Big Beauty - A Dubious Industry
The beauty industry is a wealthy and powerful force which rakes in $160 billion a year globally. Due to its wealth and power the industry is able to mass produce and put to market products that are both ineffective and unsafe. The legitimacy of product claims is difficult to discern due to both the secretive practices of large beauty brands and the inaccessibility and complexity of cosmetic science - something big beauty would most likely seek to maintain.
Top 3 Reasons To Be Critical Of 'Big Beauty'
- Based in dubious science: Scientific language is harnessed strategically by the beauty industry and phrases such as “clinically proven” or “dermatologist approved” could refer to almost anything due to the prevalence of biased and questionable studies.
- It’s highly unregulated: The FDA doesn't review cosmetics before they go on the market and it is incredibly difficult for them to recall products.
- Secretive industry disempowers consumers: There are industry trade secrets, (such as secret perfume formulas) which prevent us from knowing the constitution of products and making fully informed decisions.
Toxins In Skin Care Products
Around one in eight of 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals. That’s 10,250 industrial chemicals in products on the market which include carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Studies have found these chemicals are common pollutants in the bodies of men, women and children.
While it is argued these toxic chemicals pose little threat in low concentrations, cosmetics ingredients and their chemicals can be absorbed in many ways. Daily we come in to contact with many cosmetic ingredients whether or not we are directly applying them to our bodies through breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands or absorbing them through the skin.
While certainly not an exhaustive list, here are some common nasties to avoid:
These are a group of chemicals used in many products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays and moisturizers. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl-parabens)
Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives used widely in cosmetics. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans bodies and may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.
Commonly found in sunscreen as an ultraviolet light absorber, this substance is also found in the bodies of nearly all Americans, and has been linked to cancer, irritation, sensitization and allergies.
Formaldehyde is a carcinogen linked to leukemia, pancreatic and skin cancer, skin irritation, and cirrhosis. It is found in nail polish, eyelash glue, and hair smoothing and straightening products. Formaldehyde might not always be listed on a label but can be released from other preservatives including:
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
Essentials For Skin
The most effective way to care for your skin is from the inside out. The organs responsible for skin health include your liver, kidneys, adrenals, thyroid, and your large and small intestines. Caring for these organs through diet and exercise (and sufficient H20) will not only make you feel healthy and happy but make your skin glow. You can care for your whole body and your skin with a few key skin essentials.
Omega-3 fats help to keep skin cells strong and full of moisture, which can help to decrease the appearance of fine lines. Omega-3 has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help to calm irritated skin, giving you a clear, smooth complexion. These fatty acids also prevent degradation of collagen, a protein which gives our skin strength and elasticity. Omega-rich sources include fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant-based fats, and herbs and spices.
Zinc is present in all body tissue and helps healthy cell division, fights free radical damage and slows the aging process. Zinc can be found in spinach, yoghurt, cashews, pumpkin seeds and mushrooms.
Vitamin C is one of the body’s best friends, strengthening the body’s connective tissue as well as acting as an antioxidant. Get your fix from guava, red pepper, kiwi, oranges, strawberry and papaya.
Plant-Based Beauty Boosters
To support the work of a balanced diet in creating glowing, healthy skin, there are some great products to check out that won’t jeopardize your health or the planet. Your approach to what you put on the outside should be the same as what you put inside. Select products that are nourishing, natural and support your skin’s own rejuvenation. Here are a range of quality plant based products that are synergistic with the natural processes of the skin:
These products are earth, mind and body conscious, organic and 100% chemical free. Following their process of "Honest, Wild, Beautiful", Annmarie Skincare handcraft nourishing skin care using organic and wildcrafted ingredients that promises beautiful, glowing skin. Annmarie Skincare also promises their products are cruelty-free, non-GMO, Made Safe™ Certified, support community development and will always be truthfully labelled.
(Price range: $10 - $332.95)
The Beauty Chef belief beauty “begins in the belly” and have developed a range of inner and outer beauty products. They work with leading microbiologists, nutritionists and naturopaths to create effective bio-fermented, wholefood nutrition with prebiotics and probiotics for healthy, glowing skin.
(Price range: $10 - $150)
With meticulous research and attention to quality, Mukti products contain a unique blend of bioactive, native Australian extracts that address numerous skin types and conditions. Their product range utilises carefully selected antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
(Price range: $10 - $200)
AveSeena brings together 100% naturally-derived ingredients to reverse the aging free radical damage. Their products include nutrients and antioxidants from plants in their purest and most stable form to enable the skin to function at its best and glow.
The Ordinary strives to create honest products with integrity at a fair price point. All of their products have absolutely every ingredient listed on their label and are free of
parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury and oxybenzone. Much of their range is biobased and ECOCERT approved.