The skin is a highly absorptive organ. We want to preserve our skin, but not, of course, with carcinogenic preservatives. Alas, paraben preservatives (methyl-, butyl-, and so forth), which provoke the growth of breast cancer cells in lab studies, are still common in cosmetics. So are phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to obesity in men and genital abnormalities in infant boys. Although they’re widely used in synthetic fragrances, you won’t see “phthalates” on any cosmetic label, because fragrance components are protected as trade secrets.
To further complicate the search for nontoxic personal care, few companies list their ingredients on websites, forcing the concerned consumer to stand on tired feet in store aisles reading labels, while balancing bags and trying not to block other shoppers. So Greener Penny has done that research for you.
Following is a list of companies that make paraben- and phthalate-free lip balms, and lotions and creams for face, hands and body. Their sunblocks, if any, use only the natural minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients, containing no synthetic, suspected hormone disrupting chemicals such as benzophenone-3, which is found in 97% of Americans’ bodies, as reported by Environmental Health Perspectives.
CO means that the product contains certified organic plant ingredients. USDA certified organic means that the whole product is certified organic, containing at minimum 95% CO ingredients. BDIH is an EU seal barring all petroleum-based ingredients. The new Natural Products Association (NPA) seal strictly limits chemical processing and additives.
GreenerPenny’s Best Nontoxic Skin Care Products List
Aubrey Organics CO
Burts Bees NPA Note: While Burt's persists in listing “fragrance,” usually a tell-tale giveaway of phthalates, company reps have repeatedly assured us that their fragrances are phthalate-free. We believe Burt's; the company is a co-founder of the new Natural Products Association seal, which specifies no parabens or phthalates, and signatory of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which pledges to not to use toxins in products.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic and Sundog USDA certified organic
Dr. Hauschka , BDIH.
Dropwise http://www.dropwise.com/, CO
Hawaiian Body Products
Jason Natural Organics and Earth’s Best Organic Sunblock
Juice Organics, 70% CO
(lotion comes in stroke-on bars)
MoonValley http://www.moonvalleyhoney.com/products/b-lotion_variety_pack.htm (lotion comes in bars)
Origins Organics ; some, but not all, of its skin care line is USDA certified organic, but most products have at least 87% CO.
Pangea Organics, CO
Planet Botanicals, CO Purity Cosmetics
Sensibility Soaps’ Nourish Organic Body Lotions USDA certified organic
Suki , http://www.sukipure.com/product.php?product_id=21, CO, fair trade
Terressentials , http://www.terressentials.com/fffacialcare.html
CO, and body lotions come in flower essences or fragrance free
Weleda http://www.usa.weleda.com/index.aspx NPA and BDIH certified
We also like the following unique products that are free of the worst chemicals, although other lines by the companies may contain ingredients of concern such as parabens, phthalates, cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium cocoyl sarcosate.
Avalon Organics Botanicals: Therapeutic Hand & Body Lotion with Ylang Ylang, and vitamin C and lavender face creams
Ecco Bella facial moisturizer, 70% CO; but caution, at least one of their Ecco Bella body lotions contain parabens
Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Lime Chamomile Tighten Up Moisturizer , CO
Origins says that it has reformulated all its products to be free of parabens, and that old ones on shelves will be replaced with reformulated products as they’re sold. Origins Hydrating Body Lotion, has 87% CO, and the Organic Consumers Association test, below, found it had no detectable residue of 1, 4 dioxane.
Physicians Formula tinted moisturizer and foundation, SPF 15
Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Body Lotion
Tip: Moisturizing oils are generally simpler and purer than thicker butters and potions. On the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database, , oils often get a greener rating than creams by the same maker.
Other Toxic Ingredients
For the lists above, we also screened for other problematic ingredients. These include ethoxylated chemicals (including PEG, propylene glycol; phenoyxethanol, ethylene oxide, and sodium laureth sulfate), made by a process that can produce carcinogenic 1,4, dioxane as a byproduct. A recent study by Organic Consumers Association found 1.4 dioxane residues in many products with organic and natural on their labels. In addition, while originally based on coconut oil, cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium cocoyl sarcosate are processed in ways that may release carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Least-toxic, natural alternatives to synthetic preservatives include Grapeseed oil and grapefruit seed oil , which raise no health concerns, according to EWG’s Skin Deep database; however, grapefruit seed extract , used in skin toners and astringents, can sometimes be contaminated with parabens, triclosan (an antibacterial that contributes to the growth of resistant bacteria) and benzethonium chloride, another iffy preservative, according to EWG. See also the helpful glossary of ingredients published by Terressentials.
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