February 03, 2022 6 min read
Perverted is such a nasty word and the word care, a decided one. Webster defines care as close attention; heed a liking or regard for, CUSTODY; PROTECTION, RESPONSIBILITY, to feel concern.
When we attach care to the backside of any word, it exudes an element of comfort and devotion to self. Personal care, for instance, emits the sense we’re shielding ourselves from the detriment of our daily sins—stress, junk food, UV rays, cigarettes, too much sugar, and binge-watching Netflix for 48 hours.
I guess it was, therefore, only fitting to assert the personal care industry custodian over our necessary redemptive intimacies.
But has our measure for care been obscured? I believe so. Our reckless discard of trust in the Personal Care industry is spearheading a health crisis.
See, the industry has unapologetically adulterated care, and our health is its collateral damage. Yet many of us remain oblivious to the real cost, although science has provided exponential evidence of the industry’s dalmatian.
In 2004, the EWG tested the umbilical cord blood from newborns. The tests detected 287 synthetic chemicals, including 180 chemicals known to cause cancer in humans and animals. Deodorants, shampoos, tampons, lotions, are pumping our bodies with carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, allergens, and DNA altering chemicals.
In 2012, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme published a report calling Endocrine Disruptors “a major and emerging global health threat.”
Three years later, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics published it’s own recommendations, calling for “timely action to prevent harm.”
A little neglect may breed great mischief.
So how did we get here? The truth is, we allowed it—because flipping the dang bottle over and reading the formulation forcibly pushes us from ignorance towards the onus of responsibility. Or at least for some… “What in all that’s good is oxybenzone?” And many of us, just aren’t ready to care that much.
But maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps we do care. But about what or whom: our status, exclusiveness, the likes, making our face presentable to a world that hacks away at any meaningful concept of beauty? Maybe.
Let’s be uncomfortably honest—choosing health over whatever temporary fix a bottle of chemical misfortunes brings us, isn’t worth the disrupting the temporary fix.
And there lies the deeper problem, but it’s beyond the scope of this article.
The industry has managed to disassociate, even severed its relationship to matters of health because after all, “the dosages are way too small to do any harm.” Really? I think that talking point expired don’t you?
In the meanwhile, hair dye is barely linked to cancer and 74% of women who suffer from fibroids are just fine.
I think it’s safe to conclude that the buzz is minimal and well within the confines of our indoor voices, even though we are walking a straight line, giving the personal care industry seldom eye contact, as we follow influencers off a cliff.
We can’t just blame the detriment of our health on the fate of the unlucky draw.
But we can avoid falling into the perversion and instead hold care to its true definition. Here are some simple steps towards an unadulterated personal care regimen.
Focus on the inside condition for a permanent solution.
Scrubs, serums, lotions, potions, all promise a solution to the eruptions on our faces. But we can’t permanently resolve the plague with an eight dollar acne scrub.
The industry would be out of business if permanence were that effortless. For many of us, we would rather forgo the external evidence of our bodies screaming for change.
So we opt for “silence please” and slather on a dermatologist-recommended scrub hoping to quiet the inevitable truth our internal system is compromised.
Change is difficult. It’s work, it’s uncomfortable, it takes time, and often, the results appear worse before any hint of tranquility emerges. Trust me, I know. The greatest change I ever made in my wellness journey was relieving my life of chemical shit tricks.
But you can start with relieving your refrigerator and pantry of those food-like substances. The truth is that identifying the root problem is the most uncomplicated and satisfying route towards healing.
“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta
We can often complicate our personal care wellness with stubborn determination. So much so that those complicated mash-ups of ingredients, are for some, a strange and perverted measure of a product’s legitimacy.
We should ask ourselves, is the lack of pronunciation, the ignorance of definition, the combinations of letters and numbers a hazing into an exclusive club?
If not, we’re at least at a nightclub, because the industry darn well knows to type these eight-syllable words in google or engage in a pronunciation war with Alexa, would burn too many calories.
And yes, although consumers are more informed than two decades ago, the onboarding of transforming buying habits is a slow drip.
For instance, on a recently commissioned poll, only 22% of women opt for purchasing paraben-free products and only 18% say synthetic fragrances deter them from buying a product. While only 11% avoid products with mineral oil even though it’s a by product of crude oil.
But there are tools that can sway us towards change. THINK DIRTY is a simple app that puts us more in control of our personal care regimen. This app allows anyone to scan a product’s barcode and results in an overall safety rating. Think Dirty also provides information about each ingredient worthy of major side-eye.
Why do we compromise our health in the name of CARE? Why does a “natural” or “organic” label make all well with our souls even though the Clorox Company owns Burt’s Bees and DR. ANDREW WEIL FOR ORIGINS is loaded with synthetics? This leads to my next point—Social Media.
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves…it is not wise.”
The comparison culture that exists on social media platforms has pushed us far beyond Elle, Glamour, or Redbook’s narrow definition of beauty.
Welcome to the age of Beauty At All Cost.
Celebrities, influencers, and the social-media elite are submerging us with their paid sponsorships duties. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that 75% of marketers employ influencer marketing activities.
We worship the highlight reel of their carefully positioned life, and like Jack Nickolson, we draw one conclusion:
“I’ll have what she’s having.”
Who knew the click of a buy now button garnered the power to shrink the disparity between our reality and their staged one.
Perhaps even our self-talk is elevated and we think “Maybe I am somebody.”
I suggest we curb the Social Media. Studies contest that social media use can lead to body image issues. Instead, it’s time to deal with the underlying cause of our acne.
Scrolling through social media wishing to morph into someone else’s tinted reality, hoping to mimic their personal care portfolio, is not the answer.
Instead, let’s object to slathering toxic chemical formulation onto our bodies in the name of identity aspiration.
“Perfume is the most intense form of memory.” Jean Paul Guerlain
The word fragrance is draped in innocence. Parfum even more sacred because after all, it’s French. But over 3000 synthetic chemicals hide behind the word fragrance. Some of us may not be aware that fragrance is exempt from labeling requirements because it’s considered a “trade secret” and therefore, protected by law.
Therefore harmful ingredients such as phthalates, proven hormone disruptors, can be neatly tucked away in our personal care buys without us ever knowing the true danger.
And let’s not get giddy about the “Fragrance-Free” option either. Manufacturers can legally add unidentified ingredients (fragrances ) to mask foul toxic odors ( from other chemicals) and still label the product Fragrance-Free.
A lab analysis in 2002 tested seventy-two products, ranging from perfume to body lotion. Three-quarters contained unlabeled phthalates.
I suggest, avoiding products with fragrance in their formulation. Instead, pure essential oils are a nurturing substitute for synthetic fragranced formulations. Essential oils have a long history in the realm of aromatic, religious, and medicinal uses. These use are widely documented. The basics of essential oils are simple to learn and the benefits are multifaceted.
So don’t settle for the notion That personal care products are always safe. You deserve products that will serve your health, not steal it. It’s time to say YES to being your greatest advocate!