On World Environment Day, we need to resolve to inculcate good habits for the sake of protecting the environment. You need to read the labels of your makeup and skincare products before purchasing them. This practice is necessary not only to ensure that they do not harm our skin but to avoid environmental damage too. However, we are not aware of the ingredients that can adversely affect Mother Earth. They can damage coral reefs by polluting water. They can even float in the air and cause breathing problems.
Dr Nivedita Dadu, a renowned dermatologist, spoke to Health Shots, to list various ingredients that we aren’t aware of but cause too much damage to the environment.
One of the most common ingredients found in all the sunscreens is oxybenzone. It helps to protect the skin against damage but at the same time, it is very harmful for the environment. Oxybenzone found in sunscreens can actually kill coral reefs around the world. It can also affect the DNA of the plants and animals living in the coral reefs that can disturb their growth. While you should not avoid using sunscreen, but you can switch to the ones that contain minerals like zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the active ingredient.
According to Dr Dadu, “Whitening creams are all kinds of problematic. Especially the ones with silicone are terrible for the environment. This silicone that is found in whitening creams are not only bad for the skin, but can pollute water and air. While siloxanes aren’t regarded as dangerous for humans, those with lower molecular weight are easily absorbed into the skin but can affect our skin and environment.”
Some exfoliating scrubs contain plastic beads which when washed down the drain can end up in our water bodies and harm marine life. Today, many exfoliating scrubs available in the market use polyethylene microbeads as scrubbing agents. Which can pollute the water bodies and oceans.
“Scrubs contain up to 350,000 microbeads that go directly into the water bodies, where fish eat them. Instead of this, start using chemical exfoliators or scrubs with natural exfoliating scrubs. Choose an exfoliant that contains natural exfoliating agents such as sugar or salt,” says Dr Dadu, who is also the founder and chairman of Dr. Nivedita Dadu’s Dermatology Clinic.
Deodorants contain air-polluting aerosols, hydrocarbons and triclosan that are not only bad for the skin but also for the environment. Especially triclosan which is commonly used in a variety of antibacterial products such as hand cleansers and deodorants. When we flush these harmful chemicals into the water bodies, triclosan present in these products can change the biochemistry of amphibians, fish, and aquatic plants.
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Synthetic fragrances are sensitizing and that they cause skin irritation, but using products with synthetic fragrances is extremely harmful for the marine environment too. These synthetic fragrances go in our rivers, oceans, and lakes and decrease an organism’s natural ability to protect itself from toxins. Instead of these, choose products that specifically mention ‘no synthetic fragrances’ on their label.