This subject was probably the biggest one for us to look into. It was, quite frankly, a worry for us.
We are not experts, just concerned about what we are using in our everyday lives.
I hope this helps.
This blog is probably a little boring to drill down, but it is for you to be able to look at some of the chemicals in our everyday products.
To get a better understanding of what is in use, and why the companies put them in there.
Also websites where you can do your own research, for your own peace of mind.
GREEN WASHING –
A little funny video on Green Washing
I had never heard this term before, until very recently.
I actually thought, it was literally something to do with washing something !
But it is very relevant in looking into labelling and advertisement of a product.
They can pretty much stick anything on the label , GREEN, NATURAL, LESS CHEMICALS, the images are important too, fields, nature and trees, the clean colours of blue and white, green.
There are many ways for the advertisers to sell products, so we feel more comfortable purchasing them.
I think each person, has to look into what kind of chemicals that they want to avoid, and work towards finding the kind of products that they are happy with.
We watch commercials for shampoo on TV, and the names they give to some of the ingredients, that they are promoting as great for us, are so long and quite frankly weird sounding, they don’t sound as if they have just pulled a name out of the air.
This Video is a great explanation on Green Washing, funny too.
This has come from FOOD REVOLUTION NETWORK . A fantastic organisation to help with all things healthy.
I suppose we have become more cynical ,after looking into this topic.
As I was researching this subject, and a couple of things really made me think .
One question was, are Organic products all safe?
Are they allowed to put anything else in them?
I used to just look, at the outside of the container, while in a shop or supermarket.
When I saw the Organic tag, I thought that was enough, I thought it was safe!
Now I am more wary,since then I have been looking , more closely .
What I noticed, is that sometimes there is an * near the organic ingredient, and when you look more closely at the list of ingredients that * is near only a few of the ingredients inside, not the rest of the product.
So not all of the product is Organic!
I find that terrible, it feels dishonest.
I know not every product is the same, but I would encourage you to do a little digging into whatever you use.
It seems impossible sometimes, to find something that is 100% ok, but maybe, you can control the percentage of not so great ingredients, in the products you use.
We are not experts, and the information that we have found below, is just some of the information and chemicals found in products out there.
Here is a really clear explanation, of some of the chemical names and what they else they can be listed as.
The link is for WIKIPEDIA.
I have read a great article, written by VOX
I have included a link if you are interested in a discussion on the “natural beauty industry”.
There is such huge sums of money involved in this.
Please do your own research too.
We have put links to some of the areas of information found, we hope it helps.
The amount of chemicals per product seems overwhelming.
We didn’t know where to start, you feel afraid to use anything!
I heard one statement that said ” If you can’t read the word , you probably would be better off not using it” and to keep to products with shorter lists.
There seems to be some truth in this.
This article on NON TOXIC FOR HEALTH gives a really great explanation of how these toxins enter your body.
They explain the effects these can have on your body, how your body can aid the effectiveness of getting rid of them, through such things as your gut health.
This website is really worth really looking into.
They explain everything very clearly, really interesting, and also rather worrying, as to what companies are using to make products.
WHAT ARE WE PUTTING ON OUR SKIN
This is a very informative article in the NEW YORK TIMES , very worrying but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a very similar story wherever you live.
It certainly makes you think about what we are putting on our skin and that of our children.
It also amazes me, that what is allowed in each country, can also be so different.
Why is something considered safe in one country, then banned as unsafe in another?
Another very informative video by The Story of Cosmetics
What on earth do all of these chemicals do? why use them at all in products?
We found a very interesting video, with different opinions, going into how products are now being tested.
They explain the industry now,and how much money is involved.
Also some interesting ways the industry is going forward, towards safer products. And how they get past doing animal testing, which is great news.
I worry for all young girls, women, and now men are increasing their use of products at a faster rate too.
What are we applying to our skin? Because they have promised us silky skin, youthful appearance, healthy hair, no spots or blemishes, a wonderful fragrance, a multitude of promises made.
I wish that you could just trust these companies to make safe products.
So you could buy them with confidence.
We found a few really helpful sites which can explain more than we can, exactly what these products have in them.
WHAT CHEMICALS ARE IN THESE PRODUCTS?
This website is non- profit, they have an amazing amount of information, also a search bar for a product or a chemical that you are unsure of.
I wanted to list a few chemicals and an understanding of what they are.
There are more out there, this is by no means the whole list!
A LITTLE EXPLANATION OF WHAT THESE CHEMICALS ARE USED FOR
Basically its a cheap preservative , they can prevent mould and fungus from developing in the product. It makes me wonder what length of shelf- time this gives the product.
This is one of the first things I look for on the back of a bottle. I am noticing that more and more brands are offering a Paraben free product, which is great as you think one thing less to think about, but then you read on and find a ton of other chemicals listed including fragrance, which hides a multitude of chemicals.
These chemicals can be absorbed into your body through your skin. The problem with Parabens is that they mimic the hormone oestrogen and that can cause an imbalance in your hormones.
These chemicals make the product more of a liquid consistency. Also to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. Again these can cause problems with endocrine system and can cause cancer. Used in food wrap, plastic toys, medical equipment, shower curtains, nail polish , the list goes on.
Sometimes I think it is easy to think these only effect women, but of course these chemicals are just as widely used by men. There is certainly an increase now in male grooming, along with an increase in male grooming products.
A fuller list can be found at TOX TOWN
CDC centres for disease control and prevention these have an easy to read guide for further research.
Triciosan -(TCS) Preservatives
It is suppose to have antibacterial and anti fungal properties , but it kills both good and bad bacteria, unfortunately it can help to grow bacteria that is antibiotic resistant. I have seen reports that this can end up in breast milk, urine and blood.
This can be in toothpaste, toys ,soaps, detergents, body washes and also some cosmetics.
more information can be found on this link
This such a great resource for finding information on any topic.
(SLS) Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Used to make the bubbles, foaming agent ( this seems to be in everything!) was produced to de-grease engines.
This has been in use since the 1930’s It can be derived from Petroleum , Coconut oil or Palm oil . Can be used as a substitute for soap.
An inexpensive chemical, I have seen mixed reviews on these, perhaps more information will be forthcoming.
Propylene Glycol (PG) This link is to HEALTHLINE which gives an in depth report on this chemical.
It is a substance that absorbs water.
Also Ethylene Glycol
It is also closely related with a similar ingredient in anti- freeze. It is able to lower the point of freezing water.
This can be used in different products ranging from cosmetics and pharmacology also in food processing.
It is used in food as a preservative, also in diary products, ice-cream and soda( yuk!)
Also used is Urea ( used for also for a moisturiser)- which may release Formaldehyde more information on this link below
Ethanolamine compounds ( also known as DEA, MEA,TEA)
Cocamide DEA – reacting the fatty acids from Coconut oil Diethanolamine Condensate
Found in soaps, conditioner ,shampoo, hair dyes, also in cosmetics , such as mascara, eye shadows and eye liners, blushes, foundations and sunscreens.
They are also found in household products. Used as a buffering agent, and part of the fragrance.
There is a great article on these compounds and health concerns on
Added to make-up, toothpastes and pharmaceuticals also in sunscreens.
Used as a whitener , also used to make food more appealing.
I found much more information on Food in sight.org
eg. Potassium Cetyl Sulphate , Polysorbates, Laureth – 4
Makes a well mixed product. It also stabilises processed foods.
Often used in creams and lotions to enable an oil and water to blend.
An interesting article on NHS .uk And a look into cancers, with food additives.
such as Carnauba Wax, Stearic Acid , Cetyl Alcohol
Increasing the volume , better stability, some can retain the the water on the skin.
NATURALLY DERIVED THICKENERS
Guar Gum, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Gelatin.
Magnesium Aluminium Silicate
Silica and Bentonite
Again used in lotions and creams.
Carbomer ( Acrylic acid polymer)
More information on a multitude of thickening agents Wikipedia
these prevent water loss, found in lotions, makeup , lipsticks. also slowing down the loss of water.
Beeswax, Olive oil, Coconut Oil, Lanolin ( sheep fat)
Glycerine, Zinc Oxide Butyl Stearate, Diglycol Laurate and Almond oil
Petroleum Jelly ( Petrolatum)
a really good article on this product that has been around for 100 years is in Best Health
mineral oil( oily liquid that is a by product of petroleum) also used in medicine as a laxative.
Also used in some industrial areas.
Great article about ZINC OXIDE ( can be used in some mineral sunscreens ) by DR. JETSKE ULTEE
Go for the Non-Nano, it is a safer product.
Butyl Stearate and Diglycol Laurate
COLOURING / PIGMENTS
Mineral ingredients- Iron oxide , Mica flakes, Coal Tar, Manganese Iron Oxide and Chromium Oxide
from plants– Beet Powder
Cochineal Insect ( often found in red lipsticks) listed as Carmine, Cochineal extract or Natural red 4
These can have dozens of hidden chemicals , which do not have to be listed!
What shocked us, was that even something marked as unscented, may contain a masking fragrance to hide the smell of other chemicals!
This article is a clear message from USA TODAY
HOW PACKAGING A PRODUCT MAKES US COMFORTABLE
I find this really sad, that we have to be so careful what we buy.
We are so conditioned by advertisements, and the look of the packaging on the bottle.
I saw an interesting program on British TV, which did an experiment on the look of products, to see the difference it made in sales.
The first example, was of a woman dressed normally, selling products for the skin, with a normal packaging.
They had people come into the store to purchase the products, but not such a great response.
Then, they dressed the same woman in a white coat, changed the bottles into a white, to make a more clinical formatting.
Then the response from people was incredible!
Nothing had changed in the product !
But the white coat gave the impression of someone that you could trust,and the packaging had the same effect.
We are conditioned without realising it!