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Jonathan Hunsaker: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Empowering You Organically. I’m your host, Jonathan Hunsaker, joined by my cohost, TeriAnn Trevenen.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Hey, everyone.
Jonathan Hunsaker: This is a very special podcast, because we’re talking about something that I don’t think gets discussed enough, and we’re talking about the toxins that are in everyday skincare. So, this is something that I don’t know as much about. I don’t use a whole lot of skincare products. So, I’m going to rely on you to really drive this show and tell us—I think we’re going to cover the top 12 toxins that are in skincare today, correct?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yes, we are going to talk about some of the ingredients that you can find in skincare that are not beneficial to your health. We talk a lot about supplements and food and what you should be looking for, what you should avoid, calling people out in the industry, not anyone in particular, but we just talk about what you should be looking for in the industry, because there’s a lot of people out there who are selling products at a high price point who are manufacturing them for a low price point, who are giving you really crappy products. We’re just going to call it like it is.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Can we start calling these people out? I mean….
TeriAnn Trevenen: And so, when it comes to skincare, this is not something we’ve talked about a lot, but we wanted to tackle this topic because we talk a lot about here at Organixx, Empowering You Organically, it’s the title of our podcast, it’s what we’re all about. And we want to talk about topics that impact your health overall as we’ve been doing for so many weeks now.
One of those is skincare. Skin is the biggest organ on your body. Why would you not be concerned about what you’re putting on it? Skin absorbs everything that we put on it and beyond. So, we want to educate you on some things to be aware of when it comes to skincare. Not to mention, skincare is one of the most biggest industries in the world, making some of the highest revenue in the world.
You are undoubtedly spending money on products going on your skin. They’re in your house. We buy products all the time. Lotions, cosmetics, ointments. There are shampoos, conditioners. So many things that you’re using in your daily life that you don’t realize or think about are touching your skin, they are soaking into your skin, they are going into your body, to your bloodstream. Your body is processing those just like they would process food. If you’ve been following along with us, you’ve heard us talk about many times now, food and supplements and the impact they have on your body and why quality matters. The same thing goes with your skin.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Yeah, and I just want to jump in here, because it’s very interesting. I mean we are so focused on eating organic and non-GMO and living a healthy lifestyle. But the beauty industry is so strong, and everybody wants to look great, that we will put whatever on our bodies to try to look younger, whether that’s lotions, to makeups, to serums, to all kinds of stuff.
And so, I think that this is a very timely conversation, because I know there’s a lot of our listeners that eat the organic, they’re non-GMO, they’re working out, they’re doing all of these things, and what they’re not realizing is all of these toxins that are making it in through their skincare products. And yes, organic does matter for skincare, non-GMO matters, and the ingredients matter.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Real ingredients.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Real ingredients.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Real ingredients. Just like you could have processed foods and fake foods, you can have fake skincare, if you will. In March of 2019, the Environmental Working Group, the EWG, reported that US regulation of chemicals and contaminants in cosmetics is falling behind the rest of the world. More than 40 nations, ranging from major industrialized economies like the United Kingdom and Germany, to developing states like Cambodia and Vietnam, have enacted regulations specifically targeting the safety and ingredients of cosmetics and personal care products.
Some of these nations have restricted or completely banned more than 1,400 chemicals from cosmetic products. By contrast, the US Food and Drug Administration has banned or restricted only 9 chemicals for safety reasons. This is one of the most under-regulated industries but one of the most lucrative industries in the United States.
What you’re putting on your skin matters and there is a good chance that what you’re putting on your skin is more toxic than the food you’re putting in your body. This is why we’re tackling this topic today. It is incredibly important that you’re aware of the labels on your skincare products and things that you should be looking for.
[0:05:04] We talked in previous episodes with one of our good friends Jeffrey Smith about consumers having a great deal of power when it comes to food. If you have looked at the organic movement lately when it comes to food, it is a powerful movement. Just a few short years ago, you could not find organic, USDA-certified organic, non-GMO foods easily in your standard everyday grocery stores.
That has changed. We have hit the tipping point in organic food. It matters. We need to see this same trend and change in our cosmetic products, the products we’re putting on our skin every single day. There are other areas we could talk about this as well. Household products, cleaning products and things like that.
We need to be aware of what’s on the labels and what is in our products. More specifically today, on skincare. So, as I mentioned, skin is our largest organ. What we’re putting on it matters. It actually absorbs into our body and those toxins can impact our health just like food. So, why do regulations matter?
I want to talk about the EWG for a minute. So, the EWG, you can go to their website, we’ll link it in our show notes, and you can actually find a list of ingredients that you should avoid and a list of ingredients that are safe when it comes to your skincare and cosmetic products. They are one of the biggest advocates right now for clean ingredients in your products, one of the only places that are heavily regulating skincare products.
One of the things I want to mention is if your skincare product is backed by the EWG, it means they’ve done their homework, they’ve taken the time to look at clean ingredients, and they are sourcing and using those clean ingredients in their manufacturing. The EWG has a scale that rates products from 1 to 5 as far as cleanliness.
You want those to be on the cleaner side. And they, again, will list all of the ingredients to watch out for and all the ingredients that are safe. So, if you’re wondering right now, listening to this podcast, “I don’t know if my skincare products are safe. I don’t know if my cosmetic products are safe.” Go to the EWG website and they can tell you, through the information that they’ve put out, whether your products are safe or not. You can look up all of the ingredients on your labels and find out what that ingredient is, why it’s in the product, and whether or not it’s safe for your skin.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, do you know—so which one is cleaner? Is it the 1 that’s cleaner or the 5?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yes.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, the 1 is cleaner, 5 is more toxic?
TeriAnn Trevenen: 1 is cleaner, yes. Zero. So, the actually have down to 0. So, the cleanest is down 0, and then toxic is up to 5. So, you want to stay on that. I looked at a lot of these ingredients, I’ve had these conversations with friends. I like to stay on the 0-2 side, but the further up you go, the less clean it is.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And I don’t think a lot of people realize, I mean one thing that’s interesting, it is 1,400 chemicals that are banned in these other countries and only 9 here. And listen, I’m not one for over-regulating. I’m more of a free market kind of guy. But it’s like the GMO conversation, right? I want to know if there’s genetically modified ingredients in this food that I’m eating, or franken-food, whatever you want to call it. I want to know if there’s GMOs in there.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Franken-food?
Jonathan Hunsaker: Yeah.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Franken-skin!
Jonathan Hunsaker: Franken-skin, right?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Isn’t that awful to think about?
Jonathan Hunsaker: Let’s hope it doesn’t turn you green. But—
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah, that would be a good thing to avoid.
Jonathan Hunsaker: This is the same thing, right? I mean I think that there’s so many things on your label that you don’t understand. There are these different chemicals, and you might just read it, “I don’t know what this is,” and who’s going to go through and research all of it? So, understand, using the EWG rating system is just a way for you to really know if you’re getting a clean product or not, and really understand that here in the states, it’s the Wild, Wild West. And unfortunately, it’s like that with supplements, too. It’s why we built a supplement company. We first went down the rabbit hole looking for the good supplement companies that we could recommend to people, only to find out, there’s really not that many.
TeriAnn Trevenen: That we needed to be the best ones on the market, which is what we’ve done. And so yeah, I agree. I want to make a point that this is not an easy switch to make. Obviously, you’re spending a lot of money on products that go on your skin. I’m a walking example of someone who was using all toxic products and now I’m moving more and more, and I’m still not perfect, to cleaner products, realizing that there are more skincare and cosmetic and overall skin products out there, hair products, than ever before, that are clean and safe for you to use.
And I want you to just visualize something before we get into the list of the top 12 ingredients to avoid. Think about how supplements and food can heal and treat your body to—your gut, your health issues. You can literally turn them around by how these things treat your body, by how they interact with your body, by those clean ingredients, those clean, organic foods you put into your body.
[0:10:07} Think about putting a toxic product on your skin and what that does to your skin. And relate that to putting toxic food, would you swallow a chemical or a poison in your body? Okay, what’s in your skincare is being soaked and absorbed into your skin, and they are toxic chemicals. Think about if you put something like a vitamin and a clean ingredient from a product you’re using on your skin, and your skin absorbs that.
Not only is your skin getting the benefit, but your body’s getting the benefit. So, just think about those things for a minute. I think it’s a really important thing to know. Compare that mentally, food to skincare. There’s really not a big difference. And there’s a chance that you are putting way more toxins and chemicals in your body through skincare than you are even through your food.
So, having said that, small baby steps. Change one thing at a time. Throw away that nasty hairspray. My friend Joni loves to tease me for my hairspray and switching to organic. Throw away that toxic shampoo and replace it with something else. Then the next time you go to the grocery store, look for a clean toothpaste.
Throw away that toothpaste, replace it with a clean toothpaste. The next time you’re looking for a foundation, women, to put on your skin, throw away that toxic foundation and find a clean one. There are tons of good companies out there who are doing it right. Small baby steps, just like food, like we’ve talked about in the past.
So, here we go. Top 12 ingredients to avoid and why.
The first one is phthalates. Phthalates are typically found in nail polish and other nail products, perfume, makeup remover, hairspray, and deodorant. Phthalates are sneaky endocrine disruptors, which means they mimic the body’s hormones, therefore throwing the entire endocrine system off balance.
They cause both hormonal and neurological damage, and in the case of pregnant women, they also cause major birth defects. The worst part? You will rarely find the word phthalates on a label. Some products do market themselves as phthalate-free, but what about the other slew of synthetics on our department store’s beauty shelves? You can identify phthalates by their abbreviated chemical components, DDP, DEP, DMP, DEHP, and BZBP. All of this will be in show notes, you can check it out there, you can also find it on the EWG website.
The second ingredient to avoid is sulfates, or sodium laurate, laurel sulfate, or SLS is also something it can be labeled as. Primarily used as a foaming agent or detergent to be found in shampoos, facial cleansers, mouthwash, toothpaste, bubble bath products, household and utensil cleaning detergents. Depending on the manufacturing process, sodium laurate sulfate may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1:4 dioxane.
Both contaminants may cause cancer. Also, ethylene oxide may harm the nervous system and interfere with human development, and 1:4 dioxane is persistent. In other words, it doesn’t easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the shower drain. Gross. It’s so bad, so, so bad. SLS has been shown to cause or contribute to skin irritation, canker sores, disruptions of skin’s natural oil balance, and eye damage. It is also widely believed to be a major contributor to acne around the mouth and chin.
So powerful when you think about all of these toxins and chemicals and you’re putting them in your body, and also think about the environmental impact as you’re washing them down the drain.
Jonathan Hunsaker: What’s interesting as you go through this, and I looked at the show notes prior to doing the show, is the synthetics that are in so many things and how consistent that is with a lot of multivitamins that are out there and other supplements that are out there, that the synthetics are just your body can’t use them, they can’t absorb them nearly as well, and they cause more damage than they do good.
And so, as we’re talking about these synthetics that you’re putting on your skin, it’s the same thing. Your body doesn’t know how to process it. It can’t break it down. Maybe it makes you look a little prettier for a day, but over the long run, it’s going to cause more damage to your body overall. And damage that we probably don’t even know yet, right?
Because I mean women use skincare products a lot more than men do and use it on a daily basis. And some of these things, we’re not going to see the effects of because it just came out 20 years ago, 10 years ago. But what happens when you use it for 30 years, for 40 years? What other organs is it damaging in our body and we’re not even connecting the dots that it’s coming from something that you put on your face?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Sure, absolutely. Can I just mention, too, that if you can’t read the things on your ingredients, shouldn’t that concern you? Like just prepping to read all of these, I’m like I’ve read through these before, I have good friends who’ve educated me, sent me articles. You read through them and you’re like, most people are like “Para…” I know it’s parabens. Most people don’t know.
And it’s like do you ever read your label and wonder what is this? Like I love, with our supplements, that you read our supplements and you can actually read every ingredient in there, and you’re like “Huh, I’m pretty sure I know what that is.” Read your ingredients on your skincare and think for a minute, “Why can’t I pronounce this word, and what is it?” Good chances are, it’s poison. Parabens—it’s funny but it’s true.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Hey, I’m glad I don’t have to read all of these, so…
TeriAnn Trevenen: Parabens, methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, and isobutyl, a common and very cheap cosmetic preservative. Preservatives are a no-no. You should stay away from these in everything you consume or put on your body. The second most common skincare ingredient. Preservatives are what help things have a longer shelf life.
Have you ever had a foundation in your makeup, and like three years later, you’re like “Still good.” That’s a problem. That is not good. That means you have poison in your cosmetics. Found in makeup, moisturizer, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant, and spray tan products. Synthetic parabens are toxic in large or cumulative quantities, as the body stores parabens in many tissue types.
They can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, and irritation. Parabens have been shown to mimic estrogen, which disrupts normal hormone function. Huge red flag. Exposure to external estrogens have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and increase cell abnormalities. There should be no excuse for your skincare products to still have parabens.
The FDA acknowledges several studies linking parabens which mimic estrogen, acknowledges, by the way, to breast cancer, skin cancer, and decreased sperm count, but has not ruled that it is harmful. Acknowledged but hasn’t ruled it as harmful. Acknowledged that it causes cancer and decreased sperm count but it’s not harmful.
According to European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer-chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben, and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutyl parabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders. Look for ingredients with the suffix paraben as well as paraben-free products will be labeled as such. Huge one to avoid.
The next one is probably an ingredient you’ve heard of. Did you know it’s in a lot of your products? Formaldehyde. These are primarily preservatives commonly found in cosmetics. It is also found in…? Baby bath soap. Nail polish, eyelash adhesive, and hair dyes. Look for DMDM, Hydantoin and we have the rest of it in show notes, because I’m not going to read through all of them because they’re all words you can’t pronounce.
Short-term health impacts include irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and many studies show it causes allergic skin reactions and skin rashes. In fact, it was awarded 2015 Contact Allergen of the Year by American Contact Dermatitis Society. I think that’s supposed to be 2015 Contact Allergen of the Year by American Contact Dermatitis Society.
I’m going to read that one more time. Short-term health impacts include irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and many studies show it causes allergic skin reactions and skin rashes. In fact, it was awarded the 2015 Contact Allergen of the Year by American Contact Dermatitis Society. Long-term, formaldehyde has a long list of adverse health effects, including immune system toxicity, respiratory irritation, and cancer in humans. Formaldehyde is a recognized human carcinogen.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, wait. Formaldehyde is bad. That’s what you’re saying? That’s bad to put on our skin.
TeriAnn Trevenen: No, it’s really, really good. You should go get some and take some.
Jonathan Hunsaker: You know? What disgusts me with certain things like this is the fact that it’s in baby bath soap, right? It reminds me of the gallon water jugs I see at the grocery store for babies that has fluoride in it, right?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yep.
Jonathan Hunsaker: You’ve got this fluoridated water that’s for your babies, and it’s like it’s disgusting, right?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Disgusting.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And back to, I think the ingredient before this, we were talking about the FDA, saying that it causes cancer and all these other things, but it’s not labeled as harmful. Please don’t use the FDA as your guideline as what’s healthy and what is not healthy.
TeriAnn Trevenen: No, go to EWG.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And do your own research. If you—I’ve had arguments with people and they come back and say, “Well, the FDA said this or that.” If that’s your argument, you need to do more research.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yep, absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I digress. [0:19:59]
TeriAnn Trevenen: BHA and BHT are closely related chemicals, preservatives commonly used in cosmetics, personal care products, mainly shampoos, perfumes, deodorants, body lotions, and even food and food packaging. The National Toxicology Program classifies BHA as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. It causes skin depigmentation.
In animal studies, BHA produces liver damage and causes stomach cancers, such as papilloma and carcinomas, and interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels, another huge red flag. The European Union considers it unsafe in fragrance. Opt for a BHA and phthalate-free perfume.
The last one we’re going to touch on today is coal tar dyes found in hair dyes, lipstick, cosmetic, shampoo. It also, it can be known as P8Ahs, so you can see that on the label as well. So again, hair dyes, lipstick, cosmetic, shampoo. These are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. I’m just going to pause on that for a minute.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, those aren’t good, right? To put on your face either.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Gasoline?
Jonathan Hunsaker: Just checking.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Would you drink gasoline? But we’re putting it on our face. So, it’s used in hair dyes and found to be carcinogenic in laboratory tests conducted by the US National Cancer Institute and National Toxicology Program. Coal tar is recognized as a human carcinogen and the main concern are their potential as carcinogens. As well, colors may be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and some contain aluminum, a neurotoxin. This is a particular concern when used in cosmetics that may be ingested, like lipstick. I don’t know about you; you want to go tea today and have a little sip of gasoline?
Jonathan Hunsaker: Why not? It’s disgusting when we really see the stuff that’s being put in makeup and skincare all for the “beautification” which my argument is, it’s doing the exact opposite.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: I mean it’s destroying your body; it’s destroying your skin. You’d be much better off without anything and cleaning up your diet and adding some supplements.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Than putting all of this on your face.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Absolutely. So, we’re going to stop there today and we’re going to come back next week and we’re going to cover the next six ingredients that you want to avoid. If you haven’t noticed from the last six, you really want to be careful about what’s in your products. And if this has been scary for you, come back next week and we’ll give you a little bit more information on scary ingredients you need to be looking for in your products that are damaging your overall health, impacting to negative health benefits. Because, I shouldn’t say negative health benefits, but just negative to your health overall. And we’ll cover those next six next week.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, your homework, if you’re listening at home, is to go to EmpoweringYouOrganically.com, download the show notes and make this list, put it on sticky notes, whatever you need to do, go to your bathroom, open up your medicine cabinet, open up your makeup drawer, and grab a trash can and start sifting through and throwing the stuff out and start doing research on places that you can find alternatives that don’t have these ingredients. We just went through the first six. So, I imagine you’re going to get about 70 percent of your makeup drawer empty, and by the end of next week maybe 80 percent of it out.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yep.
Jonathan Hunsaker: But the good news is, you’re going to understand what you need to have in your skincare products and what’s really going to be healthy for you long-term.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: So, thank you, everybody, for listening. Please like us on iTunes, like us on Spotify. Tune in next week to get the other six ingredients that you really need to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping for makeup and skincare and other ingredients that are going on your body.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Absolutely.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Thank you so much for listening. Thank you, TeriAnn.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Thanks, everyone.