I’m beginning to wonder if “dermatologist recommended” actually means anything. A few years back I worked as an Arbonne consultant for about a day. Turns out I’m an atrocious sales person, but I did manage to learn a lot about ingredients that are present in everything from shampoo to face cleansers to cosmetics. It really opened my eyes to the fact that we may not be putting the healthiest things on our or our kids’ skin, and quite frankly it made me a little angry. Not at consumers, of course, but at the companies who were touting “All Natural Ingredients,” “Hypoallergenic” and “Noncomedegenic” (this means your face wash isn’t very funny), as if these buzz words were enough to promise a healthy solution to blocked pores, dry skin, and dull hair.
I started dissecting ingredient labels on the products that claimed to be dermatologist recommended and all-natural: mineral oil, petrolatum (yes, this is a refined form of pertoleum…the stuff you use to fuel your car), sulfates, and parabens were in EVERYTHING I was using. After doing some research and learning these ingredients are about the worst things you can put on your skin, both for superficial cosmetic reasons and not-so-superficial health reasons, I began to wonder why on earth these ingredients were even allowed to be in our skin care products. It was more than unsettling to discover that the US is one of the only advanced countries where the FDA does not regulate the cosmetic industry (they don’t even regulate our food very well, in my opinion. But that is neither here nor there), meaning you can fill a bottle with nothing but 100% “All Natural” mineral oil and call it Baby Oil. An oil that can create an unpenetratable layer on one’s skin, making it impossible for pores to do their job and let the skin breathe, is marketed as a product for babies! I decided one of my priorities would be taking the time to research ingredient labels on all my cosmetic and skin care products. Thankfully, despite lax regulations, you can find quite a few companies here in the US that actually do use organic, truly natural products that are sulfate, paraben, and petrolatum-free (Badger Balm and Burt’s Bees products are my favorites).*
Maybe I’m just getting too crunchy for my own good, but it’s enough to make me one of those crazy moms who screams anytime someone tries to put Banana Boat Sunscreen on my child’s face. Wonder why that would freak me out? Check out www.cosmeticsdatabase.com to see how some of our most popular cosmetic and skin care products stack up in the eyes of the Environmental Working Group. WARNING: you might accidentally spend the better half of your day on this website and leave feeling somewhat nauseous and perturbed.
*This post is not intended to be an add for Burt’s Bees or Badger Balm. Simply, my personal experiences with these company’s products are good ones, and I respect their adherence to only putting natural and healthy ingredients in their products.