Skincare should not have to be scary
Let's fix that!
This week, I thought I’d share something with you that I’m very passionate about. Something that we as women need to know + talk about + CHANGE. It might be something you’ve never thought of?
But, first, I want to hear how it went with the high five habit? Did you try it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know. Leave a comment.
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH
About seven years ago, I got the itch to start a skincare regimen.
I know some women are incredibly passionate + consistent in their skincare routines. I was NOT one of those women. Quite the opposite. A bar of Dove soap + an Aveeno moisturizer with SPF was the extent of my daily skincare routine.
It was time for me to up my game.
I was getting close to 50 at that time. I had spent the previous 10 years focusing on my health + fitness. Working out. Learning about nutrition. Changing my lifestyle + my habits to improve my health.
And, I was feeling GOOD! Better than I’ve EVER felt.
But, I was still struggling with my skin. Sensitivity. Rosacea. Sun damage. Wrinkles. I really didn’t know where to start.
More + more of my friends were gathering at Botox parties + doing laser treatments. I wondered if I should start looking into these options. I wondered what the health implications would be?
I also wondered why I was even having to ask myself these questions. I remember saying to my husband, ‘You’re lucky. You don’t even have to think about this stuff!’
THE RABBIT HOLE
As fate would have it, a friend showed up selling a skincare line + I decided to help her out + give it a try. Little did I know the rabbit hole I was about to dive into.
Up to this point in my life, I had never considered the fact that our skin is our largest organ - a living, breathing organ.
Skin doesn’t just sit on our body. It has a circulation, nervous system + immune system. It helps with temperature regulation, immunity, vitamin production + sensation. It does A LOT for us.
I had never thought about how the products we use on our skin absorb into our systems. Here I was being so picky about the ingredients in my food, but had never thought about my skin.
Think about transdermal patches (nicotine, birth control, etc.) which are a very effective + targeted way to administer medication into our systems.
I was also completely unaware that ingredients used in personal care products like skincare, makeup, body + hair stuff are virtually unregulated. We have not made any significant changes to the legislation governing this $80+ billion industry since 1938. (Yeah, that was over 80 years ago!)
To date, the FDA does not require that cosmetic ingredients be assessed for safety before they go on the market, and they cannot issue a product recall.
We now have over 85,000+ chemicals in the market - most of which came onto the scene after World War II - years after the 1938 legislation came to play. They are used extensively in our homes, schools + communities, but less than one-third of these chemicals have publicly available safety data + less than two percent have been assessed for their effects on children’s health and development.
As research increasingly points to a link between environment + health, leading health authorities have warned of the impact of chemicals on cancer risk, endocrine disruption + reproductive harm.
Of course, not all chemicals are bad, but there is a strong body of science from credible researchers + medical institutions that calls upon us to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals wherever possible.
DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
If you’re like me, you probably assumed there is already some sort of system in place to regulate or monitor where these potentially harmful ingredients are used or that the FDA is overseeing or approving the use of these chemicals.
The E.U. has already banned or restricted the use of over 1400 of these ingredients from personal care products. Canada has banned or restricted over 600.
The U.S.? Only 30.
We are SO far behind.
As a mother of two women in their twenties, I can quickly see why this is a problem. Women use an average of 12 personal-care products a day - some a LOT more!
But it’s not just young reproductive women at risk.
Men use about six products a day (deodorant, shampoo, lotion, etc.). Teenage girls average 17 products a day.
This can mean exposure to hundreds of chemicals just in the course of a morning beauty routine + the FDA doesn’t have the proper authority to order a recall even if there is a safety issue.
Check out the transcript of a recent exchange between Congresswoman Eshoo and Dr. Susan Mayne from the FDA before the Energy & Commerce Committee in December of 2019. It clearly illustrates the concerns that need to be addressed.
Rep. Eshoo: Can the FDA require a review of the safety of baby lotion before it goes to market?
Dr. Mayne: No.
Rep Eshoo: Can the FDA tell the company not to use a toxic ingredient, for example formaldehyde, in its baby lotion?
Dr. Mayne: No.
Rep. Eshoo: Is the manufacturer required to register with the FDA prior to selling the baby lotion?
Dr. Mayne: No.
Rep. Eshoo: Once it comes to market, can the FDA require safety information about the baby lotion?
Dr. Mayne: No.
Rep. Eshoo: If the lotion caused bad reactions, in the babies, can the FDA require a recall?
Dr. Mayne: No.
Rep. Eshoo: If the manufacturer is aware of the babies bad reactions, would the manufacturer be required to report that to the FDA?
Dr. Mayne: No.
When I first heard this was the case, it was rather shocking. I don’t even know if I believed it. But, the more I researched + learned, the more I had to get involved in spreading the word + affecting change.
Maybe reading this has you feeling that way, too.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The good news (Yes, there is some good news!) is that awareness of this issue is growing. Companies + organizations are pushing for change + better legislation. It’s a bi-partisan issue that actually brings all of us together.
And there is some new legislation out there that is gaining traction that I wanted to share with you + put on your radar because as women, we are the ones who will fix this.
We are the ones most impacted + we are the ones who drive the market. We are also the ones who can step up to advocate for vulnerable populations like children + people of color.
One thing I have learned in my recent years as an advocate is how important our voices are. They genuinely make a difference - especially when we speak up at the same time. Yes, the process is slow + cumbersome, but with persistence - it works.
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of my favorite organizations in this space is Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
BCPP works to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals + radiation. They have published 30+ scientific reports + passed 15 laws to improve the health of people + the planet.
I volunteered with BCPP several times over the past few years to help advocate on behalf of new legislation here in California - which recently passed! (Super exciting!)
Now, we are pushing to get federal legislation passed. And, I’d love to get your support.
The Safer Beauty bill package will:
*Ban the worst first. Ban 11 of the most toxic chemicals from beauty + personal care products, including mercury, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, phenylenediamines + the entire class of PFAS “forever”
*Defend the health of women of color + salon workers. Create cosmetic safety protections for women of color + nail, hair + beauty salon workers – two vulnerable populations most at risk of unsafe exposures due to harmful chemicals in the products marketed to them or found in
*You can click on each of those four links to learn more about each of the individual bills.
If you are like me, you probably assumed these were already standard requirements. But, nope. That’s why we have to take some action to get it fixed.
There are two ways you can help move the needle forward this week:
Send a letter to your congressional representative in support of the Safer Beauty Bill Package. It’s easier than it sounds. There’s a simple way to do that right here with this link - plus you can read more about the four bills. It is a HUGE win to have this legislation on the floor considering it’s been more than 80 years since the last update! Let’s not miss the opportunity!
Today, October 17, I am walking with a few friends up to Double Peak Park in San Marcos as a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. You can donate to our team page + help fund this important organization at the frontlines of driving real cosmetic safety reform. We’d love to have your support!
In addition, I am donating 10% of all of my sales from October 1-17 to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. So, if you need anything - skincare, cosmetics, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, mascara, sunscreen - order through my site here + support our team.
I’ll be around today - after we finish our climb up to the top of Double Peak if you need any help with your order. And, shipping is free on all orders over $50. If it’s your first time ordering with me, use the promo code CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order.
Pick one or do them ALL! These small actions add up + they really do make a difference. Leave a comment to let me know which one you’re going to act on or just to share your thoughts on all of this. Would love to hear what you’re thinking.
READ: Support the Safer Beauty Bill Package | Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
WATCH: The Ugly Truth about the Beauty Industry | The Nantucket Project
READ: Are Beauty Products Regulated for Safety in the U.S.? | Lindsay Dahl
READ: Tips for Prevention | Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
READ: Sicker, Fatter, Poorer | Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP
SUPPORT: Team LIFT | Your donation supports Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
I hope you will take a moment to take action in support of my efforts. It has been incredible to witness the progress being made in recent years - in spite of the chaos our world has been going through both politically + health-wise with the pandemic.
Together - we are making a difference.
Meanwhile, taking steps to avoid potentially harmful exposures can help reduce your risk of adverse health consequences.
Please spend some time with the resources I’ve shared this week because with this information, you can start to make positive changes for both you + your family.
Here are a few to start with:
reduce consumption of processed foods and drinks
minimize the use of household and personal-care products that contain harmful chemicals
wash food well before eating it
vacuum and mop floors to reduce toxic chemicals in house dust and indoor air
Little things add up + when we put all of our little things together - we can create BIG change + a better future.
Thanks in advance for your support!
See you next week?
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please share it using the button below. And, if you’d like to stay in touch in real time during the week, you can find me on Instagram @redefiningkaren or on Facebook @cleanbeautyadvocate.
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