Did you know the skin is the body’s largest organ? The skin (including nails, hair, sweat, and oil glands), makes up about 8 pounds of an average adult’s total body weight. Although the skin is our body’s largest organ, the products we use daily that directly touch our skin are often not assessed for toxicity. 

In fact, the U.S. has not passed a law that regulates the contents of personal care products since 1938. Many of the personal care and beauty products on the shelves contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, which should not be in contact with your skin.

While you might have thought of biohacking as a way to enhance your overall well-being, personal care, and beauty routines are also important to consider. Biohackers that are concerned with what their skin absorbs can switch to natural or non-toxic makeup and personal care products, focusing on using products without dangerous chemicals. Today, there are more brands than ever before that have committed to using eco-friendly and non-toxic ingredients to enhance your beauty routine.

Why You Should Care

You might be thinking: “Why should I care?” Many people often assume that if a product is on a shelf in a reputable store then it must be safe. This common misconception leaves many people exposed to chemicals every day. 

From soaps to toothpaste to lip gloss, the ingredients you use in personal care products that touch your body matter. While these substances may not cause harm in small doses, over time they can cause damage to our hormones, and therefore other bodily functions. 

When it comes to beauty products, it’s also important to remember that everyone reacts differently. Those with sensitive skin or specific medical conditions may need to develop individual ingredient preferences, also based on personal values. Creating a non-toxic beauty routine may take time and patience. However, once you’ve found brands you trust, shopping for beauty products becomes much easier!

What to Avoid

Once you become aware of the toxins found in your beauty and personal care products, it’s easy to know what to avoid. One common chemical found in many products is known as paraben. This chemical acts as a preservative, often used in cosmetics to help prevent the growth of mold or bacteria. Unfortunately, research suggests this chemical can disrupt a person’s hormone balance with prolonged exposure.

Parabens are just one of many chemicals to steer clear of in cosmetics. Other commonly found chemicals, such as phthalates, synthetic fragrances, talc, and formaldehyde can cause a host of new concerns, ranging from potential carcinogenic effects to skin irritation.

It may take some time to learn how to properly read an ingredient list on cosmetics and personal care products. Often, many of us have never even looked at the ingredients in these types of products. Although these products are not consumed orally like food, their chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, hair, nails, etc., and cause equal harm.

Non-toxic beauty products including various powders, oil, and leaves.

What to Look For

Many tools are available to help biohackers easily identify products with safer ingredients. Using products with botanical extracts and mineral pigments offers a great alternative to chemical-based products. Other safe ingredients include Vitamin E, Hyaluronic acid, and Glycerin.

As more people become aware of the ingredients in their personal care products, brands continue to adapt to meet consumer preferences. More brands are available than ever before that offer safe and effective personal care products without the use of chemicals. Furthermore, resources such as the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database are available to break down the ingredient lists of many products, helping to guide your shopping.

Making the Switch to Non-toxic Beauty Products

Making the switch to non-toxic beauty products doesn’t need to happen overnight. After all, you likely didn’t acquire everything in your makeup bag in one day. Those who are interested in changing to a cleaner routine can slowly start replacing products with safer alternatives. After addressing your makeup bag, you can also look into safer hair care and skin care practices and products.