Be skeptical of: Nanoparticles, Nanomaterials or Nanotechnology
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Finally, be wary of products that advertise Nanoparticles, Nanomaterials or Nanotechnology, popular especially in sunscreens, where this new emerging technology has allowed scientists to break down ingredients (like zinc or titanium dioxide) into tiny particles. How small? A human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter. Problem is, these nanoparticles are so small that they can penetrate cell walls, including organ tissues. The FDA is currently looking into the risks of nanomaterials in cosmetics, especially sunscreens. Stay tuned.
"Pure" and "natural" might be the buzzwords of today's hottest products, but don't believe everything you read, says Stacy Malkan, author of "Not Just A Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry". In fact, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, because the personal care industry is unregulated, even the word "organic" can be slapped on products chock-full of chemicals that can be dangerous to your health and the environment. But who has the time to read through the laundry list of ingredients on the back of your products? If you do -- great. If not, use this cheat sheet to know what ingredients to avoid, and what ones are the best earth-friendly alternatives.