How Consumers Can Avoid Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Carla Burns Carla Burns

by Guest Blogger Carla Burns, Senior Director of Cosmetic Science at Environmental Working Group

Can you truly avoid harmful ingredients in your hair and body products?

Reading the label, finding out what ingredients are used in your products, and using resources like EWG’s database Skin Deep to learn more about ingredients is a good first step. Skin Deep is just one resource; however, there are other resources out there.

It can be overwhelming when you go to a store and look at the many, many different product options available to you. Skin Deep and the Healthy Living phone app are great tools for a quick, database search to find out what may be in a product or to help you find new products that do not contain potentially harmful ingredients. These types of resources can help you to really focus on making small changes to the products you use. Here are a few steps to navigate making product changes and avoiding harmful ingredients:

Making one change at a time:
You really want to start with small changes making one change at a time. Take a look at your entire routine. Don’t completely overhaul everything at once unless you were guided by a medical professional to do so. Otherwise start small. It’s more sustainable and you will likely stick with it if you make one change at a time. It’s also helpful to start small when you want to know what product works and does not work for your body/skin. If you overhaul your entire routine and end up having a skin reaction, it’s more difficult to identify which product may have caused a reaction. That is why it’s recommended to make one change at a time so you can make sure you like that product and it’s a good one to incorporate into your routine.

Focus on frequent-use products:
Also, focus on your most frequently used products. Look at your daily routine and see if there is something that you only use once a month that might not be the best place to start. If you want to find new products look for ones that you use on a daily basis or a regular basis.

Start with products used on large areas:
Take a look at products that are used on the greatest area of your body. Your skin is a protective outer layer but ingredients do absorb through and so you want to look at the products you cover the most area of your body–lotions, body washes, and things that you use from head to toe may have a bigger impact if they contain ingredients linked to health impacts and you switch them out then something that is only used occasionally on a very small part of your body.

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