With so much information out there on what NOT to put on our skin, there should be some simple rules when it comes to shopping for skin care, right? Well we went to our favorite skin care consultant for the answer.
What should we put on our skin? There’s a lot of talk about what to avoid when you’re buying skin care, but I actually prefer to look for what’s IN the products I’m buying. Still, when we know that the FDA only comes after skin care companies if there is a complaint, which means that more or less, any ingredient is OK, it definitely makes a “what to avoid” list desirable. While they are cracking down on certain claims, like anti-aging, no testing is required before putting a product on the market. That means it’s really up to you to. At least for now.
Generally, here’s how I shop:
– I start my search at natural skin care boutiques and natural foods markets, because many of them have policies about what they will carry. That usually eliminates some undesirable ingredients right there. Third party certifications like Ecocert and USDA Organic can also tell you more about what isn’t in a product, and these stores are most likely to carry certified products.
– If it contains artificial fragrance, or I can’t tell, I don’t buy it. I don’t wear them on my body, either. That’s a personal preference, but the research is out there, too.
– I buy from companies I trust. Does the brand seem authentic to you? Do you think they stand behind what they say? Or do their “natural” or other claims, such as fair trade, seem hollow? That may be all we have to go on for the time being.
– In general, I avoid or minimize my exposure to silicones (dimethicone is a common one). I think they’re less healthy for the body and the planet.
Below is a simple list of products to avoid, mostly derived from a wallet card for Pure Aesthetics, a green aesthetics school in Tucson, Arizona. You can get stricter than this, for sure (and most of the certifications do) but to clean up your products, this is a really good start.
Synthetic fragrances and colors
Sulfate surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate
Cocamidopropyl betaine and Coco betaine
Silicones – dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, etc.
PEG (polyethylene glycol), PPG (propylene glycol), butylene glycol
DEA, TEA, MEA
Isopropyl myristate and Isopropyl palmitate
BIO: The Skin Detective is a licensed esthetician who is now a skincare industry insider. Check our her blog at www.theskindetective.com.
EWG has a wallet card to help you shop:
I’m also a fan of the GoodGuide app. Just snap a pic of the product UPC for info:
skin care ingredients
green skin care