The importance of nature-inspired bio-actives on this Earth Day

This beautiful planet, called Earth, is not only our home, but millions of other species as well. Mother earth offers its love to every single creature by providing shelter, food, and other basic needs. By inheriting the psychological hedonism behavior, we humans have caused prodigious harm to the earth's ecosystem. World’s deadliest pandemic such as 2009 H1N1 swine flu, 2003 SARS coronavirus (SARS - CoV), and  COVID-19 have a clear relevance to ecological imbalance. Similarly, degradation of soil, elevated pollutants in the air, increased water & soil toxicity, and deaths of aquatic mammals are also the results of human activities.

Each year, Earth Day is celebrated as a reminder to curb our harmful actions and take a responsibility towards the wellbeing of this earth. Since earlier times, the cosmetic industry has been thriving with the use of ingredients that have harmful effects on marine and wildlife.

Scientists have time and again shared serious concerns about the toxic impact of certain ingredients used in personal skin products on marine life. Most of us do not even know about the harmful effects or certain ingredients while buying daily skin care products.

The need of the hour is to opt and inspire others to switch to cruelty & chemical free products for a happy environment. There’s no better time than present to take a pledge to buy skin care products that contain bioactive ingredients. 

So the next time you walk down the skincare aisle, make sure to avoid below-given skin care ingredients and rather look for safer alternatives.

Top 4 common skin care ingredients that are harmful for the environment

 Top 4 common skin care ingredients that are harmful for the environment

 

1. Oxybenzone

You might be unaware that certain chemical ingredients in your sunscreen can be quite toxic to the water bodies. Oxybenzone is one such component, which is commonly used in chemical sunscreens, and other skin care products such as soaps and body fragrances. 

A research study published in Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology in October 2015 have also concluded the deadly effects of this UV sunscreen filter on coral panula. Several studies have also found that oxybenzone causes DNA damage, reproduction abnormalities, and other deformities in corals. Not only this, they are also associated with hampering the growth of green algae in the underwater ecosystem. Additionally, in humans this compound penetrates into the deepest layers of your skin, which causes hormonal disruptions and potential damage to cells. 

Alternate option that is harmless

We all know that applying sunscreen is important to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Given the above scenario, it is best to nontoxic oxybenzone alternatives. As per skin care experts, sunscreens that contain Zinc and Titanium oxide are considered safe for humans and non-toxic for marine life.

2. Sulphates

    Have you ever read “sulphate free” on the labels of shampoo bottles? Sulphate is another skin ingredient to avoid, which is used widely in cosmetic industries. One of major components in shampoos and household cleaning products, foaming effects of sulphate can cause skin irritations and damage to the protein structure of your hair strands.

    Till now, several researches have indicated that bioaccumulation of this chemical has raised the risk of serious toxicity in fishes.  Environmental health insights  has cited a research pertaining to adverse effects of SLS on environments and human health. According to a survey conducted by American Chemical Society, traces of siloxanes in soil, plants, and phytoplankton have been reported in Antarctica.

    Alternate option that is harmless

    Refraining from sulphate laden shampoo products would be equally beneficial for your hair and earth. Luckily, there are sulphate free shampoo and conditioners available in the market, which are safer alternatives. 

    3. Parabens

    If you buy products that contain parabens, then be prepared to face the troubles they carry along. Parabens are preservative ingredients used in cosmetic products that offer a longer shelf life by preventing the growth of microbes.  However, over the last few years, use of parabens has been a safety concern. 

    Used in a wide array of products such as moisturizers, shampoos, foundations, creams, etc, the daily use of skin care products containing parabens has been found harmful to both humans and the environment. Some researches have revealed that parabens are also linked to an increased risk of early puberty, reproductive disruptions, and breast cancer.

    Parabens exert a very toxic impact on our environment. Similar to silicones, the presence of parabens in fish bodies has been known to cause reproductive and immune system dysfunctionalities. A research study in Environmental Science & Technology has stated the accumulation of parabens and their by-products in dolphins.

    Alternate option that is harmless

    While buying skin care products, don’t forget to check its ingredients to know if it is paraben-free. Paraben-free on a label usually means that it does not contain methylparaben (E218). However, it is also mentioned under these names such as alkyl parahydroxy benzoates, propylparaben or butylparaben.  By keeping an eye out on product level, you can help to prevent more harm to both your skin and earth.

    4. Exfoliating microbeads

      Many cosmetics and personal skin care products available in the market contain microbeads. These are basically non-biodegradable, tiny plastic particles, ranging in size from roughly 0.1 µm upto 5 mm. Microbeads are exfoliating or abrasive agents, which are found in soaps, facewash, and toothpaste, etc.

      Several environmental research studies have indicated a serious threat to water bodies through microbeads, since it is not easy to remove tiny plastic particles from the environment. Another study surfaces the serious threats of microplastic pollution in laurentian great lakes of the united states.

      Alternate option that is harmless

      Considering the damaging effects of microbeads on marine life, environment, and human health, it is better to avoid their use. If you are looking for mild exfoliating properties in your face wash, then AHA based face cleansers are the better option.

       

      Knowingly or unknowingly, we all have bought such chemicals laden products and put the life of marine mammals at stake. Now the time is to join hands and individually define our role in preserving our beautiful earth.

      Whenever you use, personal care products such as shampoo, sunscreen, moisturizers, body wash, give a thought if they are rendering harmful to other species. Water drained off after use makes its way to rivers, oceans, and lakes and absorbs inside the bodies of water.  On this earth day, let us switch to eco-friendly skin care ingredients and make this earth a better place to live in true words.

       

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