Africa. Let's Talk Chemicals (the bad ones).
We're getting into this because it's something we talk about a lot but there is still a strong air of mystery for what actually constitutes 'bad chemicals' in skincare. Now, we don't necessarily think these will kill us and we're definitely not keen on green washing as we personally love a good skin-nourishing chemical, but we know that many people have suffered bad reactions from ingredients that just really don't need to be in products. The only reason they are in most cases, is because they are cheap, synthetically made in place of natural ingredients and very high margin (oops yes, we just exposed the industry!🧐)
Did you know, the European Union has banned over 1300 chemicals in skin care products? We actually have them all printed out in our office! As everything is a virtually a chemical, it's not surprising that some banned substances are naturally-occurring so we're not saying nature is always the right answer but it definitely makes sense to do your homework on certain ingredient labels to make sure you aren't unknowingly irritating your skin!
Some of the main chemicals (mainly used in skin care industry) that are banned in the EU include,1,4 dichlorobenzene, acetic acid, chloroacetamide, chlorphenesin, triclosan, phthalates, sulphates and parabens.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of products sold in Africa include at least one of these ingredients, not to mention synthetic fillers and fragrances. 😭
A lot of products sold here never make it onto European shelves because of these old traditional mass manufactured products using a number of banned ingredients. We can't just limit this to Africa though, the US is just as big of a culprit when it comes to low standards in the personal care market only banning under 10 chemicals (!) and contrastingly, a lot of questionable US products make their way to African shelves. As most of you probably know, regulation is questionable over here and the annoying thing is, they either lack entirely or are simply at the other end of the spectrum being entirely burdensome and often not fit for purpose.
It's all really crazy but one thing is for sure, it's time for us to all take more interest in what a brand is actually using in their products and in turn, what we're using on our skin.