Chemicals in our Products

Friday, June 29, 2018

The other day I accidently knocked my Lush Ocean Salt scrub off the shower shelf. When I was picking it up I happened to look at the ingredients list. It included the typical body scrub suspects (salt, lime extract, EVCO, avocado butter) but then I saw methylparaben and propylparaben at the bottom of the list. It really surprised me to see these two ingredients in particular.

Let me give you a little back story about why these two ingredients in particular amused me. I don't usually talk about my day job very much on the blog because it would probably put y'all to sleep. I am a scientist; more specifically, I work at a contract manufacturer to write the instructions on how to mass-produce cosmetic products. So day in and day out I'm working with products that you could potentially use on a daily basis.

In my line of work, ingredients like methylparaben, propylparaben, glycerin, and a whole slew of other weird named materials come up daily. They are very common place for me but I didn't expect to see them on the back of a Lush container. I knew that Lush was animal cruelty free, but because they also claim "Fresh Handmade Cosmetics" I assumed there was no "bad" chemicals like parabens.

Since taking this job, I've seen a lot of what goes into cosmetic products. At the end of the day I wonder why I put all of these products on my body. I'm not afraid of chemicals but I also don't want to put any extra ones on me if I don't have to. About a year ago, I started making the switch to using more natural products that don't have a lot of extra "stuff" in them. While I can logically say that parabens are used as a preservative to keep products from growing bacteria, I still don't want to use it if I don't have to.

Slowly but surely I've been switching out the famous body wash/lotion and candle brands for more natural or homemade products. I will admit that even the current brands I'm using have some chemicals like surfactants (which I'm sure most of y'all have never even heard of). But I'm trying to be more aware of what types of products I'm putting on my body.

I wanted to end by saying that not all chemicals are bad. If so we wouldn't be able to enjoy things like citric acid, cholecalciferol, or dihydrogen monoxide. While these things might sound scary they are common household items that you've probably come in contact with. Citric acid is found in lemons, cholecalciferol is Vitamin D and dihydrogen monoxide is water. As the old saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover so let's not judge chemicals by their names either! We just need to become educated about them!

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