Health must be a journey, one can really only take on so much information at once as well as make certain incremental changes. Therefore we are ALL at different points on our journey, with different goals and with similar and unique knowledge to bring to the table.
I have been known to be impatient, so I am proud that I have been able to take the past 10 years to get to where I am today. My journey first started as a mission for all beings, therefore I was vegan. It transformed in a more self-centered way when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's. I turned towards what was best for me, what I must learn, then apply, test results and learn more. It then became about the people in my life. I had learned so much I had to share it. My mission turned towards helping others learn and experiment with the diet protocols that worked best for them. This is the root of my business.
My curiosity never ceases to end. The information to be absorbed is voluminous and everyday emerging science and data is discovered. I have been feeling quite confident in what I have been putting IN my body, but began to question hard what I was putting ON my body. Over the years I had switched to a safer deodorants and soaps, but I could not quite get a handle on make-up and skincare. It was too overwhelming until I stumbled upon Beauty Counter. I was skeptical at first, but I was sold by their high standards and mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
This was an opportunity to learn. The learning was through friends that were consultants that were educated, had passion and had a common love for this company. Let me share what is astounding and shocking! The FDA has little to no regulation over cosmetics and skincare. You read that right, the most recent legislation on the cosmetic industry was issued in 1938, 80 YEAR AGO! Since then there have been over 80,000 chemicals introduced and used in products, with ONLY 30 banned in the U.S. Is your jaw on the floor yet? If not, keep reading...
The European Union has banned over 1,400 chemicals used in cosmetics and skincare and restricted the levels of an additional 250. Unfortunately toxins and heavy metals are still in our skincare products today. These commonly include mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and aluminum leading to disruption of our nervous systems, infertility, oxidative stress, birth defects, liver damage and more (1, 2 and 3). Consider these are not just absorbed through the skin, but enter the body through inhalation when in the form of powder or aerosol, or through the mouth as with lip products.
Beauty Counter has chosen to hold to high standards by banning over 1,500 known toxic chemicals, screen rigorously, source responsibly and maintain transparency. And they are not alone, since 2013 their mission has become a movement for consumers and other conscientious businesses. I appreciate the above infographic because it is honest, a little scary, but wins me over because I understand they not only test the source of ingredients, but they batch test to ensure that changes to safety over time do not occur.
Whether in conversation, reading, or on the news, most of us have heard the phrase "endocrine disrupters." But what does that mean? The endocrine system is made of a host of glands located throughout our body that produce and deliver hormone messengers to instruct actions through all systems of the body. This includes your thyroid and parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, your pituitary, pineal glands and hypothalamus located in your brain, pancreas and the sex glands ovaries and testicles. We are talking major systems that regulate almost every function in your body! Therefore any system in your body can be derailed by the effects of chemicals that are in the class of endocrine disrupters. These includes:
Parabens: A group of chemicals widely used as artificial preservatives in cosmetics and body care products since the 1920's. Since cosmetics contain ingredients that can biodegrade, these chemicals are added to prevent and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, increasing the shelf life of the product. The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation (4)
Fragrance: When you see "fragrance" on a personal care product's label, read it as "hidden chemicals." A major loophole in the FDA's federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name "fragrance" without actually listing the chemical (5).
Phthalates: A common industrial chemical used in PVC plastics, solvents, and synthetic fragrances. This class of endocrine disrupters are linked to problems of the reproductive system, including increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, decreased sperm motility and birth defects. Diethyl phthalate is often used as part of the "fragrance," but will not be listed separately. Best to use products that do not list fragrance in the ingredient listing. Also commonly found in nail polish, plastics in the kitchen, vinyl, paint, air fresheners, detergents and cleansers (6).
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s): The U.S. government and World Health Organization have classified formaldehyde as carcinogenic when its fumes are inhaled. It is also a potent skin sensitizer and allergen. You won't see straight up formaldehyde put in a product, but the roundabout way to utilize it as a preservative is using chemicals, called “formaldehyde releasers.” When added to water, these chemicals will decompose slowly to form molecules of formaldehyde. If you don't want these chemicals in your products, look for and avoid: DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol ), 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, and Hydroxymethylglycinate (7).
More can be found on the Dirty Dozen of Endocrine Disrupters.
Without doing extensive research on every cosmetic company that proclaims natural and free of hazardous chemicals, it has become apparent to me rigorous testing, and retesting is done among the few.
"Regarding our commitment to ingredient safety, it is important to differentiate between ingredient screening and testing. Through our strict Ingredient Selection Process, we perform a hazard and risk assessment on every ingredient we consider for inclusion in our formulas. We review up-to-date authoritative lists (such as global regulatory standards) and scientific research for evidence of human health and ecological hazard for each ingredient. Specific hazards we assess include carcinogenicity, developmental toxicity, mutagenicity, allergenicity, and potential hormone disruption to name a few."
"To ensure that our products pass our strict heavy metal standards, we test every batch of our color cosmetics for heavy metals prior to bringing the product to market. We understand that there are data gaps with both natural and synthetic colorants, and we are constantly reviewing updated regulatory safety standards where they exist (from the European Union, Canada, etc.) to refine our strict heavy metal limits. We advocate for smart, health-protective research and will continue to review available data and improve our products based on new findings and ingredient innovation." - Beauty Counter
While I am not a make-up expert, I am a women that has spent a long time searching for cosmetics and skincare that works and I can trust. I no longer feel I need to sacrifice beauty for safety, nor my health for beauty. Ultimately, the goal is to use safer products, whether that is Beauty Counter or other products from manufacturers that go well above and beyond the current laws and regulations. It takes a long time for laws to be changed, but you can make changes today, even one product at a time to work towards your health and wellness goals!