THE TRUTH ABOUT CLEAN BEAUTY: NOT SO CLEAN AFTER ALL
Clean Beauty, or the so-called natural skincare, is a huge and growing business. Over the years, the Clean Beauty movement has demonized a long list of skincare ingredients, deemed to be "dangerous" for our skin and general health. Truth is, dermatologists have collectively argued that clean or natural does not necessarily make certain products safer or more effective than others.
Some examples of the banned ingredients include petrolatum, parabens (or other formaldehyde releasers), propylene glycol, fragrance, chemical sunscreens, and the list goes on.
Firstly, petrolatum is a highly recommended ingredient by dermatologists, especially for patients with skin barrier disruption. It's a well-tolerated, safe occlusive ingredient and its affordability makes it accessible to patients. Secondly, despite what the clean beauty movement led you to believe, parabens are actually some of the least allergenic preservatives available! Though it has been repeatedly linked to breast cancer, there is no scientific evidence linking parabens in cosmetics to cancer. According to Goop, “the worst offenders are preservatives that release formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen and potent skin irritant and allergen,”, studies have shown that this is indeed not the case, as preservatives most frequently implicated in adverse skin reactions are isothiazolinines, NOT parabens or other formaldehyde releasers! Lastly, the clean beauty movement also demonized the use of chemical sunscreen filters. The Environmental Working Group warns consumers against exposure to chemical sunscreen ingredients. It is true that recent scientific data provided evidence for systemic absorption of chemical UV filters, but currently, there is no data linking chemical sunscreen use to any adverse effects on human health!
Many so-called natural skincare ingredients can induce allergic contact dermatitis and in some cases, photosensitization. I have actually had experience with organic skincare products from a renowned brand. A lot of these products often contain essential oils and botanical extracts that can be highly irritating. As consumers, we should be aware of the misinformation circulating around, especially within the clean beauty community, as it can lead to higher rates of contact dermatitis and unnecessary avoidance of safe, effective ingredients.
Don't forget to check out my other blog posts here. Also, feel free to drop comments on your experience with clean beauty products down below :)
Till next time,
The Skin Press
Rubin & Brod. (2019). doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.2724
Lim et al. (2017). doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.12.043