Cosmetics without Carcinogens

If you have been keeping abreast of the latest updates about the cosmetic industry, you probably know by now that many of the personal care products that we use daily, are full of extremely harmful chemicals. Yes – many of the products that we apply on our bodies, can actually cause cancer and serious birth defects.

Before we pooh pooh these ideas (after all, how much can a bit of moisturizer or body spray hurt you?), we would do well to remember that skin is the largest organ in our body, and 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer this year. Would you voluntarily expose this organ to cancer causing chemicals each and every day? Yet, that is what each of us is doing on a daily basis.

Much has been made of the fact that the EU has banned about 1,400 different chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products, while the U.S. has banned a paltry 11.

Yes, we all know that we should be careful about the ingredients that go into our cosmetics and personal care products, but with so many brands flooding the market, how do we decide which products are good for us? Usually, we go for the reputed brands, assuming that such big names will never make a product that will harm our health. And yet, most of the time, these big names are also the biggest offenders.

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According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Nearly 90% of the 10,500 ingredients the FDA has determined are used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA or any other publicly accountable institution.”

Fortunately, a campaign for safe cosmetics has been gathering momentum in the last few years, and there are several agencies that have taken it upon themselves to analyze and rate the various personal care products that are available in the market. Tools like GoodGuide and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database provide critical health information about many consumer items including personal care products. And if you want to check how effective these products are, then sites like Beautypedia.com and the user reviews on Amazon provide useful information.

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Based on the data available on these sites, these are our top picks:


Safe cosmetics without carcinogensBadger – Face & Body Soaps 

Handcrafted and hand cut, these $5 soaps are moisturizing, non-drying and soothing for the skin. They contain no added fragrance, color, detergents/foaming agents or harsh chemicals. They come in a range of yummy scents, for a range of skin types, and are great as a facial cleanser when you’re traveling.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: Not rated
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 5 stars for unscented botanical

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Acure Organics – Argan Facial Oil Organic

Termed as a ‘Super Food’, Acure Organics Argan oil is rich in Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids, and Proteins, and is light weight and easily absorbed. It helps smooth out fine lines, repairs imperfections, minimizes scars and stretch marks, restores texture, elasticity and tone, and reduces inflammation. Josie Maran sells her little bottle for $44, but this one is better, as it’s 100% organic and only $14. Since the bottle is clear, make sure it stays out of the sunlight (FYI: Oils oxidize and lose potency in sunlight. The sun also creates aging free-radicals in oils.)

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: Not rated
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Devita2Devita – Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30

A moisturizer and sun block in one, this $16 daytime cream is especially suitable for sensitive skin. It is 100 vegan and paraben free, absorbs quickly and is light enough to wear under make up. With a pleasant smell, and no residue, this is the perfect daytime moisturizer.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: Not rated
  • Amazon.com Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Safe cosmetics without carcinogensThayer’s – Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

Made from the extract of the Witch Hazel shrub and rose-petal water, this alcohol free toner cleanses, tones and soothes the skin. Perfect for wiping away excess oil, this toner smells and feels incredibly refreshing on the skin. This soothing $8 toner is something you’ll want to keep at home and at work.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating:  Not rated
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

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Lavanila – Healthy Sunscreen SPF 30 

Lavanila sunscreens use a blend of minerals and anti oxidants to provide nourishment and UVA/UVB protection to the skin. This non whitening, fragrance free product is 100% natural and completely free from chemicals. All that and, unlike most sunscreens, it smells absolutely divine! It’s a bit pricey though, at $28.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 8 (Very Low Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Safe cosmetics without carcinogensSeventh Generation – Baby Sunscreen SPF 30

This gentle sunscreen uses mineral sun filters to provide UVA/UVB protection to the baby’s delicate skin. It contains no chemical sunscreens, parabens, gluten or PABA. At $12, this is a steal.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: Not rated
  • Amazon.com Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

aura cacia massage creamAura Cacia – Massage Cream (Lavender, Cinnamon/Ylang Ylang)

Calming and relaxing, these massage creams contains nourishing jojoba and coconut oils and give silky smooth skin. Take it with you when you go to the spa to get a massage, as many spas use oils mixed with lots of unknown chemicals. A bottle will last a long time, and it’s only $5.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: Not rated
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 8.8  (Almost No Hazard or Irritants)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Be natural facial washBe Natural Organics – AHA Facial Wash

This highly effective foaming cleanser contains 10% glycolic acid to help destroy acne-causing bacteria. It gently helps remove the skin’s outer dead layer, allowing easier release of clogged pores, excess sebum and debris, leaving the skin clean and with an even skin tone. At $23, it’s well worth the price.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: Not rated
  • Amazon.com Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

hand-sanitizer-lgDr. Bronner’s – Hand Sanitizer – Lavender

Certified under the National Organic Program that also verifies food products, these lavender-scented hand sanitizers are free from harsh chemicals and contain organic glycerine to moisturize the skin. For $4, buy several and leave them in the car, your purse, at work, etc.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

DB 4ozDr. Bronner’s – Liquid Soap

These soaps contain essential oils which are certified under the USDA’s National Organic Program, which ensures the organic integrity of products. They are also certified under the National Organic Program that also verifies food products. For $4 to $9 for a huge bottle, very good things can come cheap!

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: Between 4-5 out of 5 stars

Safe cosmetics without carcinogensThe Body Shop – Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser

This is a mild and creamy soap-free cleansing lotion which is particularly good for dry and sensitive skin, and leaves the skin feeling soft, supple and smooth. It’s thick, so you may need to use a cloth to wipe it all off. At $10, this is our best pick for the winter months.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Beautypedia Rating: Excellent
  • Amazon.com Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Safe cosmetics without carcinogensMiessence Organics – (Mint or Anise) Toothpaste

Free of artificial colours, flavourings and without fluoride, aluminium or detergents, all Miessence toothpastes contain only natural ingredients. The anise toothpaste combines the healing properties of fragrant star anise with the cleaning power of bicarbonate of soda. The $11 you spend is well worth it when you think about how much toothpaste you ingest over a year, and the fact that fluoride is one of the more toxic ingredients you can ingest.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 0 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (No Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Out Of Africa – Pure Shea Butter (Vanilla) Soap

This sexy-smelling bar soap is used to cleanse the skin without causing it to dry. It contains 20% pure unrefined shea butter, antioxidants, vitamins A, E, and F, helping with skin tone and elasticity. This bar soap lasts 50% longer than other bar soaps in the market.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating:   1  (No Hazard)
  • Good Guide Health Rating:  Not Rated
  • Amazon.com Rating: 4.3 stars.  Users of this bar soap love it for its aroma and its effects on their skin.

Aromatica – Organic Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera comes in very handy for skin that’s over exposed to the sun. 98% of Aromatica’s aloe vera gel is of natural origin and from organic farming.  When applied, it leaves your skin feeling refreshed and calm. Not only that, it soothes the burns away restoring and maintaining a moisturized look for your skin. We love it as a daily moisturizer.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating:  Not rated
  • Amazon.com Rating:  Not rated

Miessence Organics – Shimmer Creme

This product comes in a convenient clasp compact making it easy for you to add color on your face. It also comes with a subtle amount of shimmer that’s appropriate for wherever you are at the moment.

  • EWG Skin Deep Rating: 0 (No Hazard)
  • GoodGuide Health Rating:  7  (Low Hazard)
  • Amazon.com Rating:  Not rated

 


Safe cosmetics without carcinogens

 

Are you surprised at finding many of the major brands missing from the above list? Well, that is because many major brands fall woefully short on safety and environmental standards, even though they may be very popular. So, the next time you buy any of your favorite personal care products, visit a few websites like EWG Skin Deep and GoodGuide and see if they withstand the safety test.

As consumers, it is both our right and duty to be mindful about the cosmetics that we use and to ensure that we shun any products which can pose a health hazard to us and our children. Once we start avoiding products that are harmful, we will hit the cosmetic giants where it hurts most – their revenues and bottom lines. Once that happens, perhaps then safe cosmetics will become the norm rather than the exception. It is upto each one of us to make that happen.

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