How to Make Your Summer Beauty Routine Safer for Your Health

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by Ashley Welch

With summer right around the corner, could the things you’re doing to get your body beach-ready be harmful to your health? Research shows that many personal-care products include toxic ingredients that when absorbed through the skin or inhaled are potentially dangerous. Here are a few products worth adding to your cart the next time you go shopping to assure your summer beauty routine is as safe as can be.

Sunscreen – We all know sunscreen is the most important thing to remember to throw in our beach bag. But how do you know if you are using the safest one? Though sun tan lotion is meant to protect us from the sun’s harmful UV rays, the lotion your skin is absorbing may be putting dangerous toxins into your blood stream. Watch out for the ingredient oxybenzone, a chemical found in many sunscreens. When absorbed through the skin in significant amounts, this chemical is associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions. Instead, try sunscreens like All Terain Aquasport Sunscreen, SPF 30 or Espicencial Sunscreen, SPF 35, which contain zinc and titanium dioxide, ingredients that do not easily penetrate the skin.

Nail Polish – Who doesn’t want the perfect pedicure before hitting the beach? But make sure your nail salon uses nail polish with the safest ingredients. Try the lines Priti NYC and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, which do not contain three of the most toxic ingredients found in many nail polishes: toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde. These ingredients may put pregnant women at risk of having complications with fetal development, disrupt thyroid function and irritate the respiratory system.

Moisturizer – With short shorts and slinky tank tops, smooth skin is an absolute necessity in the summer time. But stay away from lotions containing vitamin A (also referred to as Retinyl Palmitate on ingredient labels). The FDA recently released data stating that when vitamin A is applied to skin in the presence of sunlight, it may speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions. Also avoid scented lotions, which are associated with allergies and potential effects on the reproductive system. So keep your vitamin A moisturizers for nighttime, and slather on a fragrance free moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher when you go out during the day.

Spray Tan – With all the warnings out there about the dangers of the sun’s UV rays and hazards associated with tanning beds, spray tans are obviously the safest way to get that gorgeous summer glow, right? Maybe not. The sprays cloud the air with tiny particles, called nanoparticles, which, when inhaled get into the bloodstream very quickly. Research is being done to verify what effects these microscopic particles may have. In the meantime, use an unscented sunless tanning lotion that does not contain vitamin A.

Hair Care Products – Chlorine, heat, humidity. There are so many things that damage our hair in the summer. But could your shampoo be one of them? Possibly so, if it contains coal tar or DMDM Hydantoin. These ingredients are commonly found in anti-dandruff shampoos, which may potentially cause allergic reactions and even cancer. Try all natural shampoo that include ingredients like coconut, shea and lemon grass, like Alaffia Enriching Shampoo, which naturally bring moisture to your hair and scalp. Also avoid shampoos and conditioners with fragrance and any styling products that are in the form of a spray for the same reasons mentioned above.

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