I was stunned to learn of the increasing resistance in the beauty industry towards the clean beauty movement. You may think that I am referring to mainstream beauty companies that are struggling to maintain marketshare during the rise of indie brands, but that is not who I am referring to. It is influencers with hardly any expertise in the field, misleading consumers and convincing their followers that this is all a conspiracy, a term easily coined by many, nowadays, when they don't align with progressive ideas such as climate change, or even, in this case, making healthy choices, leaving out known toxins from one's products.
What's the incentive? I wonder. I'm really not sure. The only obvious reason that I can conjure is the realization that there's a huge population of skeptics that are stimulated by opposing change and reason, and they too need a community, which they readily find by following these influencers.
I wanted to highlight some references here for those in doubt that several toxic ingredients, used in many mainstream products, have been linked to cancer and other health issues such as hormonal imbalances and allergies. I, myself, have suffered a great deal for over a decade as a result of consistent use of certain cosmetic products.
I often hear that natural doesn't work, and that you need synthetic ingredients because they are the only ones powerful enough to make a difference. I can tell you, having been a beauty industry insider for over 20 years, that is so far from the truth. While some synthetics may be safe, natural is better in many instances (with very few exceptions). I recognize that natural isn't always the sustainable option, and that synthetic can be cheaper for the brand and consequently the consumer. Ultimately, it is about choice. I do believe though, that consumers should be educated enough to be able to make that choice. But this isn't a debate about natural and synthetic. The bigger issue here is influencers encouraging their followers to continue using harmful ingredients such as Parabens, Phtalates, Formaldehyde, Mineral oils, Triclosan, Petroleum, Talc, and chemical sunscreens. All of these ingredients have been extensively studied with strong evidence pointing to direct links to major health problems.
I wanted to share a couple scientific references should you need convincing:
- The National Center for Biotechnology Information shared this study, published by the National Institute of Health delineating the direct link between toxins in the products we use and cancer: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4565612/. More than 35 scientists were involved in the study.
- Peer reviewed studies funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Grants Program Office of the University of California, Grant Number 19AB‐2100 concluded that: Phthalates (found in fragrance) alter mammary gland development through epigenetic changes, promote cell growth, and increase migratory and invasive properties in breast cancer cells. Parabens induce growth of breast epithelial cells, increase migratory and invasive properties of breast cancer cells. More here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cam4.613
- The Department of Clinical Oncology in Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland; published this article linking cosmetic ingredients to cancer: https://www.mp.pl/paim/en/node/2257/pdf
Pursuing health isn't a conspiracy. I have personally spent years on cosmetic department floors and have suffered greatly from the exposure to perfumes and cosmetic ingredients. It is a daily struggle to get my skin's inflammation under control. I have also seen asthmatics struggle to breathe after one spritz of perfume, and have helped THOUSANDS of consumers recover from skin problems caused by cosmetics.
The belief that CLEAN and SCIENCE are binary choices, is incorrect. You don't have to pick on or the other. You can have both! And thankfully, today, there are many brand that do a brilliant job integrating science into natural formulations. What we need to see more of though, is expertise with the how to handle sensitivity - often a direct result of consistent use of cosmetic products.
Good science doesn't dispute the power of nature and clean healthy practices. After all, science has been the one to recognize the dangers of the ingredients in question.
I am left with many questions; why are many quick to challenge common sense and resist change even when consequences can potentially be grave? When are we going to stop sacrificing health for beauty, when we can have both? Is it fear that if we educate ourselves on what we consume, we will then have to give up some of our favorite luxuries? Why do we accept the status quo even at the expense of our health and that of our children? Are we that afraid of what we might find when we question? Why are we so stuck under the spell of empty promises, shinny objects, and fragrant creams?
Be well. Be safe. Be beautiful!