When it comes to body care most of us are guilty of not scrutinising the ingredients list the way we do with stuff we put on our faces. That has an impact on both our skin and the planet. Here’s what to avoid…
Unless you carry around the periodic table and an encyclopedic knowledge of chemicals or have hours to spend googling every ingredients list, chances are you’re a bit blurry on what you should be looking out for when it comes to kind body care.
However the contents of what we’re lathering onto our bodies is important for both your skin and the planet. From making sure you’re not using something that aggravates sensitive skin to ingredients that affect wildlife after you’ve washed it down the drain, here are the key offenders you should be avoiding and why.
Chances are you’ve heard of parabens and know that they’re not the best for your skin without knowing exactly why.
Parabens first became popular in the 1950s and are an artificial preservative added to lots of skincare products and cosmetics to prolong their shelf life.
Great for not having to replace your bathroom shelves, less great for your skin.
Studies have suggested that parabens mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body, causing hormone disruption and skin inflammation.
The preservatives are equally damaging to the environment, with scientists reporting finding traces of parabens in marine mammals, including dolphins, sea otters and polar bears.
Phthalates first started knocking around in the 1920s as an additive to PVC and products including insect repellant.
If that wasn’t enough of a red flag, the group of chemicals are now used in plastic to make it more malleable as well as in hairspray, nail varnish and even flooring.
You’ll also commonly find phthalates as a lubricant in soaps, shampoos and shower gels.
There have been multiple studies carried out on the effect on phthalates suggesting possible links to hormonal imbalance as well as reproductive and developmental issues.
Luckily it’s not hard to find responsible products that avoid using the chemicals.
Sanex Zero% shower gel is formulated without harmful chemicals like phthalates and is also free from sulfates, soap and colourants meaning you can scrub in confidence.
The formula is also 99% biodegradable while the packaging has been made with reduced plastic to reduce the impact on the environment.
Butylated hydroxytoluene, more commonly known as BHT, is a preservative and artificial antioxidant found in everything from make-up to skincare to food.
BHT is used to counteract oxidation, a chemical reaction caused when an element is exposed to oxygen - for example an apple turning brown after being cut into.
In skincare BHT is used to combat deterioration of products like moisturisers, cleansers, lipsticks and foundation caused by free radicals (unstable molecules which contribute to cell damage and cell death).
BHT is controversial as studies on animals have linked the preservative to promoting tumours in some cases.
Long-term exposure to high doses of BHT in mice and rats was also seen to cause liver, thyroid and kidney problems and affect lung function.
While it’s worth noting that BHT levels are usually very low, it’s an ingredient worth giving a miss.
Grab any shower gel and chances are you’ll find a form of sulfates on the ingredients list.
That’s because the chemicals are a cleansing agent that create the frothy lather we’ve all come to associate with shower time.
Sulfates remove oil, grime and build up on the skin so that when you dry off you feel squeaky clean, but they can also be a problem for your skin, especially if it’s on the dry or sensitive side.
That’s because sulfates can strip your natural body oil, which can leave it feeling dry and itchy - a problem when it’s a product you’re using every day like shower gel.
Choose a sulfate-free shower gel like Sanex Zero%, which has been approved by the British Skin Foundation and is specially formulated with natural moisturisers and fewer chemical ingredients to avoid drying out your skin.
Care for your body with Sanex Zero%. The range is kind on your skin and the planet with a biodegradable formula, moisturisers of natural origin and fewer chemical ingredients. Shop the range below.