Top tips for safer products – Tweens & Teens

Teens use cosmetics. Sometimes lots of them. From hair gels and straighteners to eye make-up, body wash and lotions. And then some! Knowing which ones are healthy — and which ones aren’t — is important. Why? EWG found that adolescent girls’ bodies are contaminated with chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and body care products. In fact, we detected 16 potentially toxic chemicals — phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks — in blood and urine samples from 20 teen girls. Studies link these chemicals to potential health effects including cancer and hormone disruption.

To make matters worse, teens may be particularly sensitive to exposures to hormone-disrupting chemicals, given the complex role they play during puberty – precisely when girls typically experiment with an increasing number and variety of body care products. When we surveyed them, our teen study participants reported using an average of 17 personal care products each day, 40 percent more than an adult woman.

Teens can easily make safer choices by reducing the number of body care products they use, viewing marketing claims with skepticism, always checking the ingredients for toxics (a good lifelong habit!), here are the top tips from the EWG:

Acne products Avoid:

  • Triclosan
  • Parabens
  • PEG/cetearetj/polyethylene
Perfume, cologne, and body spray Avoid:

  • Diethyl phthalate
  • “Fragrance” (listed as an ingredient)
Make-up Avoid:

  • Loose powders
  • Vitamin A (listed as: retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate) in skin and lip products

Choose:

Sun protection Be sun smart! Sunburns in children and teens increase your risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer–melanoma.Avoid tanning beds. Tanning booths expose the skin to 15 times more UV sun. The use of tanning beds before age 30 can cause a 75 percent increase in melanoma.
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