Horst Rechelbacher’s world-transformative mission began before he was old enough to legally drive. He was 14 when an apprenticeship in the beauty industry paired with his charisma and creativity propelled him to the top of the hair styling competition circuit. He went on to start his own salon and product lines, including Aveda. What began as a batch of clove shampoo he concocted in his Minneapolis kitchen sink at a time when organics were considered a frivolous fad, evolved into what remains one of the world’s most esteemed beauty product lines.
In addition to creating his own organic hair and skin products, Rechelbacher championed campaigns to raise awareness of potentially cancer-causing ingredients in beauty products throughout his career. He died of complications of pancreatic cancer on Feb. 15 at age 72, but his legacy trumps on.
In recent years, numerous cosmetics and haircare makers have reformulated their products to remove toxic chemicals, such as the commonly used preservatives known as parabens. While evidence is limited regarding the link between parabens as carcinogens, according to the American Cancer Society, trace amounts of the chemicals have been found in breast cancer tumors. Because parabens have estrogen-like effects, they may also contribute to other hormonal cancers, such as ovarian. The Environmental Working Group considers parabens and other ingredients prevalent in cosmetics, such as DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium-1, phthalates and musks, downright dangerous.
“What goes on our skin is often absorbed into our bodies, and that’s certainly the case with chemicals in personal care products.” — the Environmental Working Group
Just as cosmetics, skin and haircare products can enhance your appearance and wellness, quality personal lubricants can enhance your sex life, increasing sensual pleasure and staving off vaginal dryness and irritation–but all lubricants aren’t created equal. Proclaimed “natural lubricants” may seem safe, but many contain parabens and other potentially toxic ingredients.
Phenoxyethanol, which commonly preserves and adds fragrance to lubricants, may cause skin irritation and, in high concentrations, contribute to organ system toxicity, says the EWG. Silicone and petroleum lubricants can interfere with skin health. They may also contain impurities, which raise your risk for a variety of conditions, including cancer. If you’re prone to yeast infections, glycerine-containing lubricants may trigger flareups.
You may not feel compelled to speak up the way Rechelbacher did regarding toxic ingredients, but you can make a difference by becoming more aware of the risks and purchasing nontoxic lubricants. In doing so, you’ll not only protect you and your partner from possible health risks, but support companies that are making a deeply positive difference, like Aloe Cadabra.
Aveda.com: Discover Aveda
American Cancer Society: Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk
Environmental Working Group: Tell Revlon and L’Oreal to Stop Using Dangerous Ingredients!
Environmental Working Group: PHENOXYETHANOL
Environtal Health Perspectives: A Question for Women’s Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants
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