The short answer to that question is YES. Sadly. When it comes to health, it’s not just about what we put in our bodies that matters. It’s about what we put on our bodies, too. Our tips offer ways you can reduce your breast cancer risk with safer personal care products.
1. Read ingredient labels It is perfectly legal for companies to use ingredients linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive harm in the cosmetics and personal care products we use every day. Avoid these ingredients as well as our Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Chemicals of Concern linked to cancer and other harmful health effects.
2. Don’t be fooled by natural and organic claims These words have little meaning in the largely unregulated personal care products industry. Natural doesn’t always mean safe (for example, lead and arsenic) and not all synthetic ingredients are harmful. The “FDA Certified Organic” seal only applies to food – not personal care products.
3. Check the “fragrance” If you use fragranced products, scan the ingredient list for “fragrance” or “parfum.” This one word can signal the presence of a cocktail of ingredients that may include dozens or more potentially harmful, unlisted chemicals, and can be found in the majority of all personal care products. Check our Glossary of Exposures and our Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Chemicals of Concern for toxic ingredients to avoid, and shop brands that are committed to full ingredient transparency. The same goes for “flavors.”
4. Revamp your beauty routine Ditch your old daily routine and replace it with safer cosmetics and personal care products. If it’s too much to do all at once, switch over one product at a time.
5. Use Online Tools to Find Safer Products Clearya, a free web browser extension and mobile app, notifies you about unsafe ingredients in personal care and cleaning products while you shop online at Amazon, Sephora, Walmart, iHerb and Love Letter. Know what’s inside your products with Clearya! Also, apps like ThinkDirty and EWG’s Skin Deep database rate personal care products for safety and toxicity to help identify harmful ingredients in products as you shop.
6. Use products with the MADE SAFE® seal MADE SAFE® is helping to make it easier to find safer products by labeling them with a special seal. Learn how they certify the safety of personal care and other consumer products, and where you can find them.
7. Choose safer hair and nail salons
Look for healthy nail and hair salons in your community that use safer products. If you can’t find a healthy nail salon in your community, bring your own nontoxic nail polish.