Spring Cleaning for Your Skincare- Avoid Dangers Lurking in Your Home

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Warmer weather and bright sunny days are just around the corner, which spark one of our most beloved chores-Spring Cleaning. It’s a love hate relationship really. We hate to clean and re-organize our homes.  However, we love shopping for new things to fill the extra space, especially beauty products.

As you prepare for skincare spring cleaning, think SOS -Scan, Organize, and Streamline when it comes to what you’ll keep or toss.

Scan-Read the labels and check expiration dates.

First and foremost, start by doing a scan of your products. Be sure to get rid of anything that has expired and then start reading the labels for potentially harmful ingredients.

Two professionals in the skincare industry, Faith Frankenfield, founder of Faith Skincare and Tamara Baker, Skincare Specialist/Consultant help to breakdown confusion.

Faith shares, “Reading labels today can be confusing, and the majority of ingredients in the United States have never been tested for toxicity. Here are the top three categories of ingredients that I try to avoid when buying and formulating skin care products.”

Faith’s top three cautionary categories:

  1. Ingredients containing heavy metals, arsenic, lead
  2. Artificial Fragrance
  3. Formaldehyde & Parabens

Regarding the ingredients first on her list Faith tells us, “Hydrogen Octenylbutanedioate or Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate has traces of arsenic, lead and heavy metals which are known to cause birth defects, organ toxicity, or neurotoxicity.”

Exposure to products containing lead

Lead has caused concern with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA expresses caution about ingredients containing lead, specifically in eye cosmetics. In an FDA article titled “Kohl, Kajal, Al-Kahl, or Surma:  By Any Name, Beware of Lead Poisoning,” These Kohl based ingredients were tested to find significant amounts of lead.  This article notes that lead in eye cosmetics is especially dangerous for pregnant or nursing women and children.  FDA research on Kohl relates lead exposure to neurological damage, kidney problems and anemia.

Artificial Fragrance

Ranking as number two on Faith’s top three ingredients to avoid list is artificial fragrance.  She warns that use of products containing artificial fragrance may have harmful effects, “Believe it or not, artificial fragrance is one of the most dangerous toxins that are commonly overlooked in products. Artificial fragrance causes allergies and neurotoxicity, and would be listed on a label as Fragrance.

Formaldehyde and Parabens

As you go through your medicine cabinet or bathroom, skincare products containing parabens or formaldehyde may pop up.  There’s definitely a lot of buzz behind these two words in the world of beauty.  Faith and Tamara share their thoughts on these ingredients.  Tamara adds, “Today more than ever we are seeing almost an epidemic of “sensitive skin.” It can be caused by so many things, especially fragrance, sulfates, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. As for parabens she feels, “What I do think is concerning, parabens are recognized endocrine disruptors in the environment. Scientists are finding frogs and fish that are “sterile” and they believe it could be coming from all the parabens as well as the thousands of other endocrine disruptors that we wash down our sinks and showers.”

Faith notes, “These cause allergic reactions, immune system toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and cancer. Formaldehyde donors and Parabens preserve products, and are commonly found toward the bottom of an ingredient list. Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate, are examples of ingredients which release Formaldehyde. Examples of parabens are Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Isopropylparaben.


Now that you have more knowledge on what dangers may be lurking in your beauty products, use this information to organize your skincare routine.  Re-Organizing gives you a wonderful opportunity to get rid of things that are no longer working at their ideal effectiveness (old/expired products) or things that may not be best for your skin.


Education and constant evaluation is the key to streamlining what’s best for you.  Be aware of what’s in your beauty products and stay informed.  The FDA’s website (www.fda.gov) is a great resource to keep up with the latest in the world of cosmetics.  Tamara and Faith both offer advice on choosing the best products for you.

Tamara says, “My best advice is to have a balanced view and read the labels of the products you buy! I think it is great to be educated about the ingredients that are being used in your cosmetics but also be careful because there is a lot of misleading information out there. I have seen many companies use a “study” to scare the public, yet if you actually read the study you would find that some companies are twisting information to sell their particular products.  I think every person should purchase a cosmetic ingredient dictionary for quick reference. There are also valuable websites available for additional research such as: www.fda.gov and www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html.

Faith offers, “The United States is very results oriented, and we have been provided with many products that give quick results. The problem is that we end up sacrificing our long term health, to make us look good in the short term. These products might reduce the wrinkles in your skin, but usually contain chemicals that are harmful to your body and your skin. Natural and organic ingredients work well, and it is safer to use products that might take some time to give results, but won’t compromise your overall health.”

Contributor Info:

Gwendolyn Smith, founder and president of Beautevanna.com, an online natural beauty boutique and gift service. Gwendolyn is a certified Aromatherapist, specializing in the formulation of Aromatherapy products for well being.

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2 Comments for “Spring Cleaning for Your Skincare- Avoid Dangers Lurking in Your Home”

  • Wonderful article – I love that the ingredients are identified like that – I always wondered what those actually were – thanks!

  • Hi, nice post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for writing. I’ll certainly be subscribing to your blog.

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