PTFE or Teflon (yes, the same one coating your non-stick pan) is a plastic-like compound used in makeup, skincare, and hair products as an anti-slipping/bulking agent. Basically, it gives products a smooth, slippery texture.
Teflon may be listed on labels as: Teflon, Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, DEA-C8-18.
WHY WE AVOID IT
DAMAGING TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Fluorinated chemicals like Teflon don't break down in the environment – they’re found in oceans, local waterways, and in animals, fish, and people. They’ve even been found in super remote regions in the polar ice caps.
How does this happen? Let’s say a face wash with PTFE is washed down the drain – it then enters our waterways and gets ingested by fish, which eventually end up on human plates. Once it enters the body (human or animal), it just continues to accumulate, never breaking down.
The PTFE products that aren’t washed down the drain wind up in the landfill, where they can either seep into waterways or be incinerated. This is extra concerning, because PTFE releases toxic gases into the atmosphere when burned.
Up until a few years ago, PTFE was considered especially hazardous due to potential contamination with PFOA (a suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptor). In the last couple of years, PFOAs have been phased out and replaced with similar compounds. Despite this change, PFOAs are still found in 99.7 percent of U.S. adult’s bodies since the compound never breaks down.
So, is the updated Teflon totally safe: The short answer: probably not. The compounds (PFASs) that replaced PFOAs have similar safety concerns and have been linked to many of the same health concerns. The Environmental Protection Agency says: "there is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans."
The truth is, we all have different ingredient standards and we fully believe in choosing whatever feels aligned for you. The bottom line for us: none of these potentially harmful ingredients are necessary to make stunningly beautiful, super effective cosmetics – so WHY use them at all? Why not instead use skin-loving, nourishing, glow-giving ingredients that are actually good for the skin? There’s just no reason to use anything potentially harmful (or anything less than amazing for your skin) in our view. #goodvibesonly
DAMAGING TO THE SKIN
Teflon (PTFE) attracts damaging free radicals to the skin and causes inflammation. Chronic inflammation can slow the skin’s ability to heal itself, speeding the formation of wrinkles and exacerbating other skin conditions like acne and acne scarring.
We #justsayno to any ingredients that could wreak havoc on our skin, our health, or the environment. We choose only good vibes ingredients that nourish, illuminate, and glowify our skin from within. Read our full Ingredient Code here.
INGREDIENT REGULATION IN THE U.S.
While more than 16,000 ingredients are used in cosmetics, only 11 are banned in the U.S (compared to over 1300 in the EU and 500 in Canada). And while you’d think that the other 15,989 have been evaluated for safety, the truth is, they haven’t. Cosmetic companies can use any ingredient they like without any proof or testing of its safety. Only after many reports of negative effects will the FDA step in to evaluate a product’s safety.
In the EU, on the other hand, manufacturers have to undergo pre-market safety testing to prove that a product is safe before it reaches the shelves. Seems like basic common sense, right? That’s the baseline level of ingredient and safety regulation we’d like to see here in U.S.
“Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA.” - The FDA
Unfortunately, as it stands now, it’s up to consumers to decide which ingredients are safe, since there’s no regulators taking care of that for us.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR CLEANER, MORE TRANSPARENT BEAUTY
As consumers and brands, we can communicate what’s important to us to our local and federal government officials. Write to your local senators about:
- Giving more authority to the FDA: As of now, the FDA has almost no authority to regulate cosmetics.
- Passing legislation supporting great ingredient transparency and safety testing. Several ingredient safety bills have been put forward, but so far none have been passed.
Thanks for tuning in and for supporting ingredient transparency and #betterbeauty overall!
- ĀTHR Beauty xo