For years I went with the latest trends in beauty and skincare. This past year I went on a journey of learning what was in skincare. What a big disappointment and shock when I learned that cosmetics & personal care are largely unregulated. This is when Personal Care Advocacy became a platform for me. Educating women on these products that we put on our #1 organ, our skin.
In 2017 I listened to the Gretchen Rubin podcast Happier. The recommendation was to do a list of 17 things you wanted to do in 2017. On my list was to learn more about what was in the products I was using on my skin. We are constantly told how bad our food system is and we should watch what we eat. We spend so much time focusing on what goes into our bodies that we fail at what is going on our skin and what goes into our bloodstream.
My curiosity started when I would use perfume I would itch my nose all day. Then certain lotions would make me itch until my skin turned purple. Then I got to thinking what is in this stuff? Fast forward to the year 2019, the year of my autoimmune diagnosis the journey quickly brought the urgency of what was going on my body could be affecting my health. Read the post about my journey https://straitontrack.com/autoimmune-disease-frustrating/\
Women Deserve To Know
Consumers deserve to know and need to work with companies that have, education, transparency, and trust and not be able to hide behind labels. We ask for more transparent labeling in pet food than we do on our own personal care products. Difficulty in conceiving affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. There is growing scientific evidence of the impact of environmental contaminants on our bodies. Women must get more educated!
What consumers need to know is the FDA hasn’t passed a law pertaining to Personal Care Products since 1938. Shocked when I learned that the Cosmetics & Personal Care industry is largely unregulated. Most cosmetic products & ingredients for personal care (except color additives) do not need FDA approval.
FDA is Failing Women
The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 which gives them the authority to oversee the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. FDA has jurisdiction over cosmetic products since the enactment of the Federal, Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act of 1938 the agency has lacked resources and tools to ensure safety. It has not had any changes in over 80 years.
Shockingly, there is no process by which FDA reviews cosmetic ingredients for safety. Registration and recall are completely voluntary.
According to the office of Cosmetics and Colors at FDA, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from the FDA. The United States banned only 11 products and up to 30 ingredients partially restricted from personal care products are on the do not use list.
The Today show aired a segment that they lead off with saying that the average woman puts over 169 chemicals on their body.
Products that are of concern:
Coal Tar – FDA has no authority
Asbestos – that can cause harm to humans
Includes Powders and Sprays
BHA and BHT
Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds)
Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
Fragrances blends may include phthalates, synthetic musks, and other ingredients linked to hormone disruption and allergies. Fragrances are also a trade secret and companies don’t have to disclose what is in them.
Preservatives are needed to protect us from mold, years and bacteria but need a stable product.
Start to Research
The process of researching every product and every ingredient that you use is overwhelming. Start with the products that are having the most negative impact. The next thing you want to think about is the level of exposure you’re getting from the products you’re using. Different products mean different levels of exposure and concern. For example, if you use lotion all over your body and it soaks into your skin all day, you’re getting a lot more exposure to those chemicals than if you were to use the same ingredients in a face cleanser that is quickly washed off. Start using the app called EWG to educate yourself on products. https://www.ewg.org/
Be strategic — try to get the best ingredients in products that you have a lot of exposure to. Personally, I started with hand lotion, deodorant, body lotion, my skincare and stopped using perfume. Then moved into makeup, body wash, and sunscreen. Remember there is no perfect product out there but you have to start somewhere.
Personal Care Product Safety Act
The Personal Care Product Safety Act is a bill trying to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safety of cosmetics. This is a bill that is in front of Congress.
H.R. 4296 “ To Amend title VI of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safe use of cosmetics and for the other purposes”
A couple of key takeaways is synthetic doesn’t mean bad just because its made in a lab. This bill gets stuck because personal care companies would get charged for the testing of products and a large hit to their bottom line.
Personal Care Product Advocacy
Over this last year, I chose to start working with a Company called Beauty Counter. Beauty Counter is a B Corporation and its mission is to “Get Safer products into the hands of everyone” Safer is the word here. Beauty Counter has over 1800 products that they will not use in their products and have on their “Never List” https://www.beautycounter.com/the-never-list. Gregg Renfrew is the Founder and CEO of Beauty Counter and her passion is showcased well in these two video clips.
Gregg was asked to testify in front of Congress about beauty reform one of the very few from the beauty industry. Her passion for reform is inspiring and she continues to challenge the status quo. Gregg chose to run Beauty Counter as a B corporation to use the power of business to help solve social and environmental problems.
Call To Action
As women, we have the power to make changes and help with a movement of #betterbeauty. Start educating yourself on your personal care products. Replace with one product when it runs out with a safer alternative. One product starts you on your journey for safer products and you can be a part of the personal care product advocacy movement.
Check out Six of the worst offenders of the skincare and beauty industry.
Eye & Face Creams
You can help share your voice in the Personal Care Product Advocacy. Beauty Counter has created a text line “52886” which you can text it every couple of months so your voice is heard.
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