So What Are Parabens, Sulfates, DEA, and Phthalates?
In the pursuit of beauty it seems there is little we won’t try. Intoxicating skin care product headlines like, Super Charged Age-Fighting Serum, Look Up To 10 Years Younger In 2 Weeks, or Miracle Skin Cream Reverses Signs Of Aging, can be hard to resist.
Understanding the long-term effects on our health from chemicals used in many products extend well beyond the handful we hear about in the media. To learn more about how cosmetics are governed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) see FDA Authority Over Cosmetics and for regulations on specific ingredients check out the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
Recently after trying some new hair care products I wanted to know if they contained toxins. GoodGuide, a product review site based on scientific ratings, provides safe, healthy, green, & ethical reviews. The site has over 75,000 product reviews in a range of four categories: personal care, food, household, and babies & kids.
The rating system is a numerical scale from zero to 10, the higher the number, the better the rating. What I like most about GoodGuide‘s reviews are the combined product and company-level data to characterize a product’s health, environmental and social impacts. A rating of 8 or above represent the best products and those with a rating of 4 or below are the worst. Even better is a simplified summary score so consumers can, at a glance, know where a specific product stands.
Options are great especially when the concerns are health related. While we might be hard pressed to find totally synthetic free products, being able to check them for safety allows us to take back a little control to limit our exposure to harmful chemicals.
Following are helpful terms, definitions, and other sources on product safety.
- Sulfates – are aggressive detergents made of sulfur-containing mineral salts.
- Phthalates – are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break
- Parabens – Parabens are a class of widely used preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) “the FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics. However, consumers wishing to avoid cosmetics containing DEA or DEA-related ingredients may do so by reviewing the ingredient statement that is required to appear on the outer container label of cosmetics offered for retail sale to consumers.”
You know the saying “knowledge is power?” I hope you’ve gained some useful information to keep yourself and your families a little safer.
Have a great weekend! ~Abby
- Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
- 20 toxic ingredients to avoid when buying body care products and cosmetics
- ‘Dirty Dozen’ cosmetic chemicals to avoid