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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Cleaner Cosmetics and Skin Care Products

Jun 29, 2020 08:30AM ● By Donna Ouellette
Many personal care products we know and love are made with hazardous chemicals. In fact, most people use up to 126 ingredients on their skin daily, and shockingly nearly 85 percent of the ingredients approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in personal-care products have not been evaluated for safety by the agency, the industry’s Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel, or any other regulatory body.

The European Union, now 28 countries strong, has more stringent and protective laws for cosmetics than the United States. The hazard-based, precautionary approach of the EU acknowledges that chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects simply don’t belong in cosmetics, regardless of the concentration of the chemical being used.

The EU law bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm, or birth defects. In comparison, the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. Unlike the United States, EU law requires pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics, mandatory registration of cosmetic products, government authorization for the use of nanomaterials, and prohibits animal testing for cosmetic purposes.

Thankfully, safer alternatives are available and there are steps that can be taken to reduce toxic exposures in the home and to protect the health of our families.

Simplify  If it can’t be pronounced, it is most likely a chemical to be aware of. Choose products with simpler ingredient lists and fewer synthetic chemicals. Avoid synthetic fragrance by skipping products with “fragrance” on the label, and use fewer products overall.

DIY  Some personal care products are easy to make, and this can be a great project for a party. Make sugar or salt scrubs or body oils, using simple, organic ingredients, such as jojoba oil and essential oils.

Research products  Since the beauty industry is largely unregulated, it is up to each individual to do research to find the safest products. There are no legal standards for personal care products labeled as pure, natural or organic, so look beyond the marketing claims and read labels carefully.

Use apps to learn what is in products  Here are five apps to help learn what is in cosmetics and skin care products: Think Dirty, Good Guide,CosmEthics, EWG Healthy Living and Detox Me.

Get Involved  Get involved with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. They have partnered with MADE SAFE to provide cosmetic and personal care product companies with a way to certify their products as safe and nontoxic. MADE SAFE verifies products are made with safe ingredients not known or suspected to harm human health, animals or ecosystems. It’s the only nontoxic certification in the country that crosses consumer product categories. For the first time, people can easily find and buy products that are safe to use on their bodies, with their families and in their homes. Visit to find certified safe products.

Donna Ouellette of Evolve Nutrition & Vitality is a cancer survivor certified in functional nutrition. Her wellness boutique has a new line of safe, toxin-free skin care and make-up.  For more information, call 401-578-5879 or visit