More and more women are learning that their cosmetics and skincare products may be full of hormone-disrupting, skin-irritating, health-ruining chemicals, many of which have been been linked to cancers and many other diseases. From formaldehyde and phthalates to BHA, BHT, parabens and other conservatives, cosmetic ingredients can be anything but pretty.
What this means is that some very harsh chemicals enter your cosmetics and skincare products. An average of 60% of these chemicals when applied to the skin or hair go directly into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system–essentially, you may as well be eating any cosmetic product you’re using. This why we recommend products that are produced using ingredients that are good enough to eat! Buying organic, locally made cosmetic and hygiene products allows you to ask questions directly to the producers, protecting you and your family from any dangerous ingredients.
It is even more worrisome when you consider that the cosmetics industry is highly unregulated, especially when compared to other industries like the food and drug sector, which are both also dubiously safe given the politics behind the approval of new products. Yes, that’s right- the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act doesn’t require the FDA to approve every ingredient that a cosmetic company uses. This matters for consumers in Kenya and across Africa as we also cannot depend on our own regulatory bodies such as KEBS (Kenya Bureau of Standards) to rigorously filter through the masses of imported products that may be harmful to our health.
Many people try to avoid harmful chemicals by buying grooming products labelled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, assuming these goods contain plant extracts from nature and/or biological ingredients that have not been touched by synthetic chemicals (to read our blog on the real difference between ‘Natural and Organic” click HERE). But in America at least, it’s possible to use both the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ on a label without all the ingredients even being so. However, one important exception to this rule includes products bearing the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) and National Organic Program (NOP) Organic Certification label. These products are required to contain 70-94% organic ingredients, but can also contain chemicals too, and will only say: “Made with organic ingredients” (up to three ingredients) on the label. If a product is 100% organic, it can bear the higher grade Certified USDA Organic seal.
Our Top Tips:
- Read the ingredients at the back of ALL products you buy.
- Research any ingredients that you don’t know about. Visit safecosmetics.org or other websites for more information.
- Throw out products with any ingredients you have researched and found to be unsafe.
- Find local alternatives for products such as soaps, shower gels, shampoos, lotions and creams, make-up, deodorants, toothpastes, and sanitary products.
- Ask how they are made and use your due diligence to ensure they are safe for your use.
Your overall wellbeing goes far beyond eating healthy, organic foods and exercising- it is important to look into your daily beauty and hygiene regimen and clean out any dirty products you are using. This includes what you clean your home with, cooking oils and utensils and even the electronic devices (microwaves, phones, laptops) you use. It is your responsibility to ensure that you and your family are using products that are non-toxic and not disease causing- most business producing these chemical-filled cosmetics and hygiene products or regulatory bodies will not do this on your behalf.