As you may recall, I left my job shooting things with lasers in the name of science to create safe, effective skincare & cosmetics, because I was concerned about the lack of FDA regulation on the personal care market in the US. There is no requirement for safety testing of either the final product or the ingredients (remember that, it’s gonna come up later). As a result, many of the products on the shelves of your favorite stores may contain known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and liver and neurotoxins.

Before you say ‘Oh shit! Not ANOTHER thing I have to watch out for,’ let me point you towards the card in the photo. See, it wasn’t enough for me to just make safe products. I didn’t want to be the Skincare Oracle, I wanted you to be able to make good decisions about your personal care purchases even if you weren’t buying my products. So I created this list of the 13 ingredients with safety concerns I feel are enough that you should avoid products containing them. I encourage everyone to consult this list when purchasing products that go on your skin and make certain the ingredients on the card are not in your product. This way, you don’t have to go get a chemistry degree to buy something safe! I send these cards out with every order, and you’re welcome to save the photo to your phone. I’ll even mail you a card if you want!

Let’s talk about these Bad Boy Ingredients, shall we? The three worst (i.e. Regina, Gretchen, and Karen) are talc, parabens, and SLS. These three need to be avoided all the time, no excuses. Talc has been linked to ovarian and lung cancer from asbestos contamination; parabens have been linked to breast cancer; and SLS is frequently contaminated with carcinogens. If anyone tells you that ‘their talc is pure,’ they are full of shit. Same with SLS. Remember when I said there was no requirement for safety testing of ingredients? No company is gonna do expensive testing and then even more expensive purification processes if they don’t have to. So you can keep using your Coty powder, boo, but quit lying to yourself about how it’s ‘pure,’ mmmmk?

Leaving the Mean Girls behind, we get to diazolidinyl urea, which releases formaldehyde as it breaks down. Cocamide/Lauramide DEA are foaming agents in cleansers that are toxic to the immune system, and, when they encounter nitrosating agents, create nitrosamines, which are human carcinogens (cancer causing). Ethyl acetate is a solvent in cosmetics like nail polish and mascara. It is also a neurotoxin and possible carcinogen. Pthalates are present in perfumes, and are a reproductive and immune system toxicant as well as endocrine disruptors. Triethanolamine is a pH adjuster in formulas, and is an immune system toxicant that may trigger asthma, as well as being able to also generate carcinogenic nitrosamines if it comes in contact with nitrosating agents. Propylene glycol is a solubilizer, and is what we call a ‘penetration enhancer’ (hehe) which means it alters skin structure, allowing greater access to deeper skin layers. This is a good thing unless the product is full of dangerous shit. PG also contributes to skin dryness with long term use, as it pulls moisture from deeper skin layers to plump the top ones. Petrolatum (vaseline, etc) is dangerous for this reason as well, but also because of impurities from the crude oil purification process. Butyl acetate is a solvent in nail polishes that can cause skin dryness and cracking, and the vapors can be dangerous. Butylated hydroxytoluene is an antioxidant added to prevent color oxidation in products, and it is an endocrine disruptor and immune system toxicant, as well as a probable carcinogen. And finally, toluene is in nail polish and hair dye, and is a liver toxin, as well as a potential carcinogen.

One thing to remember-these ingredients can be in any or all of your personal care products. So, while companies and even dermatologists claim the exposure is so small as to be minimal, they are not taking into account how many different products we use in a day, nor are they considering that the exposure has been constant since birth. I am worried that the industry will convince you that people like me are just using ‘fear-based marketing’ to get you to buy their expensive products, and you’ll continue to poison yourselves transdermally. That’s why I made this card, so maybe if I took my own products out of the loop and just gave you the information, it would help you make good choices. So please, do your best to eliminate these ingredients from your personal care routine, so you can stay healthy and gorgeous! #themoreyouknow

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