As the largest organ on our body, our skin deserves some special treatment. It performs vital bodily functions and protects all internal organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Up to 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed, which means everything we put onto our bodies can affect our health and overall well-being. It only makes sense that such an important part of us deserves some serious care and attention. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way. But don’t fret, luvs! We’re here to help guide you with what to look for on beauty & skincare products and what to avoid so you know you’re always practicing safe skin care.
1. Dirty Synthetic Fragrances
When in doubt, always go natural! Synthetic fragrances are made up of hundreds of different ingredients that are not required to be listed on the label, so you never know what exactly you could be exposed to. Typically, these ingredients include tons of chemicals that may cause allergies, hormone disruption, and in some cases, lead to reproductive issues and infertility. The alternative? Stick with safely scented products that use ingredients like essential oil fragrances.
At OLIKA, you can trust that our essential oil scented hand sanitizers are derived from clean and safe ingredients, are chemical-free, and made using essential oils. Plus, you can always check out what is included in our products here.
Parabens are typically added to product products in order to preserve their shelf-life by preventing the growth of microbes. Although the addition of parabens may make our products last longer, they can cause some pretty serious health risks. Parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting our delicate hormonal balance. They’ve also been linked to endocrine disruption, skin and breast cancer, and infertility.
When shopping for skin care products, look for ones labeled as “paraben-free” or read the ingredient list and see if methylparabens, propylparabens, butyl parabens, or ethyl parabens are listed and avoid them. There are many natural cosmetics manufacturers who have found ways to prevent microbial growth without including parabens. You can also find products that are simply preservative-free. These may have a shorter shelf life, but they’re so much safer for your skin.
The FDA allows cosmetic companies to simply list “fragrance” on their ingredient lists without expanding on the specific agents involved. Phthalates are one of the many chemicals involved in creating synthetic fragrances. It’s typically used to help scents linger longer on our skin. In other cases, phthalates are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in cosmetics which allows them to better stick to our skin. Although phthalates are a pretty common ingredient in many US products, the European Union has already banned them after finding evidence that they cause endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.
Keep an eye out for phthalates in color cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body wash, hair care products, and nail polish. It may be listed under a few different names including dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), Di-2- ethylhexyl phthalate, or simply as “fragrance.”
5. Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
Yes, that stuff from high school biology class we used to preserve dead animals. It’s actually used as an ingredient in some U.S. cosmetic products even though it's a known carcinogen and banned throughout Europe. Formaldehyde is commonly found in shampoo, liquid baby soaps, nail polish, hair gel, and color cosmetics. It’s also used in construction industry products like cabinets, walls, and other building materials. Isn’t it odd that construction and beauty could have an ingredient overlap? Yep, we think so too. Not only is formaldehyde directly added to some products, but it can also be released by added preservatives. So, it’s important to know what to look for on your skin care product labels.
Here are some preservatives known to release formaldehyde:
Both formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives have been linked to cancer, skin irritation, immune system toxicity, liver problems, asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Always check the product ingredients carefully before putting anything on that precious skin of yours!
Darlings, when it comes to that gorgeous skin of yours, you need to be diligent. Always, always, always read the product label and keep an eye out for chemicals that you know could have some seriously negative effects. Do your own investigation into products and brands that truly only use natural ingredients, are chemical free, and transparent about testing their products for contaminants.
At OLIKA, we never want to put you or your skin at risk. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to create a clean hand sanitizer that is gentle, non-toxic, and safe. We strictly follow the CDC guidelines for safe alcohol percentages and we’ll always tell you exactly what’s included in the ingredients. We’ll also never use synthetic fragrances because each of our scents are derived from essential oils. We promise to continue to do our best to create a natural hand sanitizer that you know and love.