Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some thoughts on what's "bad" for us.

I get e-mails and comments all the time asking if something is better than something else (for instance, if one preservative is "better" than another) or if an ingredient is bad. I'm not really sure what those words mean any more, hence this very short series on maligned ingredients (which will continue in the near future).

Here's my argument as to why I don't worry about formaldehyde releasers, as an example. If I'm using 0.5 grams of a preservative in 100 grams of lotion, and I use 10 grams per application, I'm using 0.05 grams of preservatives on my skin. Those preservatives will help keep beasties and other nasty things from hurting my skin and my health, which are scientific facts. That the preservative is a formaldehyde releaser is also a fact. But what being a formaldehyde releaser means isn't a fact - is there much risk of off-gassing from formaldehyde in a preservative? 

As a bath & body product maker, it's your job to educate yourself and educate those around you. When you see something like the Suzuki Foundation's Dirty Dozen or some new report from EWG, Skin Deep, or Safe Cosmetics or hear something on a popular medical talk show, learn about those ingredients. Find out why they are being maligned this week. You might find there's some validity there, or you might find it's just hype. Either way, you've learned more, and that's always a good thing!

Stay curious. Research your ingredients through reputable sources. Keep an open mind. Make decisions based on science, and make sure you're always checking to see if what's being written is truth or hype.

After all of this, I'm still not sure what "bad" means.

1 comment:

sfs said...

Susan, thank you for these informative and interesting posts on maligned ingredients. I've never been too concerned about exposure to "bad" chemicals. I don't have particularly sensitive skin and I have confidence in my magnificent bodily functions to rather quickly take care of the tiny percentages I'm actually ingesting, absorbing, and/or inhaling . (Swallowed gum doesn't really stay in the stomach 7 years!)

My concern, however, is how the ingredients we use are processed and what impact that has on the environment. What is easily biodegradable and what washes out to sea to join the great plastic island in the Pacific? I'm not sure how to find out this information either. Do you have any ideas on this?