Sometimes I think that obliviousness was nice. I never used to know what was in our food, our health care products and our personal care products. I never read an ingredient list, I just purchased something solely based on friend reviews, how it smelled or if it was aesthetically pleasing in the store. There definitely is a simplicity in this, and I have to admit that it was nice not to worry about the items that came into my home. However, the more I learned, the more I realized that I wasn't doing the best job I could to protect my health and the health of my family. Then when I had kids, it was more important to protect them! That was when I started to read absolutely everything! If there was an ingredient that I didn't recognize, I would look it up. This is where I started my search for cleaner products, and I wanted to share with you some of the things that I've learned along the way.
Our skin is our largest organ. It protects us and filters the outside elements and it absorbs absolutely everything you put on it (good or bad).
I always assumed that personal care products that were manufactured were safe for human use. I was wrong. Most of the chemicals that are used in the cosmetic industry are not tested, and the ones that are tested aren't tested in combination with the other ingredients in the product (one could react with another). According to a U.S. research report, one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.
According to the David Suzuki foundation, the following are the "Dirty Dozen" personal care product ingredients that you should avoid. Below is a link to their page that describes in further detail why they shouldn't be used.
Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number
Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
I agree with the items on the list but I tend to avoid anything I don't understand on the label. I also avoid things with talc, sodium benzonate, etc. I generally only use things with clean straight for ingredients. I've also found that if the company has nothing to hide ingredient wise their ingredients are easy to find, and they will be happy to answer any question that you might have regarding the product.
In regards to personal care products, the best site I found is
https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ . It is a non-profit site, and it lists common personal care items and rates them on a scale from 0 to 10. It will rate each product by a company, and each ingredient separately. 0 being the cleanest products and 10 being the most toxic. It lets you know the overall toxicity, the cancer risks, the developmental and reproductive toxicity, and the allergy and immunotoxicity.