It’s so easy to be blown away by pretty packaging. Believe me, I am a sucker for a lovely bottle, good colour palate and a well thought out font, but this has often to led to times where I may have slipped and bought something with some less than desirable ingredients inside.
It’s hard enough trying to navigate through the shelves of natural/organic/hydrating/anti aging/eczema soothing shouting labels, especially when there is so little regulation governing how these words can be used. That’s why we always encourage you to look for the Soil Association COSMOS logo, who take some of the hard work out of searching for products that don’t contain certain unsavoury ingredients.
However we still think it’s important to what to look for and avoid when choosing a product, just because something has organic written all over it doesn’t mean it’s not hiding a multitude of hidden information, and we’re always a little dubious of any claims that something is 100% organic or natural without any accreditation to back this up. So, what to avoid, and why? We’ve listed it below, and don't worry, we don't use any of these ingredients in our organic body care products!
Ahhh yes, parabens, you may have seen that this is one of ingredients we proudly claim is not in our products or lotions, but you may be wondering just what on earth it is. It’s a word that’s been thrown around for a long time as a must avoid ingredient but here’s why.
Parabens are a preservative, and you can find them in anything from a soap to a lotion. They are known to be endocrine disruptors, which means that they mimi estrogen in the body and can lead to hormonal imbalances (and possibly breast cancer). This studyfound concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours and another study foundthat 99% of cancerous breast tumours contained parabens.
Examples of a paraben as an ingredient are propylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben and isobutylparaben. The long and short is, if an ingredient has the word paraben in, avoid it. We don’t think it’s worth the risk.
Did you know that even “unscented” products can contain a fragrance/parfum? And what’s crazy is that there are no requirements to reveal what is actually in the fragrances which means there can be a whole cocktail of ingredients, irritants, allergens and chemicals that you’ll never know are in there. So when choosing a lotion, choose one that uses real essential oils as it’s fragrance rather than a mixture of who even knows what!
Sodium Lauryl Sufate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES)
Ahhh, this ingredient is quite the sneaky one. Whilst some people may think that it’s simply enough to not stick body wash on their heads because it contains this ingredient, many don’t realise it’s in everything from your laundry detergent to your shampoo to even your toothpaste! It is used as a foaming agent/surfactant and can cause skin rashes/irritation and trigger allergies. Not only this, but “nitrosamines” are a common by-product, of which 90% of these are believed to be carcinogenic.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
This is used in many products from shampoo and sunscreen to lotions and mascara as thickener. PEG’s can cause respiratory problems as it is often contaminated with a known carcinogen, ethylene oxide.
Phthalates are a common ingredient found in plastic to keep it from becoming brittle, and it has also found its way into our cosmetics and body care. Like parabens, phthalates are endocrine disruptors and can cause hormonal and reproductive problems and even birth defects.
Photo by Bee Naturalles on Unsplash