Sunday, April 20, 2008

One-stop-shop, paraben-free personal care

Happy Earth Week!

A reader asks:

It's still so confusing even after visiting the Skin Deep site ( I'd like one brand for all skin, hair and body. Even the most talked of para free products still have it showing up here and there. And during pregnancy is there any ingredient I should stay away from?

--Staci in MN

Dear Staci,

It's true that, for different types of products--shampoo, moisturizer, lotion--there can be variations in ingredients by the same maker. And who's got time to read labels on every product? That's why Greenerpenny does it for you.

Because they're readily available, and you want a simple answer, I recommend these brands: Aubrey Organics , Terressentials, Whole Foods 365 and Burt's Bees , all of which make hair and skin products that are free of those darned paraben chemical preservatives, which are linked to breast cancer and hormone disruption.

When pregnant, the cosmetics ingredient that's most prevalent and important to avoid is synthetic fragrance, commonly listed as "fragrance" on labels, as it may contain hormone-disrupting phthalates; choose products that instead of catch-all "fragrance" list plant essential oils. Aubrey, Whole Foods 365 and Terressentials, among others, do so.

Rare but dangerous to fetuses and nursing babies is lead, still present in some cosmetics. Avoid lipsticks on this list.