Just a reminder that laws regarding cosmetic safety haven’t been updated since the 1930s. Nearly a century ago, many of the compounds used in your products were not in use in cosmetics. If you think anyone is watching out for your safety regarding what you put on your largest organ, you are very very wrong. I cannot stress enough the shift in corporate culture that has given shareholders a ridiculous amount of power over a company, and now, things like product safety get funneled to risk management professionals who spend their time coming up with ways to wiggle out of responsibility for causing you a reaction. To shareholders, the only important factor is how much $$ they will get as a return on their investment. Using safe ingredients is expensive, and reduces shareholders’ dividends, so it won’t get done. This is a multiBILLION dollar industry that is unregulated and driven by profit. To think that any of them care about your health or safety is foolish.

Whenever I post my list of chemicals to avoid, there are always some folks who want to argue that ‘the science’ doesn’t unequivocally support my suggestion to avoid an ingredient. One thing to keep in mind when you invoke ‘the science’ of ingredients that go onto your skin is that ‘the science’ is incredibly expensive to do, and is mostly funded by government funding agencies. Currently, the NIH (National Institutes of Health, the main funding group for biosciences) is funding ~9% of the grant applications it receives. If researching effects of cosmetic ingredients isn’t sexy enough for the NIH, they won’t fund the grant. Since science is so expensive, these studies don’t get done if they aren’t funded. You know who DOES fund cosmetic research? Cosmetic companies, using in-house scientists and sometimes contract labor at universities. This is a dirty secret in science: when companies fund research, they want certain results. If a scientist doesn’t obtain those desired results, they don’t get any more research $$. Because science is expensive, and academic science requires you to have grant money to keep your job, amazingly, the desired results just ‘happen.’ This results in ‘the science’ being diluted by greed. Because I am aware of this, when I look up journal articles on ingredients, I immediately discard any that have been funded by cosmetic companies. I try to find as much unbiased information as possible in order to determine whether there is legitimate reason for concern regarding an ingredient. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine with certainty whether or not a given compound has human health concerns. In those instances, I tend to err on the side of caution, and ask you to avoid it until I can find better info. Think about it-would you rather avoid parabens until it has been definitively shown that they do not cause breast cancer, or go ahead and use them and take the risk that they do cause breast cancer and the giant corporations trying to maximize shareholders’ returns are trying to obfuscate the issue to make more $$?

Here is my ‘Dirty 13’ card that I send out with every order. These are the 13 ingredients for which I have found enough of ‘the science’ to warrant me telling you to avoid them. Knowledge is power. I am not telling you to throw away your whole bathroom. I am putting information in your hands so that you can make good decisions about your product purchases. Keep in mind that you may not be able to eliminate all of these (I have to use an SLS-based dish soap on lab dishes because nothing else gets the oils and butters off the equipment), and that if you eliminate as many as you can, you are still doing your skin a huge favor. Let’s be safe out there! #themoreyouknow

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