If Looks Could Kill: Cosmetics & Breast Health
The virtually unregulated beauty industry puts potential carcinogens in their products. Then they shower us with pink ribbons.
Chemicals linked to cancer have no place in anyoneâ€™s beauty routine, yet cancer-causing chemicals are present in many different types and brands of cosmetics and personal care products found on store shelves across the United States. Due to an outdated and weak law governing cosmetics, carcinogens have not been banned â€“ nor are even restricted â€“ for use in cosmetics in the U.S.
The Breast Cancer Fund is a San Francisco-based advocacy group that for the last ten years has been focusing on cancer-causing agents in personal care products. Through a coalition of health and environmental groups called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (of which the Breast Cancer Fund is the principal sponsor), the organization has been drawing attention to the fact that known carcinogensâ€”substances like formaldehydeâ€”are used as preservatives in everything from suntan oil to makeup.
The â€œCosmetics Without Cancerâ€ Campaign attempts to secure agreements from major cosmetics makers to take immediate action to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from products.
Companies and product brands targeted in action alerts by the campaign include:
- Unilever - Axe, Suave, Caress, Dove and Clear products
- Lâ€™Oreal - Garnier Fructis anti-aging products
- Procter & Gamble - Revlon, Cover Girl, Max Factor, Pantene, Olay, Herbal Essences, and Miss Jessieâ€™s hair products
National Breast Health Advocate and Pioneer in Breast Massage Cheryl Chapman, RN notes most women spend more of their attention on their hair, nails and face, which are essentially â€œdead", and donâ€™t nearly spend enough time giving the right attention to their breastsâ€¦yet breasts are ALIVE. Much of what we put on our hair, nails and face just so happens to be laced with toxic chemicals which, coincidentally, are linked to cancer.
Have you seen The Story of Cosmetics animation short on our website?
TOP 5 SAFE COSMETIC TIPS
Choose products with simpler ingredient lists and fewer synthetic chemicals. Avoid synthetic fragrance--a big marker for known endocrine disruptors--by skipping products with â€œfragranceâ€ on the label, and use fewer products overall.
Some personal care products are easy to make yourself, using simple, organic ingredients. The Sustainable Living Guide for Southern Illinois has a host of DIY healthy recipes for beauty and baby, and a guide to healthy salons and products.
3. Research Products Yourself
Since the beauty industry is largely unregulated, itâ€™s up to you to do your own research to find the safest products. There are no legal standards for personal care products labeled as â€œpure,â€ â€œnaturalâ€ or â€œorganic,â€ so look beyond the marketing claims and read labels carefully.
4. Use apps like Think Dirty
To find out whether your go-to products are safe or not, try the Think Dirty! Shop Clean app. This easy-to-use resource ranks the safety of specific products on a scale of 1-10 and offers up cleaner solutions.
5. Get Involved
While itâ€™s possible â€“ and becoming easier â€“ to reduce toxic exposures in your home by buying safer products, itâ€™s not possible to shop our way out of this problem. Even if theyâ€™re not in your home, toxic chemicals from personal care products can still end up in our air and especially our drinking water, and in the homes of people who donâ€™t have access to safe products.
The solution: help us change the rules of the game! It shouldnâ€™t be legal to sell cosmetics that contain dangerous ingredients. Weâ€™re working to pass new laws that protect our health and give consumers better information to make smart choices.
Stay informed, speak up and spread the wordâ€”all in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Take Action section.
Groovy Booby promotes and supports local leaders in the natural beauty field:
Cinda's Botanical Blends by Cinda Phelps in Marion, Illinois. Organic, hand-made make-up and skin care products and services, using therapeutic botanicals that nourish. (618) 997-4099
Envi Botanicals, Salon & Spa by Angela Batson in Carbondale, Illinois. A range of services for hair, nails, skin & body using local and organic ingredients in her custom-blended products. Located within In Sync Body Mind Therapy Center. (618) 457-7732
Plush UNLTD by Tiffany Walker in Carbondale, Illinois. She uses Artistry brand skin care products, renowned for their breakthrough technology in the field of natural, chemical free, and organic material in their products. Remember those glamor shots you used to get at the mall? You can get those through Plush UNLTD with better products (and they're starting to work with Cinda's, to boot!) (618) 319-3241
(Please join me for Plush UNLTD's Spring Into Beauty 2K16 workshop Saturday, March 19th, 2016 from 3-6pm at the Dayemi Community Center. The class includes beauty tips and techniques, hygiene doâ€™s and donâ€™tâ€™s, lashes and brows and more. There will be an open photo shoot, sweets and the opportunity for socializing. Tickets available online here.)
Last but not least, we have Salon Euphoria by Rachel Bonner in Carbondale, Illinois. She carries full line of Aveda products (97-100% organic) and offers 96% organic color or highlights.
Remember--none of us has to be "perfect" or "know all the answers" to take personal and social responsibility for the health of ourselves, our family, our community and our planet. All efforts, large and small, are worth celebrating. Let's just keep going in the right direction!
This is true beauty.