The toxic truth behind skincare and beauty brands.

Author: Nellie Labovitz, CNP, BHSc, BSc

Did you know that are more than 85 000 chemicals on the market today, many of which that do not have any safety data? This is especially true of those used in the skincare and beauty industry. Especially as women, we are constantly the target audience of skincare and makeup brands, and find ourselves using on average 12 products a day! 

Decades of studies have indicated that serious health problems are on the rise, in part due to a  large majority of these personal care products. According to the chemical industry database,  74% of these products contain carcinogens, reproductive toxins, teratogens, developmental toxins and other toxicants. This means that not only do these products affect our well-being,  but also the health of a developing fetus via umbilical cord blood, and newborns through breast milk. 

In fact, studies commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have found over 200  chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of babies. This is an unbelievable statistic that has stuck with me for years! 

There is substantial evidence for the impact of these toxins on increasing reproductive complications. Some of the ways this might manifest are in difficulty conceiving & maintaining pregnancy, testicular cancer, and preterm birth.  

In addition, chemicals called xenoestrogens (which include BPA, phthalates, parabens and  fragrance) act to interfere with the natural hormones of the body, increasing estrogenic activity  and contributing to conditions such as: 

  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Acne
  • Early menses and menopause
  • Breast, uterine and ovarian cancers

Young girls are now entering puberty earlier than even a generation ago, putting them at higher risk for breast cancer due to longer estrogen exposure. 

Unfortunately as of now, there are approximately only 1400 chemicals banned in the EU, 600  banned in Canada, and 30 (!!) banned in the United States. The good news is, that we can always take matters into our own hands, empowering ourselves with education and learning about ways to protect ourselves and our families. 

So— when purchasing products, flip them around and look at the ingredient label.
Some  ingredients you can begin to look out for are: 

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • BHT
  • Triclosan
  • Sulfates
  • Fragrance*

*Thousands of chemicals are hidden under this overarching label of “fragrance”! In fact, companies and brands are not required to disclose the chemicals used in fragrance as it is considered personal/ professional property.
IG: @nellielabovitz