What Is Clean Beauty and Why Is It Important?

TL;DR:

  • Clean beauty products may not necessarily be ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, but should be free of any toxins and harmful substances.
  • The beauty industry is highly unregulated which allows brands to write their own rules when creating product descriptions which, in turn, can end up misleading customers.
  • Toxic substances in most personal care products may lead to serious illnesses such as cancer, asthma, etc.
  • We should build the habit of checking all the ingredients before consuming every product.

The concept of Clean Beauty has found tremendous relevance among the conscious consumers of today. The exact meaning of this term remains obscure with only a few subjective interpretations doing the rounds. At its core, clean beauty products are those that are free from all sorts of harmful chemicals or ingredients that may prove detrimental to the skin or body. These include ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and dyes, etc. They are designed to be clean and safe for all users.

Having said that, clean beauty does not necessarily entail products that are ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. In fact, it can very much include products that are man-made or ones that contain preservatives, as long as they are non-toxic, safe, and healthy.

Why Clean Beauty Matters and You Should Consider Shifting Clean Beauty Products

Let’s dig deeper into why clean beauty is an important aspect of the beauty industry today.

Lack of Regulation

The beauty industry is highly unregulated wherein any brand can introduce beauty products without seeking any permissions or approvals. The last regulation concerning personal care products was passed in 1938 in the United States. Since then, more than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced in the market, out of which barely 10% have been tested for human safety. What’s shocking is that many cancer-causing chemicals such as parabens, formaldehyde, etc. are allowed by the FDA to be a part of products which the general public uses widely on an everyday basis.

Rise in Diseases

Furthermore, research reveals that 1 in every 2 men and 1 in every 3 women is at risk of being diagnosed with cancer today. In addition, serious illnesses such as asthma and other allergies are also on the rise as is autism. While it may not be correct to totally attribute the incidence of the above illnesses on toxic products, research indicates that toxic chemicals do play a significant part.

It All Adds Up

None of these chemicals pose a real threat if used just once or twice but if used over a period of time, the small doses do add up. What we eat and drink, the lipstick we wear, the soap we use, etc. enters our bodies and gets deposited in our bones or fat. In fact, the effects of some of the chemicals may not be apparent for years but may be quite damaging in the longer run. Therefore, it is critical to ensure the products that we chose are clean and healthy.

Impact on Teenagers

Teenage years are mostly spent by people trying out new things which also means using random products without sparing much thought about what they might contain. Many chemicals have a damaging effect on hormones and the way the body functions, disturbing its natural rhythm. During certain periods of development such as infancy or puberty, human bodies are more prone to hormonal imbalances which can have an adverse effect, some years down the line.

Misleading Labels

Many brands put out slogans such as “all-natural” or “plant-based” as a part of their product packaging, managing to sell large volumes. However, customers may find themselves feeling duped after learning later that the product does contain many irritants, carcinogens and other toxic ingredients mentioned in fine writing on the back. This is called greenwashing.

Another example of misleading advertising is how the word ‘fragrance’ may be used as an umbrella term to disguise the use of several chemicals. Fragrances are touted to be trade secrets and therefore not required to be disclosed. Under the pretext of protecting proprietary formulas, some products with toxic ingredients are sold to customers that may suffer serious ramifications such as reproductive problems, obesity, breast cancer, infertility, etc.

Which Ingredients Should You Avoid

While it may take a while to get the knack of figuring out which products are not harmful and can be just picked off the shelf confidently, here is a list of damaging ingredients that should be kept at bay as far as possible:

  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde
  • Triclosan
  • Phthalates
  • Diethanolamine
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
  • Polyethylene

The human body is nothing short of a miracle that performs innumerable complex functions daily. But it is our responsibility to take care of our body and the underlying systems as best as we can by choosing non-toxic ingredients and a clean, healthy body ritual. After all, clean is the new healthy.


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