Why should your face get all the special treatment?
We spend so much time being hypervigilant about what goes into our facial cleansers, not to mention creams, serums, and treatments, but we have to remember that the rest of our body is covered in skin, too. Which means it can also be susceptible to sensitivities, irritation, and of course, aging. But most importantly, there’s more surface area from the neck down to absorb toxic ingredients. And that, we definitely don’t want.
Most conventional body washes come in a transparent and colorful or milky, even opalescent liquid, and give us a super satisfying lather, not to mention a strong, lingering fragrance. We hate to break it to ya, but none of those overly stimulating characteristics are coming from nature, and none of them are doing you any good.
“Fragrance” itself on an ingredient label deserves its own encyclopedic written piece, as that single word can entail up to 200 toxic ingredients and not a single one containing what the smell itself imparts. Many studies show that this is one of the major culprits of endocrine disruption, throwing off the natural production of the many hormones (especially in women), which can entail a ripple effect of health concerns. Plus, the ingredients that make up “fragrance” are typically kept stable with the use of phthalates. Both the US Department of Health and Human Services as well as the EPA have labeled phthalates as possible carcinogens.
You probably see a lot of brands boast “paraben-free” on their labels, and we applaud them. While it’s not all about parabens (some of the substitutes for parabens, like Methylisothiazolinone, are just as toxic or irritating), they are not an ideal ingredient, and their purpose is a preservative. Some studies even suggest that parabens can mimic our own hormones once absorbed into the body (just a little reminder that everything you put on your skin absorbs into your body, in case you needed to hear that). This means it’s another endocrine disruptor. A classic hard-pass.
DEA, MEA, and TEA might sound like cute acronyms, but don’t read right past them on a label. They are seriously dangerous. They stand for diethanolamine, momoethnanolamine, and triethanolamine, they are top hormone disruptors. This means while they may not immediately cause a breakout or rash (though they can and often do), they are very easily absorbed into the body through the skin, accumulate in our vital and reproductive organs, and don’t pass through the body quickly via our natural modes of detox. They are also highly reactive to other common cosmetic ingredients, meaning when mixed with another shave gel or post-shower cream, they can turn into a very potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine, also known as NDEA.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, (SLS), is also a common evil in your favorite foaming washes. A lot of green-washed brands will claim “natural” on the label, and still contain this naughty ingredient, which is why it is so important to read up on the clean beauty space, and look at your labels before purchasing! This chemical is used to generate that satisfying lather that makes you feel like it’s working, but it’s all for show. It’s highly irritating, and can cause dryness and dermatitis.
Another evil-doer hiding in your products that are supposed to be purifying you… mineral oil aka petroleum. It’s crude oil, and a by-product of making gasoline.
We feel like that should be enough to deter you, but ok, we’ll go on. It has a shelf life of forever, so yeah, it will literally outlive you. And, it’s incredibly cheap, because it’s essentially garbage. Companies use it in their products because it traps moisture, giving the illusion of soft, supple skin, but it also doesn’t breathe, meaning it traps in dirt, oil, bacteria, dead skin… etc. It’s like applying plastic to your skin. (By the way, plastic is made with petroleum. Surprised?). Keep an eye out for the many names that it goes by, Paraffin, Butylene Glycol, Petrolatum, and Isopropyl Alcohol, and steer clear.
Opt for some of our favorite clean brands, so that you can actually get clean without poisoning yourself. Sorry to be dramatic, it’s just the truth.