There’s no great trick to clearing acne: reduce the oil, clean the dirt, and kill the bacteria. That’s it.
The cosmetics industry makes millions of dollars on products which are toxic to people, animals, and the earth, because they have successfully convinced us that man-made chemicals are necessary for managing acne. But it ain’t true! Even worse, they test these toxic products on Thumper, Bugs, and all the other cute cartoon bunnies you can think of. The battle against acne can be fought without harm to anything except the bacteria on your skin. With a little research, you can find non-toxic natural alternatives that are just as effective as their chemical counterparts, without the side effects, environmental hazards, and cruelty to animals.
First stop: PETA’s Caring Consumer website, with its list of companies that do and don’t test on animals. You don’t have to agree with everything PETA does to take advantage of this fabulous resource for cruelty free skin care shopping!
Stick to brands on the “Companies That Don’t Test on Animals” list and studiously avoid those on the “Companies That Do Test on Animals” list. You’ll find that this second list includes the vast majority of mainstream drugstore cosmetics and skincare products – Revlon, Maybelline, Neutrogena, etc. Don’t despair! Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, hundreds of other brands, even tiny boutique skin care companies, are available for browsing. If you’re like me, the elimination of all the obvious choices adds to the excitement and challenge. Shopping cruelty free is more fun!
Plus it’s an excuse to spend time shopping for make up and skin care products. That’s never a bad thing. Next stop: The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website, which lists all known health risks associated with cosmetic products and ingredients. It’s a great place to check out potentially harsh, harmful, and toxic ingredients, but it also reviews companies, brands, and products, rating them on a scale from 0-5 (Zia Natural Skincare Age-Defying Body Scrub Combination Acne = 1.0; Clearasil Acne Fighting Cleansing Wipes = 4.2)
You can also find which companies have signed the Safe Cosmetics Compact, pledging to replace toxic ingredients with safer alternatives. Buying acne and skin care products from these companies not only protects your own health, it also supports the production of safer cosmetics in the future.
The information is not always complete (for example, they list Queen Helene’s animal testing policy as “unknown” – QH doesn’t test on animals) and not always up to date (the site states the Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps don’t contain organic ingredients – they do), but for all the basic, there is nowhere better to look online.
Final stop: Drugstore.com, the ultimate dealer for bath and beauty product junkies. Here you can find untold numbers of products and reviews, and complete lists of ingredients from the packaging! This is awesome because any ingredient you don’t recognize, you can look up at Skin Deep, to check its safety.
Once you’ve tried a product, be sure to post a review at Drugstore.com, and include your research on the product’s toxicity and cruelty free status!