"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

“Clean” Beauty: What You Should Know

February 12, 2024 – Clean. Naturally.

If the labels of your cosmetic and skincare products don't contain this information, you won't look nearly as good as you might and should even be putting your health in danger.

At least, that's the marketing message behind many “clean” and “natural” cosmetics and skincare products, from eyeliner to foundation to moisturizers and more.

Both markets are booming, analysts say. The marketplace for natural cosmetics is anticipated to grow $1.87 billion According to Statista, an information platform, this yr within the US is up 7.1% in comparison with last yr. And in line with Grand View Research, the U.S. marketplace for natural skincare products was affected $1.5 billion in 2021.

Stores like Credo, which has a “Credo Clean Standard,” carry dozens of so-called “clean beauty” brands and ask the businesses that carry them concerning the source of their ingredients. According to Aracelis Ramirez, manager of a Credo store in Los Angeles, “We eliminate over 3,000 chemicals in our products.” Customers are searching for products that don't contain toxins, hormone disruptors or potentially carcinogenic ingredients, she said.

Likewise, Detox Market, one other “clean beauty” marketplace, encourages suppliers to be transparent about ingredients.

Celebrities also promote clean, natural products, often their very own lines. Gwyneth Paltrow is thought for her Goop products, which “contain no ingredients that have been proven or suspected to be harmful to our health.” And Jennifer Lopez's JLo beauty products are made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates or mineral oil, in line with the corporate's website.

The problem? There are not any definitions for “clean” or “natural” from the FDA, which regulates cosmetics. So when a famous beauty expert or clean cosmetics company tells you that their products are clean and natural, think twice about taking it as gospel.

In addition, many ingredients are present in cosmetics and skincare products Are potentially hazardous to health, and advocacy groups akin to the Environmental Working Group and lawmakers are working tirelessly to remove these ingredients.

It's now a buyer beware market, whether you're searching for clean, natural, organic or simply the very best value products that deliver on their guarantees.

Clean, natural doesn’t at all times equate to safety

According to Bruce Brod, MD, clinical professor of dermatology on the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, purchasing only products labeled “natural” or “clean” isn’t any guarantee of avoiding danger.

All of this clean and natural marketing has created fear amongst consumers, as he wrote and warned about in a 2019 editorial “naturally” means undecided. He warned that lots of the ingredients denounced by those he calls “clean beauty evangelists” seem like chosen arbitrarily, with some ingredients on their banned lists actually not only acceptable, but additionally considered helpful by dermatologists be considered. One example: A significant grocery chain known for health-conscious products put petroleum jelly on a banned ingredients list, and Brod said dermatologists have consistently really helpful it to patients with skin conditions since it's inexpensive, doesn't cause allergic reactions and uses up water the skin.

Since he wrote that editorial summarizing the risks of assuming all products labeled as clean or natural are protected, the hype has “gotten a little bit worse,” Brod said in a recent telephone interview. That's partly because of sheer volume, he said, as more product lines use either “clean” or “natural” on their label. “The world of skin care and cosmetics is more fragmented and confusing than ever before,” he said. New brands are regularly launched, products are promoted on social media, and celebrity endorsements abound.

“Interest in a 'clean' or 'natural' approach to treating skin conditions is absolutely increasing,” said Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist in Ocean Springs, MS. “Not only am I seeing this online, but patients are now coming into the clinic to ask about alternative treatments to the traditional recommendations. This has exploded with the rise of social media [use] and those who have no formal training in the subject provide advice.”

Some of the more unusual DIY trends she's seen include applying raw potatoes to the skin to treat pimples or applying ice cubes to the face to cut back puffiness.

Natural ingredients akin to plant and essential oils could cause allergic contact dermatitis in sensitive people, Brod said. He pointed to a study Researchers compared the ingredient lists of 1,651 natural personal care products with a database of allergens related to contact dermatitis. They found that 94% of the products contained at the very least one potential contact allergen. By marketing the products as clean and natural, “they're trying to make the buyer believe that it offers some level of safety, and that's not the case,” Brod said. Consumers have to know that, he said.

FDA, USDA and a scarcity of definitions

The FDA, which regulates cosmetics under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, does not define Natural, clean or organic on labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service oversees the National Organic Program (NOP) and accommodates a definition of organic. This Cosmetics or personal care products that contain agricultural ingredients and might meet the standards might be eligible to make use of organic labels, in line with Courtney Rhode, an FDA spokeswoman.

In search of safer products: laws

The Modernization of cosmetics The Regulation Act of 2022 (MoCRA), which got here into effect on December 29, 2023, is a start, some experts said. It requires formal FDA registration of cosmetic establishments, products and ingredients; requires reporting of great adversarial events; and requires firms, amongst other things, to reveal their use of certain fragrances and flavor ingredients. The act also requires the study of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances), also often known as “forever chemicals.”

States are also taking motion. In 2020, California passed the California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, banning 24 toxic ingredients (akin to formaldehyde) from cosmetics and private care products within the state. An additional 26 ingredients were banned in 2023. The laws will come into force in 2025 and 2027 respectively. At least five more conditions are taking motion to ban PFAS from cosmetics.

The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, An organization focused on eliminating toxic chemicals that may result in breast cancer is advocating for five federal laws, said Janet Nudelman, the organization's senior director of programs and policy and director of the organization Campaign for safe cosmetics. Four are a part of the Safer Beauty Bill package. The fifth is that this No PFAS in the cosmetics law, which might ban this class of PFAS chemicals in cosmetics.

Looking for Information: Consumer Guides

The Environmental Working Group Skin deep is a guide to safer personal care products. It now includes greater than 100,000 products and rates them in line with risks. “We are seeing a slow movement toward better outcomes,” said Homer Swei, PhD, the group’s senior vp of healthy life sciences. He also recognized the trend towards natural ingredients. “What I'm seeing is a slow move away from synthetic ingredients toward more natural ingredients.” The Environmental Working Group, he said, doesn't advocate for man-made or natural ingredients, but relatively looks at the information and assigns a rating based on research Driven. (The group is a subsidiary of Amazon and claims to receive a nominal percentage of sales of all products purchased through this portal.)

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics also has one Chemicals of concern Section.

The Review of cosmetic ingredients, Funded by the Personal Care Products Council, an industry group, the book examines research on ingredients. The review is carried out independently of the council and industry.

Advice for consumers

Less is more, Brod tells patients. Limit products to what is required.

Filter out products with very long ingredient lists, he said, especially if you’ve sensitive skin. For those that have sensitive skin, he recommends selecting a product with 10 or fewer ingredients. With any latest product, test an area, akin to the inside your elbow, for seven to 10 days to see if an allergic response occurs, he said.

“Cost does not equal quality,” Brod said. “People shouldn't feel like it's not good if they don't spend a lot of money on a product. There are some very good products available at very reasonable prices.”