With the arrival of warmer temperatures, the instinct to air out and clean out our homes kicks in. Don't forget it's the perfect time to spring clean your medicine cabinet and freshen up your skin care routine.
It's a no-brainer to toss expired medicines and cosmetics that are past their prime. Have you looked at what's in your skin care products, though? Anything that contains the following ingredients or something you can't pronounce shouldn't be anywhere near your skin:
- 1,4 dioxane: a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity, it won't be listed on a label as an individual ingredient. Instead, it's a contaminant created when common ingredients react to form the compound when mixed together. Look for these compounds on the label: Sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth
- Ethanolamine Compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA And Others): Found in soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners and dyes, lotions, shaving creams, paraffin and waxes, household cleaning products, pharmaceutical ointments, eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, blush, make-up bases, foundations, fragrances, sunscreens. They will often be labeled as: Triethanolamine, diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate
- Fragrance: Fragrances are one of the most common sneaky culprits that contain dangerous chemicals in personal care products. They are not regulated by the FDA and companies do not have to disclose which chemical compounds they use.
- Methylisothiazolinone (MI): What a mouthful! An increasingly used chemical preservative, methylisothiazolinone is a skin sensitizer and allergen. In 2013, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named it the 2013 Contact Allergen of the Year. This preservative is so popular that even supposedly “green” companies like Seventh Generation and Method use it in their products.
- Vitamin A: Called retinyl palmitate in an ingredient list, studies have shown that Vitamin A may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to skin that is exposed to sunlight. Interestingly, it is commonly added to skin care products for its supposed anti-aging properties.
Not sure how toxic your non-Em & El products are? Check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database or the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Happy Spring Cleaning!