Beware the well-known face wash products marketing answers to your teenager’s acne problems. They may work but at what cost?
This product swap is a lesson not only for us as parents but for our teenagers too. It also highlights the problem with the ingredient Triclosan and a few other questionable ingredients which can be found in face wash products marketed to teens.
I remember a visit to Kmart with my twelve-year-old daughter and an ensuing argument in the beauty aisle when she wanted to grab some Clearasil Face Wash because “everyone uses it”!
Even when I was young, Clearasil and pHisohex face washes were marketed to us as the solution to acne. Now there are even more that fill the shelves of supermarkets and pharmacies – Clean & Clear, Biore and Neutrogena to name a few.
If you look closely at the ingredients list on these products they look like a science experiment not something you would want to put on your skin – especially our teen’s skin!
These product ranges wouldn’t be so popular if they didn’t work, and the marketing hype helps, but it’s important to look at the big picture.
How often and for how long is the face wash being used? What ingredients are in these products that are unsafe or considered toxic. Is there enough research on the long term effects of using them daily?
Let’s focus on Triclosan which is the key ingredient in pHisohex
When you search Triclosan on the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) website who rate ingredients in products there are 238 entries* on this one ingredient – much more than most other ingredients.
Why? Because research has shown that even low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. It hs also been linked to liver and inhalation toxicity. It’s also an environmental hazard since wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical, sending it into lakes, rivers and water sources where it is very toxic to aquatic life.
Triclosan is anti-bacterial which is why it is used in face washes for acne, as well as soaps and body washes. It is also added to some toothpaste. It is one of a number of ingredients found in beauty products identified as an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC).
As explained by Choice, ” Many substances affect our endocrine systems. When ingested (in food, for example), absorbed or inhaled into the body, these substances interfere with the production, action and/or elimination of our naturally present hormones.”
Studies have confirmed EDCs may be a cause of health disorders such as low semen quality and fertility in young men, neuro-behavioural disorders associated with thyroid disruption in children, and endocrine-related cancers among others. In some cases, EDCs account for their increased incidence, too.
The long-term effects continue to be researched and debated, however in 2017 the FDA (American Food And Drug Administration) banned Triclosan in hand soap and it is also banned in the EU classed as a known carcinogen. This resulted in reviews in Australia over the use of Triclosan and other EDC in products. However, it is still found in face wash products such as pHisophex, along with many other products in Australia.
This is worrying. More research may be needed but if there are any concerns around a chemical ingredient why not just avoid it!
This is not the only concerning ingredient in teenage face washes. The brands I have mentioned also contain other unfavourable ingredients including SLS, PEG, Parfum/Frangrance and Phenoxyethanol – and very few ingredients naturally sourced!
Today you can find a wide variety of face washes that effectively treat teenage skin without the nasty chemicals.
Teenagers today (like all of us) are dealing with enough toxins in the body that we can’t control so why add another layer when we don’t need to.
Natural face washes developed specially for oily and acne-prone skin should be your first choice before opting for the chemical-based brands, as well as considering lifestyle factors that can also affect a teenager’s skin.
I started my son using 808 Dude Face Wash in his early teens (pictured). Not only does the packaging appeal to boys but more importantly it is formulated to balance skin so pimples don’t have an environment to flourish. This face wash also contains essential oils that have healing qualities to rid the skin of any spots, heal scars and stop further outbreaks.
808 Dude Face Wash has antibacterial properties thanks to guarana and ginseng botanicals rather than opting for chemicals like Triclosan. Priced at $14.95 this face wash for teenage boys won’t break the bank and can be supplemented with their Spot Free Gel, a targeted treatment containing antibacterial Australian Manuka honey.
One product doesn’t work for everyone, and by the mid-teens acne issues may require experimenting with different natural products. I shared some brands teenage boys will love recently and there are even more on offer for girls.
Not enough chemicals used in products are researched and regulated.
As Safe Cosmetics explains ” With scant regulation in Australia, consumers need to be aware that current legislation does not protect their health. In fact, there are no pre-market regulations that stipulate mandatory testing of chemicals prior to sale in Australia.” This is why we need to look a bit closer at what we are putting on our skin and on our family’s skin!
Buying a face wash for our teenagers is an opportunity for a real-life lesson in understanding ingredients in products and the effects on their health now and in the future.
So beware the term “anti-bacterial” unless from natural sources, look out for Triclosan on the ingredients list of products (see the tips below from the EWG) and beware the marketing hype like the below statement selling Phisohex!!
The pHisohex difference is its powerhouse ingredient, triclosan – the scientifically-proven weapon against the two main types of bacteria associated with acne and pimples. pHisohex fights bacterial growth on the skin and helps remove dirt and oil from blocked pores. It’s strong stuff, and smart as well – because it’s also pH-balanced, it won’t dry out your skin.
* Searched in Sept 2020