It may come as no surprise to you that most skin care products today are created using toxic ingredients. What may shock you, however, is how many of these products are labeled as “non-toxic.”
How can this be?
Read on to learn how you can be armed with awareness and know the difference between so-called “non-toxic” and truly ToxicFree© skin care products!
Skin Care Chemicals 101: Isn’t There a Law Against That?
Imagine you are a “modern” woman living in the year 1900. You don’t want to use your mother’s skincare routine, which typically consisted of lotions and tinctures made from home-grown ingredients whipped together in the kitchen sink. Instead, you want what all your friends also want: prepared and packaged skincare creams, lotion, and sprays available en masse for the first time ever.
Now skip ahead roughly 40 years. It’s the 1930’s and a lot has changed. The Elizabeth Ardens and Helena Rubinsteins of skincare’s “pioneering days” have blossomed into dozens of products lining local pharmacy shelves. Along with variety comes more man-made ingredients. Consumer safety becomes a hot topic which eventually turns into legislation.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FDCA) was passed by Congress in 1938 and prohibited the sale of personal care products and cosmetics created with any “poisonous or deleterious substance” or any “filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance.”
Sounds like a great early start for consumer health and protection in the U.S., right? Well, not quite.
Fast-forward to 2023. The typical American woman uses roughly a dozen different personal care products per day. Inside each of those products are dozens of ingredients, many of which are toxic.
What’s more, of the thousands of man-made, hazardous substances for use in personal care products and cosmetics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has restricted a mere 11 over the course of the last 85 years. To this day, the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 remains the only federal regulation by which the American personal care and cosmetic industry is required to abide.
The “Non-Toxic” Label: A Lesson in Vagueness
It is within this bleak historic backdrop that the term “non-toxic” began to pop up on labels for everything from laundry detergent to skin lotion.
What exactly is “non-toxic” and who created it?
The term came into being by industry marketers in response to increasing consumer demand for safer, cleaner products. In general, it usually indicates an arbitrary set of harmful chemicals a company decides to leave out of the product. It does not, however, indicate what they may decide to leave in. In addition, there are no specific laws, regulations, or regulatory bodies that come along with a “non-toxic” label. It is left to each individual company to follow their own moral compass when it comes to defining what “non-toxic” means for them.
Proprietary laws also protect manufacturers from divulging specific ingredients to their consumers. Because of this loophole, most simply clump potentially harmful ingredients into other terms, especially the illusive word “fragrance” (or even “natural fragrance).”
There are over 3,000 different chemical compounds available for commercial skin care manufacturers to choose from when making their name-brand “fragrances.” A report put out by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, in conjunction with the Environmental Working Group, found an average of 14 unlabeled chemicals in the ingredient called “fragrance” in the majority of name-brand skin care and cosmetic products.
What companies consider “toxic” (and thus may leave out of a product) can be suspect as well. Most manufacturers use guidelines put forth by an organization called the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to determine which potentially “toxic” ingredients should be left out. According to the CPSC, a substance is considered toxic if it causes death within 14 days in more than 50% of the animals used to test it.
Let’s examine this a little further.
Does this mean that if a substance causes death within 14 days for 48% of the population, or if a substance doesn’t cause death, but creates suffering and illness (that will eventually lead to early morbidity), it is considered safe by the CPSC? It would seem so.
I don’t know about you, but in my book, any substance that creates a harmful effect (either short term or long term) in any life form should not be used in skin care products, period!
“All Natural” and Other Labels
What about all the other labels we have become accustomed to seeing on skin care product labels, such as “natural, “100% natural,” “all natural,” or “organic?” These designations are also made-up creations by industry marketing firms for the most part. According to the Environmental Working Group (E.W.G.), many products that have these labels have ingredients connected with neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and even cancer.
Here is a list of potentially meaningless, hype-driven terms to watch out for the next time you go shopping:
- Natural /All natural / 100% natural
- Organic / 100% organic
- Certified Organic WITHOUT the official USDA/FDA seal
- Patented Technology
- Instant Results
- Moisture Locking
- Maximum or “Clinical” Strength
- “For All Skin Types”
- FDA Approved (FDA only approves drugs that change the structure of the skin)
- Hospital-Grade (or packaging that leads you to believe it is, such as having a American Red Cross-like looking symbol on the packaging)
FTC Settlements Tell the Tale
If you are still holding on to hope that your commercial “non-toxic” products are all that they claim to be, consider these US Federal Trade Commission cases that made headlines within the last 10 years.
The first had to do with Trans-India Products, makers of the ShiKai brand and its “All-Natural Hand and Body Lotion” products. These products can be found in pharmacies and health food stores nationwide. In 2016, the FTC filed suit regarding false claims on ShiKai’s “All-Natural Hand and Body Lotion” because the product contained dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, and ethyhexyl glycerin. The preservative substance phenoxyethanol has been linked to reproductive issues when absorbed through the skin.
Another FTC case has to do with Rocky Mountain Sunscreen (owned by Erickson Marketing Group) which claimed all-natural ingredients on its “Natural Face Stick.” It was recently cited by the FTC because in reality the stick contained many potentially harmful man-made ingredients including polyethylene, a form of plastic linked to neurotoxicity. Rocky Mountain’s “Natural Face Stick” was sold at Walgreens and other chain stores until recently.
Of course, these two cases are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the misuse of labels and the harmful ingredients hiding behind them. Suspicions have also been raised by independent organizations regarding Target’s Up ‘n Up brand (and in-store “Clean” labeling system) and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” products.
In addition, in 2021, the “Method” brand (a subsidiary of SC Johnson that puts out both home cleaning and personal care products) paid $2.25 million to consumers and was required to discontinue “non-toxic” and “natural” labeling. Harmful dyes, fragrances, synthetic preservatives like isothiazolinone and long term hormone disruptors such as Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) were found in some of their cleaning products.
CHARLÍS Luxury Skincare: The ToxicFree© Difference
Industry-created labels such as the ones mentioned above are about marketing, and not much else. In contrast, there is one designation that we here at CHARLÍS stand behind 100%. It is the ToxinFree© label created by our partner and formula designer, visionary skincare developer and health advocate Linda Chae.
“The term non-toxic was admitted into the cosmetic industry to try to overcome any shadow about there being chemicals in the products. [It] literally means ‘tested on animals and has only caused less than 50% of them to die’,” says Chae. “That’s as toxic as it gets! Don’t confuse that with CHARLÍS labels. The seal on CHARLÍS products means an independent organization, the ToxicFree© Foundation, has examined the products for ingredients [as well as the] manufacturing processes and found there is not one thing toxic that could in any way impact health to a human being, an animal, our children, the fetus in the womb, the water, or the trees.”
You can learn more about Linda Chae and the ToxicFree© label in this interview.
You will see the ToxicFree© label on all CHARLÍS products. CHARLÍS ingredients are also created with wild-harvested living ingredients that are non-GMO. These are ingredients designed to help your skin, not hurt it. All CHARLÍS products are also sustainably sourced, 100% vegan, and American made. CHARLÍS products are never tested on animals.
Armed with knowledge and awareness, you can choose products that help, not your hurt, your skin. Here at CHARLÍS, we are on a mission to create a better, healthier world. We create skin care products based on natural, living ingredients that help your beauty shine!
Beauty is more than skin deep. We want you to love your skin, and the CHARLÍS line of luxury skin care products will help you feel confident in your healthy, beautiful, radiant skin. For information on how to order the best skin care products on the market, please visit https://charlis.beauty/.