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What is clean beauty? Why does it matter? What about the FDA Regulations?

While our skin’s epidermis acts as our protective first line of defense from the external world, some reports, including the Chemical Safe Skincare Campaign, say it still lets in as much as 60 percent of what we apply topically (1). You might hear a product’s two “hero” or “superstar” ingredients that have natural origin, but when you look at the ingredients list… you’ll find them at the end of the list, in a concentration of less than one percent and accompanied by tons of words you cannot even pronounce. You might think a “little bit of harm” within a skincare product won’t add up to much. But that “little bit of harm” isn’t an isolated event; pollution and environmental stressors surround us every single day, and all of this affects our health and well-being.

In a survey of 230 people, people on average used nine products daily. 25 percent of women surveyed use 15 or more products each day (“Why this matters”). If 90 percent of the ingredients in those products were carcinogenic, think of the impact that could have. Even if a product contains carcinogens or other toxins, is toxic to the reproductive system, or is known to disrupt the endocrine system…it can still reach the market due to lack of FDA regulation.

This is why clean beauty matters. Clean beauty means that there are no known toxins in the formula. As we shared in our previous article "Beauty Product Ingredients. Why Should You Review” we take the clean beauty to the next level. To us, “clean beauty” means safer, more mindful, and more sustainable ingredients.

Then shouldn’t there be regulations to govern this?

There is absolutely no independent authority or agency, even within the government, whose job is to monitor what goes into skincare or other cosmetics products. There is no one who looks at a final formulation and declares its safety (1). You might not know that the European Union (EU) has banned over thousands of ingredients that the United States (US) still commonly uses, from drugstore pharmacy products to those that sell on the counters of Bloomingdale's. Of the ingredients that the EU has banned, the US has banned thirty of those ingredients. Now that is frightening.

 

Here is what we know (1) (2):

  1. The FDA does not test personal care products for safety before they are released into the market.
  2. The FDA does not require data from companies illustrating a product’s safety.
  3. Even if a product is found to be “unsafe,” the FDA can’t easily force a company to recall it.
  4. If “safety” testing is in fact done, it’s likely short-term reaction based, i.e. determining whether a product causes a rash.
  5. No one knows the long-term effects of many of the alarming chemicals used.
  6. Companies can choose to use almost any ingredient without any regulation or overhead.
  7. Some ingredients can permeate the body tissue and do not leave readily.
  8. Health experts say “safe” dosages of carcinogens don’t exist – yet they still are being used in skincare products.
  9. Chemicals have by-products and enzymatic reactions that occur within the body. These by-products are potentially harmful, yet, are not listed on the label.
  10. And fragrances? They are protected under what are known as trade secret laws … meaning ingredients are not listed in any way. So the “parfum,” “fragrance,” or “artificial fragrance” you see listed on an ingredients label? They could include absolutely anything.