Top tips for safer products

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Pick safer products: 

Use EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to find safety scores for thousands of products. Print our wallet guide Use fewer products. Buy only after reviewing ingredients.
Remember marketing claims like “dermatologist-tested,” “gentle” and “natural” could be ad hype.

Your body

  Getting clean: 
       No { triclocarban (bar soap) or triclosan (liquid soap) } 
       Yes { hand sanitizers with ethanol/ethyl alcohol }


    No { retinyl palmitate or retinol in daytime skin products }

Your Teeth

      No { triclosan in toothpaste }

Your Lips

     No { retinyl palmitate or retinol }

Your skin + the sun
Very few sunscreens provide adequate sun protection and are free of harmful ingredients.  

     No – SPF above 50, Retinyl palmitate, Aerosol spray and powder sunscreen, Oxybenzone, Insect repellent

    Yes – Hats and shade in mid-day sun. Zinc or Titanium are the best active ingredients, otherwise Avobenzone at 3%, SPF 30 for intense sun – Use a lot and reapply frequently

Your hair

     No – Fragrance PEGs, ceteareths and polyethylene, Parabens (propyl, isopropyl, butyl, isobutyl), DMDM hydantoin

Your nails

     No – Formaldehyde or formalin in polish, hardeners or other nail products. Toluene Dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Pregnant? Skip polish

Your kids

Kids are sensitive. Use few products and pick them carefully.

*  Diaper Cream – No Boric Acid

*  Baby Wipes – No 2Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol)

*  Toothpaste – LIMIT fluoride toothpaste for kids who might swallow it (none for kids under 2)

5 problem products

Some categories of products have major safety concerns. Avoid them, particularly for children.

     Hair straighteners : cancer, allergy, skin and scalp irritation, hair damage and hair loss

     Loose powders: inhalation risk

     Perfumes/fragrances: allergy concerns

     Dark permanent hair dyes: linked to cancer

     Skin lighteners: skin irritation and damage


Common ingredients with safety concerns:

“Fragrance“: This catch-all term can include hundreds of chemicals and trigger allergic reactions. Skip products that use the term “fragrance” in the list of ingredients and instead opt for those that list each fragrance ingredient.

Ingredients can have harmful contaminants: Many common ingredients can contain impurities linked to cancer and other health concerns. Avoid these common ingredients where possible:

     DMDM hydantoin,
     Diazolidinyl urea,
     Imidazolidinyl urea,
     Polyethylene glycol and PEG

For a full list of ingredients with impurities concerns, check EWG’s Skin Deep database.

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