As a Clean, Conscious Skincare company who lives and breathes clean beauty, we wanted to SHOUT about what is GOOD, identify the bad and reject the ugly.
The Good (great in fact) element of our company and ethos is evident in all that we express. We only use clean, non-toxic ingredients, not chemically preserved, synthetically enhanced or empty ingredients that offer no nutritional benefit. All the materials we use are sourced from nature, have not been stripped of their natural integrity and energy and our cruelty free. You can see that when you set eyes on the colour. Nothing white or bleached.
The Bad are the lazy bulkers and fillers that are omnipresent across the majority of skincare lines. The few key ingredients are the main focus, trying to distract you from the bulk of the formulation which are there to add volume. This is called ‘dressing’ and although not necessarily ‘bad’ as in harmful, but are not good and unnecessary and a compromise in our opinion.
The Ugly are the sinners, the harmful, hidden ingredients that are brushed aside. One must not take for granted the build-up over time from these toxic ingredients. Our bodies, and systems are simply not designed to know how to eliminate these toxins, and we are constantly at battle, with our livers trying to figure out what to do with the bombardment. Up to 70% of what we apply to our skins finds its way into our bodies. Alarmingly, the majority of ingredients used in beauty products have not been evaluated for safety. Thank heavens the EU is more vigilant and recognises this and has banned over 1,300 chemicals, in contrast to the FDA.
There are two books that you can adopt as your ‘go-to’s and certainly we reference. “Toxic Beauty’ – How hidden chemicals in cosmetics can harm you: By Dawn Mellowship and “No More Dirty Looks” – the truth about your beauty products: By Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt.
Read, ask and demand to know the truth. We are in the process of creating our own authentication trademark that demonstrates our clean status, in the same way Credo Beauty do. There are certifying symbols everywhere that acknowledge the presence of some organic, or ‘natural’ ingredients, but they vary in their credibility and are inconsistent. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of our position, so we will simply create our own and start to partner and communicate this shared desire with other likeminded beauty and cosmetic brands. Watch this space.
CLEAN VS DIRTY
Having a clean skincare brand in your life is definitely a good decision. However, we must celebrate being dirty!!! We love Dr. Josh Axe Eat Dirt.
Scientists have discovered that exposure to certain kinds of soil bacteria can reduce anxiety and increase learning capabilities when ingested or inhaled, reports Physorg.com. Grubby urchins everywhere can rejoice: dirt may actually make you smarter. The amazing bacterium in question is Mycobacterium vaccae, which occurs naturally in soil and is often breathed in innocuously when people spend time in nature.
We live in an age where we are constantly told to sterilise, disinfect and be sanitised. This is partly because of environmental pollution and our fear of illness and disease. However, our immune system is a remarkable self-defence more than you would believe, and the more we ask of it, the more it delivers and supports us. If you are a healthy individual, then there is no reason why you should be nervous about catching every bug and being fearful of compromising your health. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights with determination and the reality is complex, beautiful and just awesome.
So please roll around in nature and let your bodies do what they were designed to do, support, defend and get dirty.
We have taken this information from Credo’s Clean Standard. For further reference please click here.
Elemental aluminum is the third most abundant element on earth. We are exposed to it through a variety of sources including drinking water, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer products. Aluminum can also form as salts or oxides. The toxicity of different forms of aluminum depends in large part on its relative solubility in water and the pH range. Aluminum compounds appear to be poorly absorbed by the human body, but elemental aluminum is a known toxicant at high doses.
Animal Oils, Animal Musks, and Animal Fats
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
A preservative linked to cancer, skin irritation, and hormone disruption.
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
A Toluene-based preservative linked to skin irritation.
Some have been linked to hormone disruption. Others, like Avobenzone, appear safer but remain understudied. Chemical Sunscreens include Benzophenone; Diphenylmethanone; Diphenyl Ketone; 119-61-9; Benzoylbenzene; Phenyl Ketone; Oxybenzone; 2-Hydroxy-4 Methoxybenzophenone; 131-57-7; Benzophenone-3; (2-Hydroxy-4-Methoxyphenyl), and Octinoxate.
Cyclic silicones include cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), cyclopentasiloxane (D5), cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and cyclomethicone. Data indicates that some of these chemicals may have reproductive, developmental toxicity and/or endocrine disruption concerns. They are also persistent in the environment, and may build up in the food chain.
Calcium Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA, etc, are chelating agents, meaning that they bind to metal ions, which inactivates them. These ingredients are not linked to consumer health issues, but they might be a problem for aquatic life since they don’t break down in the environment and have been found in waterways.
These ingredients (including DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA) may be contaminated with chemicals like Nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.
These ingredients are synthetically produced using Ethylene Oxide, a known carcinogen. 1,4-Dioxane, another carcinogen, often contaminates the Ethoxylated ingredients, but 1,4-Dioxane itself doesn’t appear on ingredient labels. To avoid Ethoxylated compounds look for these common ingredients listed on labels (although more exist too):
- Ceteareth-20: This is the Polyethylene Glycol Ether of Cetearyl Alcohol and may contain potentially toxic impurities such as 1,4-Dioxane
- Emulsifying wax: This is usually a blend of Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 or Ceteareth-20
- PEGS, including PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds, like PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-40, and its related chemicals. (There are over 1000 PEG ingredients listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients Database)
- Polysorbate-20, Polysorbate-40
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and most ingredients ending in “-eth”
Although typically not listed as an ingredient, Formaldehyde “releasers” or “donors” often are listed on ingredient labels. These ingredients likely have Formaldehyde tagging along
- Dmdm Hydantoin
- Diazolidinyl Urea
- Imidazolidinyl Urea
- Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin
- Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
- Polyoxymethylene Urea
- 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane
Typically used for skin lightening reasons, it inhibits melanin synthesis, causes skin irritation, and may cause discoloration of the skin. Hydroquinone is a metabolite of the carcinogen benzene.
Methyl Cellosolve or 2-Methoxyethanol
This ingredient has been banned in the EU; it’s a solvent that’s used as an additive in perfumes. It can cause skin irritation and may cause effects on the central nervous system, blood, bone marrow, kidneys and liver.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone
These preservatives are banned from use in leave-on cosmetic products in the EU and restricted to very small amounts in rinse-off products. They can cause skin allergies and irritation and may be toxic to the nervous system.
Certain parabens have been linked to hormone disruption including Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben.
Petrolatum and Paraffin
Petrolatum is a semisolid mixture derived from processed petroleum. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, Liquid Paraffin, and several other ingredients are also petroleum distillation byproducts. The concerns with these ingredients are unsustainable sourcing and possible PAHs contamination. PAHs (which stands for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) are linked to cancer.
Certain phthalates (like Dibutyl Phthalate, aka DBP, or DEHP, and DEP) appear on product labels, but most typically remain unlisted, hiding under the term “fragrance.” Since some phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption.
Usually used in hair dyes, it’s linked to a host of issues including allergies, irritation, and hormone disruption.
A solvent that is toxic to the immune system, may cause birth defects, and usually found in nail polishes.
Triclosan and Triclocarban
These are antibacterials and preservatives used in personal care and home-cleaning products. They’re persistent in the environment and may be associated with hormone disruption.
Some ingredients pose little-to-no hazard on their own, but may create a new concern when combined.
- Avoid combination of potassium sorbate + ascorbic acid + ferric saltsThere is limited evidence showing that these three ingredients in combination can mutate cell DNA.
- Sodium benzoate + ascorbic acid These ingredients together can form benzene, a carcinogen. The ratio of sodium benzoate to ascorbic acid, pH levels, and the addition of other acids or bases will all impact the formation of benzene. In most cosmetics which combine sodium benzoate and Vitamin C, high concentrations of Vitamin C neutralize benzene formation. The pH in cosmetic products are usually in the range (pH of 3 to 7) where benzene will not form. (And at pH 7 and higher no benzene is formed.) So, though it is unlikely to be an issue, we ask that brands please work with their chemists to avoid potential benzene
Polypropylene, Propylene, Butylene and Dipropylene Glycol. These are synthetic chemicals used to attract moisture to the skin, and help keep products stable. These ingredients do not appear to pose a safety risk for most people. However, Propylene Glycol may irritate sensitive skin. Polyethylene Glycol, or PEG, is an Ethoxylated ingredient and is on our bad list.
Lead, Nickel, Cadmium, and other heavy metals are common at trace levels in both natural mineral pigments and synthetic colorants. While these very low levels (in the low parts per million range) pose little risk to human health, many heavy metals build up in our bodies over time, and cosmetics are not our only exposure source.
This natural preservative compound looks like a paraben, and in chemistry, structure determines function. So while we don’t have any data indicating that it is a potential endocrine disruptor (which is the concern with parabens).
Lanolin and Keratin
Lanolin is a safe and effective oil that comes from sheep’s oil glands. Keratin is also derived from sheep’s wool, among other animal sources, though keratin used in cosmetics appears to be from wool. Sheep do not need to be killed or harmed to obtain lanolin or keratin, but sheep farmers often use insecticides on the animals to prevent ticks, lice, etc, and some of those chemicals are known to be toxic. Sheep-raising is a global industry, and at this time there are no established certifications or monitoring organizations that ensure humane treatment.
Nanoparticles (which range in size from 1 to 100 um, or nanometers) are extremely small particles which have been synthetically engineered to be very tiny, or which are micronized versions of larger, naturally occuring particles. The smaller particle size changes the function of the ingredient, which is why they are useful. However, the smaller size might impact health or the environment as well. A number of beauty companies sell products advertised as containing “non-nano” titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, used in sunscreens and in color cosmetics. These claims are often misleading. According to EWG, “while particle sizes vary among manufacturers, nearly all would be considered nanomaterials under a broad definition of the term, including the definition proposed in 2011 by the federal Food and Drug Administration.”
Palm Oil and Palm-Derived Ingredients
Palm Oil and ingredients that are derived from palm oil are found in many consumer products. Palm oil is a natural, effective, highly useful and safe ingredient, and a potentially sustainable crop. Currently most palm oil is grown and harvested in an unsustainable and destructive manner, wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem, communities, and the climate.
As a retinoid, this ingredient may increase sun sensitivity when applied to skin and worn into direct sunlight. However Retinyl Palmitate is likely of little concern in night creams.
Linear silicones, like Dimethicone and others, can improve skin texture, fill in wrinkles, and help condition the hair. It’s unlikely that these large, stable molecules are a health concern for cosmetics users, but there are a few things you may want to know so that you can make an informed decision:
- Silicones do not biodegrade well (or at all); they have a negative impact on the environment.
- Depending on the size of the ingredient and your skin’s sensitivity, silicones may clog pores. So those with acne-prone skin may want to avoid products that list silicones as an ingredient.
Talc is used in a range of consumer products, including color cosmetics and body (talcum) powders. There are two potential concerns regarding talc: 1) the risk of asbestos contamination and 2) the risk of small particles getting into the body through inhalation or perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder. Credo does not carry talcum powder, and we ask companies using talc in cosmetics to obtain documentation that the talc they are purchasing has been tested for asbestos, and none was found, even at trace levels.