Skin Deep

Ever wonder what’s really in your personal care products? Toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion … we all use them, in varying quantities. Statistics suggest women use about a dozen different products every day, and men use at least half as many. The part that gets worrisome is the fact that the FDA in the United States operates under an “innocent until proven guilty” premise, meaning that anything you slather on, rinse with, or ingest (kissing someone with lip gloss on will do the trick, guys) contains thousands of chemicals that are not regulated at all, until there is a problem. Unlike Europe, where parabens and phthalates (the most toxic, controversial chemical classes) have been banned due to their proven carcinogenic effect on lab rats, the U.S. uses these chemicals freely and abundantly. Since we can’t very well stop using any personal-care products, the good folks at Skin Deep, a nonprofit watchdog group that investigates chemical usage in cosmetics and personal-care products, have created a Web site with a hefty searchable database of what chemicals go into which products, and when to be alarmed. Definitely worth checking out.