How many of us pay attention to ingredient lists to make sure all ingredients we put on our skin are safe? I always assumed that the US had humans and the environment's best interests in mind, and it wasn't until recently that I learned how much harm fillers and synthetic preservatives have on our body and the environment. Did you know the American woman uses an average of 12 personal care products daily containing 168 different chemicals, and the American man uses an average of 6 personal care products daily that have 85 different chemicals? We are in direct contact with fillers and synthetic preservatives more often than we might think which is why it is important to know your ingredients.
But what is the purpose of fillers and synthetic preservatives? According to Dr. Dendy Engelman, fillers bind the product, save money, create volume and texture. Synthetic preservatives are supposed to kill any bacteria so your products can last longer. But, and there’s a big but, many if not all synthetic preservatives are considered toxic in large amounts, even if currently believed to be harmless in small amounts. Besides that, a lot of them are not biodegradable, polluting our waters and soil. If we can make wholesome products that can self preserve naturally, synthetic preservatives are not here to serve us, but to cheapen and scale the production and consumption of products that value profit over our planet and health.
Most common synthetic preservatives
If you’re wondering which fillers and synthetic ingredients are the most common, you’re in the right place.
- Parabens are the most widely used synthetic preservative to prolong the shelf life of a product. It is also effective for fungal protection in many beauty products. Parabens are known as endocrine disruptors, which means they throw our hormones off balance. In the case of parabens, the imbalance comes from their ability to mimic estrogen, which leaves us more prone to developing ovarian or breast cancer.
- Formaldehyde Releasers are used to prolong the shelf life of a product and prevent bacteria growth. Formaldehyde Releasers can cause certain types of cancer like leukemia.
- Organic acids are used to fight against most fungi. Don’t let the word ‘organic’ fool you, these ‘organic’ acids are oftentimes made synthetically. Organic acids like benzoic acid and sorbic acid, have the ability to cause severe allergic reactions. This must be one of the reasons why many wellness products instruct us to try it out on a small area of our body first.
- Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical used in many beauty wellness products. It is also a known endocrine disruptor (link to ingredient post), and contributes to making certain bacterias antibiotic-resistant.
Why are fillers and synthetic preservatives bad for your health and the earth’s health?
How do these fillers and synthetic preservatives affect the earth’s health? If the select few we are diving deep into have such a large and harmful effect on the human body, you can just imagine the toll it takes on the environment. Parabens can kill coral which is essential to supporting a vast variety of marine life. There has also been detection of parabens in surface waters, sediments and fish - and don’t forget we consume fish, indirectly consuming parabens in our diet! Formaldehyde also affects aquatic life with its toxicity. It can make marine life sick, reduce their lifespans and affect their ability to breed effectively. Triclosan is more times than not washed down the drain because of the products that use the preservative (hand cleansers, laundry detergent etc.). When washed down the drain the synthetic preservative causes long-term negative effects on the oceanic environment. Fillers and synthetic preservatives don't biodegrade which means they will remain in the ocean and soils causing irreversible change which leads to accumulation and it can change the biochemistry of all aquatic life - from the algae to the dolphins.
At Circular Bodies we use ZERO fillers and synthetic preservatives
Circular Bodies stays away from anything synthetic fillers and synthetic preservatives. We want our products to be safe for both you and the environment, and we know the earth provides us with everything we need, without the addition of unnecessary synthetics. We believe in causing minimal impact while committing to quality in everything we do. We believe in the power of wholesome, natural ingredients. Everything we need is already provided to us by the earth, we just have to listen to it and remember that taking care of our health and planet can be simpler than we think.
At Circular Bodies we use some natural methods to ensure our products have a shelf life of about 1-2 years. We never mix oil, water, and sugar together, that mixture causes products to turn rancid quicker. Instead, we separate water and oil-based mixtures to allow our products to be enjoyed for a longer period of time. We also use self-preserving plants like tea tree oil to help increase the shelf life of some of our products. Also, bar soaps never need preservatives, they age like wine.
Benefits to using naturally-occurring ingredients
All ingredients used by Circular Bodies are non-toxic and 100% biodegradable, keeping you and the earth as happy as possible. We do not want to leave a negative, long lasting or irreversible mark on the planet. We believe in circularity and the fact that humans are part of nature, not separated from it so we need not destroy it, without an earth there are no humans. To us this is simply the way to do things, but doing the right this is often overlooked. We hope this post helped you create awareness and hopefully read your labels when choosing the next products you buy for your body needs. To check out our offerings, click here.