Welcome back to the Duckish Blog! Today, we’re going to look at two of the best personal care resources for consumers, starting with the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The EWG is an American non-profit and non-partisan organization that aims to protect human health and the environment. Here’s their mission, as quoted from their website: “The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.”
In their effort to empower consumers, the EWG created Skin Deep in 2004. This database contains safety profiles for over 64,000 products from over 2,000 brands, and sources ingredient information from nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. Skin Deep assigns scores to products based on the safety of their ingredients, and also rates the availability of data pertaining to those ingredients. The best products have lower hazard scores and better data availability.
The easiest way to use Skin Deep is to download the app, which allows you to scan a product’s barcode and get its score right away. I think we’ve all stood in the aisle at the pharmacy and compared ingredient lists, not really knowing what to look for. Having safety information in the palm of your hand is without a doubt an empowering feeling as a consumer.
Skin Deep is not without its detractors. Like any status-quo-challenging endeavour, it has been criticized for various reasons, in articles such as this and this. However, many of these critics are industry insiders and consultants themselves, so they come to the table with their own biases. As always, in any discussion among groups with competing interests, evidence will be cited and conclusions will be drawn. Sometimes people come away from the very same scientific study with wildly opposing interpretations. The EWG’s mission, however, is to protect people and the environment, not the bottom line. That’s why we think it’s such a valuable resource.
It’s not the only game in town, though. The Think Dirty app is another great tool for concerned consumers. Using a different methodology but also basing itself on a wide array of non-profit and government sources, Think Dirty rates products on their overall risk to users’ health.
Whatever resource you use, we at Duckish naturally (!) think it’s important to help consumers make informed skin care choices. Stay healthy, my friends!