Guest blog post By Erika Wilhelm, Marketing & Communications Lead at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.October is traditionally known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but for us at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCCP), it’s Breast Cancer Prevention Month! Currently, 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, a stat far too many of us are familiar with.
When I started working at BCPP, one of the things that surprised me was how much our exposure to toxic chemicals (beginning in the womb) influences the possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis. In fact, 90% of cases are NOT linked to genetics, but are linked to the “environment.” That’s why our science-based work focuses on eliminating toxic chemicals and other environmental exposures linked to breast cancer and other diseases.
Our process to improve the health of all people and the planet is threefold: policy + advocacy, education + engagement, and movement of industries. Let’s STOP breast cancer before it starts. And together we can save lives.
Today, I’m going to chat a bit with you on best practices and top tips for beauty and personal care products!
Fragrance DisclosureMy first practical suggestion is to eliminate fragrance or look for companies that fully disclose their ingredients. Fragrance (or parfum) ingredients are often secret and can cause breast cancer, birth defects, air and water pollution, asthma, allergies + more. The good news is this doesn’t mean you can’t wear or use your favorite scents. But it does mean you need to look at ingredients though! Luckily, Credo makes this easy with their Fragrance Transparency Policy.
At BCPP, we’re trying to take this one step further with our historic Safer Beauty Bill Package. This suite of four federal bills will make personal care products safer for everyone, and we invite you to learn more and support the bills. Take action today!
Don’t Get Overwhelmed–After my first day at BCPP, I came home, looked inside my makeup bag and around my house, then realized I had to switch out almost everything. But you don’t have to do it all at once! Use your products, and when you run out, find something safer.
Easy Changes You Can Make Today!
- Read ingredient labels! Check out our Glossary of Exposures, highlighting substances with the strongest evidence linked to breast cancer.
- Don’t be fooled by “natural” claims. “Natural” may mean something or very little in the largely-unregulated personal care products industry.
- Also, check your beauty, dental, home, and menstrual care products for hormone-disrupting chemical ingredients, like parabens and phthalates. Over time, exposure to these ingredients can affect hormone systems in your body. Checking ingredient labels helps you know what you’re putting on your body and breathing in your home so you can make safer choices.
- Toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer have been found to accumulate in dust, wet mopping helps remove dust without stirring it up into the air where it can be inhaled. Clean your house with a wet towel. You’ll capture more grime in your house by dusting with a wet towel, and it won’t stir up dust.
- Take off your shoes at the door Taking your shoes off before you come into the home prevents tracking in hazardous chemicals like phthalates, phenols, flame retardants and PFAS.
- Reduce plastic usage. Plastics can leach harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates, both endocrine disruptors linked to cancer, into your cosmetics, food and beverages – and in turn – into you. We especially suggest avoiding polycarbonate plastic (resin code 7) and food packaging treated with PFAS.
- If you’re one of the 1 in 8 who has been diagnosed, BCPP has created a resource guide for you as well, located here.
What’s Next?Choosing safer products is a lifelong process, and our goal at BCPP is to make this easier through advocacy and policy reform. Visit our Action Center to help push forward legislative priorities to keep you and your family safe! As you start to get into the groove of finding new products and replacing the ones you have, continue to visit bcpp.org to stay up to date on the latest science. Plus, our Tips for Prevention are always a quick, easy, resource.
Here at BCPP, we share in Credo’s philosophy of safer beauty, and a few of us have picked our favorite products. Maybe you’ll discover something new!
Angela Ng, Development
Innersense Organic Beauty Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner: My hair was really damaged from bleaching it, and I need to use a pretty intensive hair mask as my conditioner. I was pleasantly surprised that on the days I was too lazy to use that hair mask, this leave-in conditioner performed just as well! Pleasant smell, easy to apply, and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
One Love Organics Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover: When my face is feeling especially grimy from the day, or when I’ve put on makeup, I always like to first wash off the residue with a cleansing oil and then follow with my regular cleanser. This is oil nice and light, gentle but effective, tropically scented, and a little goes a long way.
- Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm: Sometimes you want just a little pop of color on the face. This multi-tasking tinted balm is great for the lips and cheeks. The color options are so pretty, the product blends well, and it gives a dewy look to the cheeks. For the lips, I like to apply a lip balm/gloss under/over for extra moisture.
Nicole Parker, Business Partner Manager
- HATCH MAMA Belly Oil: This oil has gotten me through my pregnancy! This oil keeps my skin smooth and smelling amazing. It’s my new post-shower luxury treatment!
- Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum: I wanted a retinol-alternative for a number of reasons, and this one from Herbivore did not disappoint! I love all their products for their effectiveness and amazing (and fully disclosed!) scents.
- Kosas 10-Second Liquid Eyeshadow: Did anyone else spend the early 2000s applying glitter eyeliner?? With this product, I can channel all my metallic dreams, while not stressing about scary ingredients getting in my eyes. (Pro tip: you can use the edge of the applicator for an eyeliner look!)
Erika Wilhelm, Marketing & Communications Lead
- Osea Undaria Algae Body Oil: Say see you later, to thirsty skin! I use this body oil daily. I love how enriching it is and how silky smooth it makes my skin for the day. Put some on straight out the shower or lather up any time your skin feels dry or itchy.
- Ursa Major 4-in-1 Essential Tonic: You know that feeling when you put something on and for a few moments time stands still, and your energy just refreshes? Well, this simple yet essential tonic is just that for me. This is definitely in my daily rotation of beauty products and never fails to restore my skin back to its natural pH level.
- Ilia Liquid Light Serum Highlighter: This is one of my go-to staples before I hop on a Zoom call. If you’re looking for a dewy, fresh face with a beautiful glow that is seen naturally on camera, try this highlighter!