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Bathroom Detox: Becoming a Label Detective

If you haven't been able to tell, I've got detox on the brain! There are so many ways you can detox to have a healthy body and lifestyle - but here's one you maybe haven't thought of. Part of being healthy is looking and feeling healthy, which is why I'm such a fan of having healthy skin. And sometimes, your skin needs a bathroom detox - a clearing out of both bad ingredients and old products!

As a skin health educator, I talk a lot about the power of what goes INTO your body to create a gorgeous glow. But it's equally important to pay attention to what SHOULDN'T go in. And to do that, we need to become label detectives in our bathrooms.

In the US, our skin and bodies are constantly fighting a battle most consumers are unaware of, as standards of ingredient integrity remain largely unregulated. Did you know that the European Union has banned or restricted more than 1,300 chemicals in their cosmetic products?

The US has outlawed 11. That's right. ELEVEN.

So what types of ingredients are legally allowed in the US that are frequently found in toiletry and beauty products? Here's just nine common ingredients we should be wary of:

  • formaldehyde: a known carcinogen found in US hair-straightening products and nail polish

  • parabens: preservatives that act like phytoestrogens and are linked to reproductive problems often lurk in skin and hair products

  • petroleum (mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin oil are also petroleum): most popularly used to fuel your car, this ingredient has also made it's way into skincare; and since your body doesn't absorb it, experts are concerned about what it may do to your health longterm

  • talc: a grease-absorbing ingredient popular in deodorants, dry-shampoos, and makeup, talc can also contain asbestos and increases the chance of lung cancer and mesothelioma

  • fragrance: this is a catch-all term that can hide any number of iffy ingredients, and prevents you from knowing what's actually in your products

  • coal tar dyes (PPD): frequently found in american eyeshadows, this ingredient is a common allergen

  • titanium: often found in sunscreens, titanium is a potential neurotoxin and has also been linked to cancer

  • quaternium-15: this preservative often found in makeup can release formaldehyde

  • hydroquinone: a skin brightening ingredient with a cytotoxic nature, this ingredient can kill cells and chromosomes, potentially setting the stage for cancer

So what do we do about this?

My advice: head into your bathroom and become a 'label detective'. If you see any of these ingredients (or any of the 1000+ others banned in Europe), toss it. Investigate your brands and make wise choices about what you may be absorbing through your body's largest organ, the skin. And for extra credit: am I the only person whose cabinet has ever gotten a little cluttered with partially used, open bottles of cosmetics I bought and then abandoned? Remember that any opened product that has been sitting in your cabinet for over a year is DEFINITELY BAD. Like, REALLY REALLY BAD. Clear out the old. It's healthier for your skin, and you'll get a clean and happy cabinet to boot!

They say that knowing is half the battle...well now you know! Start fighting against these ingredients so you don't unknowingly harm your skin over your lifetime.

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