Over a year ago now, I decided to stop buying products which were tested on animals, or from companies who sell products in China as that means they’re legally obliged to test on animals in order to sell there. Its just something that I don’t think is necessary any more, and once you start looking into it there’s just no going back!
I’ve gradually replaced all my skin care and cosmetics with cruelty free brands, most of which are marked up with the leaping bunny logo or are listed on the PETA website. There's also several bloggers who keep track of company information on their testing policies, so its not too difficult to find genuine cruelty free products. That has led me to start looking into the various chemicals and the weird and wonderful things going into just about everything we use. Its really quite frightening! Whilst the science suggesting some aren’t as safe as we’re led to believe, isn’t always 100%, I want to do as much as possible to reduce the stresses on my body, in the hope that every little step will add up to a larger positive impact. There’s lots of people with chronic health conditions who have had positive results from improving their diets and reducing exposure to certain chemicals. Whilst I don’t believe it’s a cure for my CFS/ME, it’s something I’m totally happy to do because of all the potential benefits!
Then there’s the cancer stories. I know several women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer over the last year or so, and up until then it was something that happened to other people, not those I know. In the Autumn of 2017 by friend Lisa shared lots of information from Breast Cancer UK on the risks of chemicals in cosmetics. That was the turning point for me – since then I’ve only bought products that are cruelty free, natural and organic where possible.
So what should we be looking out for?
"Endocrine disrupting chemicals or EDCs can affect the body’s hormones and may be harmful even at very low concentrations.
Some ingredients used in cosmetics are known or suspected EDCs which mimic oestrogens.
Oestrogens stimulate breast cell growth and production. This can contribute to the production of damaged cells and potentially increase the likelihood of mutations which may lead to breast cancer.
Certain chemicals found in cosmetics interfere with oestrogen levels in the body and may lead to changes in breast tissue, which have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer."
Parabens such as butyl/methyl/ethyl/propyl paraben: found in cosmetics, body creams, hair products and sunscreens
Alkyl parahydroxybenzoate: another name for parabens
Aluminium in deodorants/antiperspirants
Synthetic musks (or parfum): used as fragrance in many cosmetics and personal care products
Triclosan: used in toothpastes and hand washes
Benzophenones in cosmetics: used to prolong shelf life
Source: Breast Cancer UK - www.breastcanceruk.org.uk
They’ve created a brilliant infographic showing all the different things to look out for in several types of products. You can check that out here.
Something I also look for now is the Soil Association certification – they award this to products which they say are
“packed full of goodness. For us, this means effective formulations made using organically farmed ingredients that have been grown without being genetically modified (non-GM) and with no herbicides or synthetic fertilisers.”
My favourite company for natural, cruelty free products is Neal’s Yard Remedies. So much so, that I’ve recently signed up to become an Independent Consultant, so I can share the love!
Neal’s Yard Remedies started in 1981 and was the first certified organic, natural health and beauty company as well as the first to sell certified organic essential oils. Everything is made in their UK factory, and a lot of the ingredients are grown locally too. Ingredients sourced abroad are always fair trade and sustainable, and even the famous blue bottles are made in the UK and are 100% recyclable.
Want to read more about Neal’s Yard philosophy? Check this page out.
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