skincare products harm. range of skincare products holding in hands
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How skincare products cause more harm than good

By Sanjoli Arora

Skincare products are meant to protect and more often, accentuate our beauty. But in reality, they are a cause of concern. They harm more than do good, not just to us but to the planet as well.

We break down this article into three parts focusing on three areas that are severely affected by our skincare products – you, them and the planet.

You

Skincare products are targeted at an end-user – us. Currently, we are much more beyond the basic skincare regime containing oils, soaps and creams. The list of skincare products in our beauty closet is endless and growing each day.

While skincare products started as a medium to protect our skins from harmful environments and chemicals, today it is a billion-dollar industry. The industry runs on a ‘feel-good’ factor and manages to sell us tons of products every year. This addiction gets stronger, thanks to likes and comments on social media.

Skincare products have definitely evolved over the years. For every skin problem, there is a product as a solution. Acne, blemishes, scars, dark circles, uneven skin, anti-ageing, the list goes on. With the launch of a new product, a new secret ingredient enters the market. This is where the real damage lies.

More often, these ‘revolutionary ingredients’ contain chemicals in the form of acids. They are not just complicated to pronounce but also to produce. While every product is tested before it hits the shelves, it may not suit every skin type or tone. If you use a skincare product to solve one issue, it may result in causing another problem.

Logo for vegan friendly products
Look for natural or vegan- friendly options.

Solution

Go, natural baby! An all-natural skincare regime may feel impossible but never say never. Start one product at a time. Re-evaluate its need and analyse whether you can slowly let go of it. Check and research more on the long list of ingredients. Most of the products do have a natural solution or a not so heavily induced with chemicals alternative.

Of course, for specific rigorous skincare issues, customised products may be the only solution. In that case, opt for vegan-friendly options. But don’t forget, beauty is skin deep.

Them

Now and then an expose comes along accusing a notable skincare brand of animal testing. We read, think of blacklisting the brand, but then they apologise, and we buy the apologies. Isn’t it time we do a bit more? After all, we share this planet with so many beautiful creatures that deserve chemical-free lives.

Animal testing in the beauty industry dates back to as early as 300 BC. The reason why it is continued is that animal skin is closest to human counterparts. However, opposition by animal rights activists and organisations like PETA has now paved the way to alternatives like in vitro screens.

Despite strict measures and checks, brands and companies still manage to get away. This begs us to ask the question, are beauty products even worth it despite the harm to animals?

Cruelty-free skincare regime makes everyone happy.

Solution

Honestly, we live in times where finding cruelty-free products have never been more comfortable. If you want to go a step further, there are several vegan skincare options as well. Our list of beauty brands should help.

Remember to check the labels and do a quick search about the brand’s history concerning to animal testing before making your next purchase. Our fellow beings will be so happy :).

Planet

Skincare products harm to the planet is probably the most significant, whether it is chemicals that mix with water and hurt aquatic life or the depletion of groundwater resources.

The most significant harm is in the form of plastic packaging that the skincare industry relies on heavily. You see our current skincare products are packaged in plastic bottles that are not easy to recycle. As a result, they are tossed in the landfills or cause cluster dumps in the environment.

Often the plastic packaging is designed for one-time use and not refills. Think about the number of shampoo, conditioner or cream bottles you have used in the past six months. Now multiple that for 8 billion people. That number depicts just half a year’s numbers; a lifetime will be too big to handle.

Reduce plastic waste by choosing to refill.

Solution

Buy plastic-free alternatives as much as you can. Bars are your new best friends, whether it is a soap, shampoo or conditioner bar. Besides that, look for refill stores or options. This way, you do not end up buying and collecting more plastic bottles.

In case you do end up with plastic bottles, think of creative ways to reuse or recycle it.

The skincare products and the industry will continue to cause harm unless we take action a demand a change. So don’t just change your habits, demand a change in how things work as well.


Sanjoli is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Fashion Journalism. She has contributed to publications like MensXPMindless Mag and Sustain: The Mag in the past. Sanjoli enjoys writing and reading about fashion. She is currently trying to live more sustainably.

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