Paraben Update: New Research on Beauty’s Most Problematic Preservatives

“Parabens,” the term for a group of preservatives used in mainstream beauty products, wasn’t always a dirty word.

In 2004, Dr. Philippa Darbre, a research scientist at the University of Reading in the UK, published a small but pioneering study that showed high concentrations of parabens in human breast tumors.

Women everywhere flipped over their moisturizers to read the list of ingredients.

Do You Have a Dirty Little Dietary Secret?
And Is It Called Diet Coke?

For lots of healthy types, the frequently stated fact that Diet Coke might be “empty calories” actually goes down just fine compared to office cupcakes, which they’re not regularly scarfing.

And reaching for a diet soda fits nicely into the “allowable-exceptions” category of a healthy New York lifestyle. You know, along with a glass of Sancerre, the occasional dinner at Eataly, and watching the Real Housewives.

But should you allow Diet Coke a free pass?

Are You Polishing Your Skin With Plastic?

Are you polishing your skin with plastic? You are if your favorite facial scrub contains particles made from polyethelene. It’s a common exfoliating ingredient in such popular products as Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Regeneration Cream Cleanser, the new Neutrogena Rapid Clear Foaming Scrub, and even Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub. Polyethelene beads are made from polymers of ethylene oxide (say that three times fast)—the same synthetic stuff used to make plastic grocery bags.

Ingredient Intelligence:
What You Need to Know about Fragrance

Fragrance is the problem child ingredient of traditional beauty products. Wild and wily, these molecules of scent can wreak havoc on your skin by causing contact dermatitis, a seriously red and itchy rash, or other allergic reactions like a headache or asthma. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. It’s up there with nickel and poison ivy, which most people know how to avoid.

The Most Toxic Cosmetic? Traditional Lip Glosses, Finds Study

You won’t see heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury listed on your beauty product labels. But that doesn’t mean your skin care and makeup is free of them. In fact, your best-selling Sephora lip gloss looks to be loaded with arsenic and other known toxins. A Canadian environmental group recently had 49 popular beauty… Read more »

Are Your Body-Care Products Just Watered Down Skin Care?

Most body-care products include just a drop of the high-quality ingredients typically found in ones for the face. That’s what Diane Ginzel learned when she bought her first skin-care dictionary on a quest to be a better label-reader. The Consumers Guide to Milady’s Cosmetic Dictionary became the skintrepeneur’s Joy of Cooking on her path to… Read more »

Cleaner Cleansers: Your Post-Cetaphil Skin-Care Regimen

It’s a buzzkill to discover that your favorite facial cleanser—and one that dermatologists love to recommend— is not so clean. But an increasing number of natural and organic brands are vying for a chance to purify your pores. To find them, you may have to have to look just beyond your neighborhood Duane Reade or… Read more »