. A. (2018). Dermatological and environmental toxicological impact of the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone/benzophenone‐3.Journal of cosmetic dermatology,17(1), 15-19.
Story first published: Friday, November 29, 2019, 14:02 [IST]
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