Your busy day probably doesn’t include reading up on potential ingredients of concern in your shampoo. We get it. What if you could rely on one independent database to identify the best body care products for yourself and your family? Introducing EWG’s Skin Deep® cosmetic ingredients database. With a new year often come resolutions to identify and remove unhealthy habits or products from our everyday lives. One place you may overlook is your bathroom cabinet. Many of us have years worth of unknown, unused cosmetics and body care products living in our cupboards and cabinets. Do you know which products are natural? It’s one thing to become aware of how the creams, cosmetics and soaps we use every cay can impact your health. It’s another thing entirely to begin the slow process of eliminating potentially harmful products from your bathroom cabinet. Where to start? Is there a resource you can trust to identify products that contain ingredients of concern? And how do you find truly good cosmetics and natural beauty brands?
Why is it so difficult to find information you can trust?There’s a lot of conflicting information out there. Before you begin cleaning out your bathroom cabinet, it’s critical to find a reliable source of information that lists natural cosmetics brands. There’s a lot of greenwashing out there: many products claim to be good or natural, when they’re no better than any of the others. What’s more, US regulations require manufacturers to list ingredients, but not contaminants, on their product labels. Many products contain ingredients of concern — residues, impurities and substances generated during the manufacturing process. Because they are not deliberately added during manufacturing, they do not have to be listed as ingredients on the label*. Where do you go to find clear, unbiased information about the hidden and not-so-hidden ingredients in our everyday cosmetics and body care products? Lists and databases exist online. Which one can you trust? Finding a reliable cosmetic toxicity database means seeking out independent research that is not tied to a manufacturer or industry organization. You want research that goes deep, uncovering those ingredients of concern hiding behind the ingredients on every label.
The EWG: helping consumers to live healthier livesThere is an organization you can trust to carry out cosmetic ingredient analysis and inform you about what’s really in your cosmetic and body care products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the human health from toxic chemicals in personal care products. Driven by their mandate to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment, the EWG lobbies the US government to reform policies around ingredients of concern in consumer products. And they seek out and publish information on what’s really in the cosmetics and body care products you use every day. All information is readily available on the Environmental Working Group website, and accessible via easy-to-use mobile apps.
Know what’s natural with the EWG’s Skin Deep databaseThe EWG’s Skin Deep database was created to help consumers choose healthy skin care products. Relying on EWG research, the Skin Deep database enables you to search more than 70,000 commercially available products online to know how they rate in respected toxicity and regulatory databases.
How does the Skin Deep database get its information?To build its Skin Deep database, the EWG has gathered detailed information from retailers, manufacturers, product packaging, as well as toxicity, regulatory and research databases. All data is standardized and searchable. This enables consumers to enter a product or brand name and learn exactly what’s in a product, and which of these ingredients are of concern. You can explore the Skin Deep database here. When you search on a product, the database brings up its EWG beauty product health rating, which ranks a product’s hazard level from one to ten. It also lists the risks ingredients of concern pose to consumers, and outlines which individual ingredients are considered hazardous to human health. The EWG has also created an app for cosmetic ingredients, powered by its Skin Deep and Food Scores databases. The EWG’s Healthy Living App enables consumers to easily scan any product to find out whether it contains ingredients of concern. While shopping, you can simply scan or search for a specific product to review its safety rating. The app sorts cosmetics based on their potential carcinogenic, allergic or developmental risks to human health, making it easier for anyone to shop worry-free.
Which cosmetic and body care products should you pay the most attention to?Through the EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, you now have the information you need to begin sorting through your bathroom cabinet, product by product. Consider starting with the products identified by the EWG to contain more ingredients of concern:
- Shampoos and conditioners: Often contaminated with cancer-causing contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane and pollutants (dimethicone...) or allergens (Polyquaternium-7, Zinc…) that can cause irritation to the scalp and weaken hair
- Shower gels: Often contaminated with cancer-causing contaminants (ingredients ending with “PEG”, “-eth” and contain allergens and skin irritants (methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone…) or non-biodegradable substances (copolymer, polyethylene…)
- Body creams: Often contaminated with cancer-causing contaminants and may contain allergens or endocrine disruptors
- Hand soaps: Often contaminated with cancer-causing contaminants and may contain allergens and skin irritants