this one goes out to all the guys. our partners, our dads, our uncles, our nephews, our friends and other babes who have inspired us. where would we be without them? we want to help keep them healthy, and re-evaluating their skin care routine (or potential lack thereof) is a great place to start.
men have historically been portrayed as strong, brave and thick-skinned (literally), but their skin is no thicker than women’s... especially when it comes to exposure of chemicals. the reality is that chemicals in our grooming products don’t discriminate, they enter all our bodies through our beautiful skin, where they have no business being.
“on average, men use 6 products a day, women use 12 products. there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ingredients being exposed to our bodies,” says lily tse, the founder of think dirty, an app that helps educate consumers on cleaner options. with that in mind, here are six simple reasons to help the men in your life switch to cleaner options.
reason #1: we know these chemicals are getting into our bodies
we often think of skin as a barrier to the outside world, but much of what we put on our skin can end up in our body. some blog posts estimate that up to 60% of what we put on our skin can be absorbed by the body—and this percentage can increase when we’re in a hot shower, some say. but we all use different products made with different ingredients that may contain chemicals with different absorption rates, making this nearly impossible to estimate.
beyond all these estimates, here’s what we do know: chemicals commonly found in grooming products—like phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone—get into our bodies and show up in our urine (and who knows where else!).
reason #2: chemicals in grooming products can affect men differently than women
links have been made between environmental toxins, like BPA, phthalates and other chemicals and male health.
these conventional products being marketed to men can include nasty chems that score 8 on think dirty (this means they’re no-go):
men's face scubs can contain formaldehyde-releasing chemicals that are not only skin irritants, but also known carcinogens
men's body washes and cleansers can contain butylated hydroxytoluene (aka bht), which poses a particular concern for men’s hormones
men's shave gels can contain triclosan, which is disruptive to men’s hormones and a known threat to aquatic creatures
reason #3: there are fewer clean skincare brands and personal care products marketed to men
the guys in our life may not buy as many clean grooming products as women do, but that doesn’t mean that they’re less impacted by the chemicals found in them. men use 6 products daily that contain 85 unique ingredients, on average.
that means that there are six opportunities (at minimum) to switch out his products for cleaner options. look for products that can do double-duty, like an organic toxin-free body scrub that can also be used on the face for an after-shave glow, a clean non-gmo body wash that can stand in for shampoo, and a paraben-free lotion that can be used on all his skin like his hands, face and the whole body.
reason #4: many men enjoy their grooming ritual
we're lucky because self care is becoming more inclusive—society is supportive of men taking better care of themselves, and this includes grooming. it's clear that more clean products and education is needed to help us all make healthier choices for our body. until that happens, show him that using clean skin and body care made with natural, toxin-free ingredients can be just as luxurious (and waaay more enjoyable than using conventional products). well-made natural personal care products just feel better.
reason #5: switching to clean skincare has research-backed benefits
we do have some good news: one study found up to a 45% decline in urinary concentrations of certain phthalates, certain parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone occurred after just 3 days of switching from conventional grooming products to clean body care products.
“to make sure you understand ingredients, use think dirty to check out products before shopping,” says tse. the think dirty app can make shopping for clean products so much easier. he just needs to scan the product barcode for easy-to-understand info on the product, its ingredients and cleaner options. helpful hint, anything that scores 0-3 is considered free of any harmful carcinogens or toxins, meaning you’re good-to-go, babe.
reason #6: we all deserve clean products
switching him to cleaner products won’t *just* benefit the amazing men in your life. clean, ethical products made with plant-based ingredients are better for everyone: our oceans, our rainforest, and if your products are leaping bunny certified (i.e. cruelty free), they are better for our furry friends. it's all connected. and don’t we all deserve clean, good-for-you skincare?
Berger KP, et al. Personal care product use as a predictor of urinary concentrations of certain phthalates, parabens, and phenols in the HERMOSA study. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Jan;29(1):21-32
Harley KG, et al. Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Oct;124(10):1600-1607.