I was at Ulta, the cosmetics store this week, browsing for a new facial cleanser when a woman who worked there came over and asked if I needed any help. I told her what I was looking for, a detoxifying cleanser that was preferably charcoal based to even out my skin tone. She said she has something even better and brought me over to the Peter Thomas Roth skin care products (apparently a higher end brand) and showed me his cucumber facial cleanser. Of course, being the educated consumer that I am, the first thing I did was turn the bottle over and look at the ingredients. Typically, with skin care products there are a few ingredients that I don’t recognize but at the bottom of this four-inch list were two ingredients I defiantly did: yellow #5 and green #3. I put the bottle down and said I prefer to use something with more natural ingredients and without artificial dyes or coloring. This, to me seemed like a perfectly reasonable request. After all, there’s no practical reasoning for including these dyes in the product (it’s just a “cucumber” detox cleanser and I guess they wanted it to be green).
The lady at Ulta looked at me, slightly annoyed and said, “you know that’s not going to harm your face right?”
I knew at the point we had a philosophical difference of opinion that was probably not going to be overcome any time soon. I thanked her for her help and left the store and I spent the next hour wishing I had said, do you know for sure that’s not going to harm your face?” or “why would you buy a product that has ingredients that serve no purpose other than marketing?”
Would it be harmful to my health to use a facial cleanser with artificial dyes in it? Probably not. It’s the mindset behind it that bothers me. Why would you use something with artificial dyes that have even the smallest possibility of being harmful when you could just…not. Same thing with things like parabens, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, etc.
It’s the same mindset behind all of these things, “moderation isn’t going to kill you”, or “there’s no evidence that these are harmful”. I’m over hear saying, “there’s not enough evidence for me that they’re not harmful” or its simply against my intuition to put things like that in/on my body. Frankly it gives me the creeps to put artificial colors on my skin, especially when it’s so easy to just not do it.
I’ve seen what it’s like to die of cancer. It’s horrible and ugly and often painfully, devastatingly slow. I’m not saying that artificial dyes, sweeteners or even GMOs cause cancer but if it’s even a remote possibility that they could disturb health in any way, I choose to avoid them whenever possible. There’s so much in our environment that we can’t control, why wouldn’t you limit your exposure to unnecessary, potentially harmful crap whenever you can?
I’ll take my cucumber facial cleanser with real cucumbers over dyes thank you very much.