If you’ve ever used any beauty products that were made in Europe you may have noticed the labels look a little different from what you usually see on American cosmetics and skin care products —specifically, what’s not on the labels.
While it’s common here to see long ingredient lists full of complicated and confusing terms, that’s not often the case in countries that are a part of the European Union (EU). Beauty products manufactured in the EU are held to very stringent standards—in fact, its EU Cosmetics Directive bans a whopping 1,328 chemicals. Now, compare that to the number of ingredients restricted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: 11. The vast difference in those two numbers means that American cosmetics and skin care products are free to use many ingredients that are forbidden in the EU—which could be detrimental to your health.
What’s the difference between the U.S. and the EU?
The EU regulations state that cosmetics manufacturers must avoid ingredients that have links to health issues such as cancer, birth defects, genetic mutation or reproductive problems; in addition, if a company wants to use certain ingredients it must get governmental approval first. In EU countries, skin care products are reviewed for safety and must be registered with the government before hitting the market. Animal testing is also banned.
On the other hand, the FDA doesn’t have to sign off on non-over-the-counter skin care products unless they contain an artificial color that needs safety approval. Beauty companies only have to ensure that they aren’t using one of the 11 banned substances, that their product is safe if used properly and that the label clearly states those directions for use. Manufacturers don’t have to provide their safety reports to the FDA.
That gives American manufacturers a lot of latitude, and the result is that there are several kinds of ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products here that aren’t used in the EU. Take parabens, for instance. These chemicals are mainly used as preservatives in cosmetics, but the EU has banned several of them and limited the use of others because research suggests they can be harmful to the reproductive and hormonal systems of the body. That’s also the case with phthalates, which can be found in products including nail polish, haircare and fragrances.
Formaldehyde is another problem chemical allowed in U.S. cosmetics that is strictly regulated in the EU. Formaldehyde, or a group of chemicals called formaldehyde releasers, is a carcinogen when inhaled and can also cause allergic reactions on skin, according to the Environmental Working Group. It’s generally used as a cosmetics preservative. Petrolatum and mineral oil are two other ingredients frequently used in American beauty products, in this case for their moisturizing properties. Both are derived from petroleum, and unless they are fully refined, they may contain compounds that have been linked to cancer. The EU requires any manufacturer using petroleum-derived ingredients to provide a complete refining history to ensure the purity of the product; there is no such regulation in the United States. Finally, the cleaning agents known as sulfates haven’t been found to have long-term health effects but are considered irritating to the eyes and skin—and that’s not necessarily something you want in a beauty product.
The DERMA E Mission
At DERMA E, we are proud to say that you won’t find any of these problematic—and potentially harmful—ingredients on our labels. It is our passion and our purpose to develop skin care that uses only the best and most beneficial ingredients and product formulations. With DERMA E products, you can be assured you are using 100% vegan and cruelty-free skin care that’s good for you and for the planet.
Our products do not contain petrolatum, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, mineral oil, artificial colors, gluten, soy or GMOs. We also make it easy for you to see what exactly is in our products, as every ingredient is clearly listed on our packaging and we have an ingredient glossary where you can get more information on what’s in our skin care products. At DERMA E, the emphasis is on natural, high-quality botanicals, antioxidants and vitamins that are good for your health while at the same time providing effective skin care results.
When we use these natural ingredients, it also benefits the environment. DERMA E products don’t contain chemicals that can have toxic effects when they enter into the air you breathe or nearby waterways or ecosystems. That eco-ethical accountability we bring to our products also extends to our packaging, which is designed to be recycled and not have a long-lasting negative impact on the environment by languishing in a landfill.
You should have high standards for your personal care products, and we share those same standards for quality. By using DERMA E products, you will get the peace of mind that comes when you limit your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. It goes beyond just having good-looking skin—you are focused on being as healthy as you can be, both inside and out.