Lotions and creams are amongst the Top 3 beauty products that you should go green with due to their common usage on a day to day basis and the fact they are applied to such a large surface area of the body and, therefore, absorbed more than other beauty products.
As the toxic ingredient list for lotions is quite vast, I have tried my best to keep it as short and to the point as possible, but please remember to continue your own research to find out more about a certain ingredient and why it may be considered harmful. Also, please note as some ingredients cross over, some information has been taken from our Greenify Your: Foundation post.
What ingredients should I be looking to avoid in my foundation?
Triethanolamine – Triethanolamin is a product used to help lotions to be absorbed into the skin. This ingredient is known to irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory system (and can flare up asthma in certain people).
Parabens (Propyl, Butyl, Methyl, Isobutyl, Ethyl etc) - Parabens are used to stop fungus and bacteria from growing in your makeup. There is research done to suggest they may be linked to the cause of breast cancer due to the fact that they mimic estrogen within the body. The jury is still out on whether these man-made chemicals are bad for the body but have a read of both sides of the argument to form your own opinion. To be safe, I would say opt for products that have parabens near the bottom of the ingredient list rather than the top.
Lanolin and Lanolin alcohol – Lanolin is used in products so that they don’t wash off. This product can be natural as it comes from wool but can sometimes be contaminated with whatever the sheep came into contact with such as pesticides. We suggest to avoid this product, organic or not, due to an overwhelming result that is causes an allergic reaction in the skin with prolonged use.
Phthalates – This is a highly toxic ingredient that also helps lotions to be absorbed into the skin quickly. It has been classified as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by many health services and studies have shown that it can cause severe allergic reactions.
Sodium Hydroxide – This is normally used as a pH balancer in lotions. Note, however, this ingredient is found in drain cleaners and oven cleaners that have a large warning label on the back that say Sodium Hydroxide is dangerous. Sodium Hydroxide has caused lung damage through over exposure and increases the risk of throat cancer. It also causes sensitivity in the skin.
Petroleum based products (Paraffin, mineral oil, petrolatum) - These petroleum products are also found in the majority of skin products and suffocate the skin and clogs the pores causing the same issues as silicone. These products have also been under heavy scrutiny due to the fact they are the cause of many serious health ailments. When tested on rodents, these ingredients resulted in brain and spinal chord damage, anemia and kidney degradation and, in many cases, death. You have been warned!
Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate or Diazolidinyl Urea (Urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1 (or bronopol) DMDM hydantoin) – Both of these ingredients are used as preservatives in many popular lotions on the market despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer classing it into its highest toxic class due to both ingredients releasing formaldehyde (a possible carcinogen) into the body once absorbed. It has already been banned in Europe due to it’s effects in the body including links to depression, joint pain, headaches, dizziness and immune disfunction.
Ethylene – This ingredient is toxic to humans and can cause development and reproductive toxicity.
Fragrance (6-methylcoumarin, parfum) – Fragrance is a hard one because it is the one product that gets a free pass in the ingredients list. The manufacturer is not required to list the actual ingredients in the perfume, rather, they are allowed to simply clump it all into the one ingredient: ‘Parfum’ (or other such word). This means that you have no clue if this is a safe product for your skin which is worrying as some fragrance ingredients are proven to cause photosensitivity but you’d never know what was the causal ingredient! Best to keep an eye out for products that list essential oils as their fragrance or are up front about what goes into their fragrance.
Laureths – Highly toxic and proven carcinogens.
Oxybenzone – An ingredient that blocks UV rays and is found in many skin creams and sunscreens. This ingredient should be avoided at all costs due to its known effect to cause photosensitivity in the skin and is a carcinogen. Studies have also shown this ingredient to attack DNA, also.
Whew! As usual, I could go on. But go check all of your creams and see for yourself how common these frightening ingredients alone are!
So, how do you Greenify?
Phase 1.) Read the ingredients label of your foundations. Any lotions or creams with the aforementioned near the top of the list, pour them out, tear off the label and save the bottle. We want that body to start detoxing from these ingredients as soon as it can.
Phase 2.) For the motivated ones: Avoid using your usual moisturizer for a minimum of a week to let the skin rest and normalize. If you were a daily lotion user, your skin may dry out but never fear, it will fix itself.
For those who can’t live without their lotion: Pick up some virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil. This is your new body lotion. As for your face, try a small amount of jojoba oil. It combines everything that your wrinkle, eye and face cream did into one.
Please note that coconut oil has an SPF factor of only 4 and jojoba oil does not provide any. Because of this, if you are going out in the sun, our suggestion is to try and get your hands on some organic red raspberry seed oil as this has an SPF factor of 28 to 50 (to be mixed in with your chosen oil) or purchase a sunscreen from a proven organic and natural company.
Phase 3.) If you didn’t enjoy using the coconut and/or jojoba oils, research online for a safe and organic alternative lotion that is free of toxic ingredients. There are many on the market. Personally, we love our friends over at Mukti who offer a wide range of safe lotions.
Remember, there is no firmer knowledge than through your own personal experience and broad research so I suggest that you use this as a starting guide and go from there.