Annie Gabillet is a typical woman that loves makeup products and uses them daily. To her, applying makeup to play up her good facial features and downplay the features she felt were not her best was an inexpensive and easy way to boost her confidence and improve her mood.
It never occurred to her that what she was putting on her face might contain harmful chemicals that were undermining her health and wellbeing.
While listening to local radio news broadcast one day that featured experts discussing the findings of a recent study regarding chemicals found in cosmetics, Ms. Gabillet considered what she was putting on her face.
Was it possible that her favorite form of self-expression contained toxic chemicals? Here is what she found:
The cosmetic study referred to on the radio broadcast that Annie Gabillet heard was the HERMOSA study conducted by researchers at University of California Berkeley.
The correlation between hormone disruption in females and the usage of cosmetic products were studied, and the findings were shocking.
Many personal care products, including makeup, contain chemicals that disrupt hormones.
This disruption has been linked to developmental harm in children, cancer and infertility, according to the findings of the study.
Everyday cosmetic products, such as foundation, moisturizer, lipstick and blush often contain toxic chemicals like phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3).
Ms. Gabillet discovered that these are man-made chemicals, deemed safe by the FDA and legal to use in cosmetics.
However, as more evidence comes to light regarding the toxic chemical content of personal care products and how they are impacting personal health of those who use them, the FDA is reviewing some of their initial findings that caused them to deem certain chemicals as ‘safe’.
These man-made chemicals found in cosmetics, like phthalates and paraben, are absorbed through the skin and bind with the body’s natural hormone receptors.
This un-natural bond with man-made chemicals blocks the body’s ability to utilize natural hormones and wreaks havoc within our system, interfering with normal body function.
The ability of the body to metabolize fat, develop healthy brain cells and a healthy reproductive system is compromised when these man-made chemicals are absorbed into the blood stream.
The risk of hormonal disruption is greatest during the times in life when rapid growth and development is taking place within the body.
Children, teenagers and women who are pregnant are at the greatest risk for hormonal disruption and long term health issues caused from man-made chemicals.
Toxins in All Skin Products
Ms. Gabillet discovered through her own personal research that anything she puts on her body makes its way into her body.
If her body wash, moisturizer, hair care products and makeup contained toxic chemicals, then those toxins were being absorbed into her body and potentially causing her current and future health problems.
The good news in the midst of all this negativity was the fact the health damage can be stopped and reversed when the usage chemical-laden cosmetics is stopped.
Her research led her to become a smart shopper and read the ingredient label on all personal care products. She started by reading the labels of the products she had in her own makeup bag and on her vanity.
She was shocked at what she discovered she had been putting on her skin, but also relieved that the toxic containing products could be swapped out for safer products that would work equally well.
Ms. Gabillet began her smart shopping by focusing her attention on products she used every day. Body wash, moisturizer and cosmetics not only have a label of ingredients, but often have labels declaring they are natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic and/or organic.
Those and similar terms needed to be deciphered in order for her to select the personal care products that would provide the outward look and feel she wanted without the inward harm that she didn’t want.
She discovered that natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic and organic have no legal or regulatory meaning when it comes to cosmetics. Continuous research, along with smart shopping practices, will be needed to keep her looking and feeling her best.
The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep data base and Think Dirty were valuable online resources Ms. Gabillet used (and still uses) for her research.
She also uses Skin Deep data base to discover products that contains pesticides and GMOs, which have also been shown to have a detrimental impact on the health of consumers.
She states that she used the Skin Deep data base as her jumping off point to explore brands and products to fill out her new makeup bag. While she wanted to eliminate the toxic chemicals from her daily beauty care routine, she says she didn’t want to go bare faced.
She still wants beauty products like eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, concealer, lipsticks, and lip glosses, she just wants them to be chemical-free.
She said she has found products from e.l.f, BeautyCounter and RMS that are safe, plus she is looking at products in her local supermarket from a different point of view.
She has opted to use all-natural almond oil from the cooking isle to replace chemical-packed, scented lotions.
Whole Foods has also turned out to be a valuable shopping resource for her as well.
Whole Foods employees a Whole Body coordinator that screens all personal care products sold by the store.
The store standards requires each personal care product to be screened for 50 ingredients that could have negative health or environmental impacts, including phthalates, microbeads, triclosan, BHT, BHA, and aluminum chlorohydrate; anything with those are not allowed on the shelves of Whole Foods.
Are Products Effective?
No one wants to sacrifice their entire beauty routine and be left using products that are less than stellar. Ms. Gabillet says she was pleasantly surprised by the quality of safe cosmetics.
To her, making the switch was not a sacrifice and she did not see a huge difference between conventional and low-hazard makeup products.
She did have to try a few safe shampoo and conditioning products before she found one she liked, but that is typically true for all of us when we’re trying out new products.
Prices for safe cosmetic products are comparable to conventional products, with many products being able to be used in different applications (like lipsticks which doubles as blush) to even more monetary savings.
The good news for beauty product junkies is this is the perfect excuse to try out new products to discover which ones perform to the desired standard.
She has some new favorite cosmetic brands and says she is excited to explore more products from these new brands. But what started out as a 90 day quest to find chemical free cosmetics for the sake of beauty has now changed to a health driven quest that will last a lifetime.
Health is at the top of her mind, says Annie Gabillet. The long term impact on health caused by chemical laden cosmetics is still unfolding.
The studies conducted on the short term impact on health have revealed a great improvement in hormonal, developmental and cognitive function within just a few days of ceasing to use personal care products that contain chemicals like phthalates, microbeads, triclosan, BHT and BHA. Some of these chemicals have been linked to birth defects, cancer and genetic mutation in long term usage.
Help Make Changes
Examining products in your own makeup bag and swapping harmful products with safe products is a good place to start to promote your own health.
However, because little information and regulation of the cosmetic industry exists, this small change can be time consuming and frustrating.
Because of the lack of information and regulation, many give up their quest for safer, healthier products and continue to use hazardous products on their body.
Help make positive, lasting changes to the beauty product industry by supporting a proposed law, The Personal Care Product Safety Act, that will benefit makeup users today and in the future.
If passed, the proposed law would:
* Require the FDA to study at least five chemicals per year.
* Require manufacturers to ensure products are made in a clean environment.
* Require companies register their facilities, products, and ingredients with the FDA.
* Require companies report serious problems to the FDA within 15 days.
* Close loopholes for cosmetics sold in salons and online.
This proposed law has bipartisan support in Congress and is supported by both consumer and industry groups. Well known cosmetic manufacturers, like L’Oreal, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble have also joined groups like EWG to support it.
If The Personal Care Product Safety Act passes, the term ‘FDA Approved’ on a cosmetic product would really mean it was safe for consumers to use, as opposed to the term being meaningless as it is today.
Until lasting changes are made to the ingredients used to make personal care products and cosmetics, Annie Gabillet encourages everyone to become an informed consumer.
Read the ingredient label on the items you put onto and into your body and shop at stores that carry non-toxic, safe cosmetic products like Whole Foods.
Consumer demand for safe personal care products has caused Whole Foods to increase its selection of safe products and expand its private beauty label selections.
Stay informed and if you discover questionable practices or ingredients, consumers can file a report online or by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Safe Natural Inexpensive Alternatives
There is another alternative to having safe natural skin care and makeup products. And that is making your own. Each makeup or skin care product can be made with a few ingredients in minutes.