The Environmental Working Group is a popular site for research into ingredients and skin care products. They maintain a database called Skin Deep that ranks products and ingredients with a health score. 0 is safest.

However, there are known problems with the submission process and rankings of products. For example, at time of writing, a search on “Clove” returns a huge number of clove based ingredients with health rankings from 0 to 8. EUGENOL, which is 85% of clove oil gets a 7-8 rank, whereas EUGENIA CARYOPHYLLUS (CLOVE) ESSENTIAL OIL is ranked a 0.

Inconsistencies exist for product rankings as well – a Walgreens sunscreen lotion with ingredient scores ranging from 0 thru 9 is give an overall 3 ranking. A Dr Hauschka all natural sunscreen with 1 ingredient ranking 8 (Fragrance – from essential oils), is ranked 7 overall. In light of these issues, Lavera is only selectively, and slowly submitting products.

Despite these issues, EWG & Skin Deep still provide an excellent resource for those wanting to learn more about skin care related health issues and ingredient concerns. In addition, the EWG is an excellent advocate for consumer health and safety.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was founded by the EWG, the Breast Cancer Fund and others as an advocacy for women’s health. It has conducted a number of great studies and does an excellent job to raise awareness and effect change in the skin care industry. A read of their press releases is extremely educational! Also check out some of the studies they produced – for example “A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick”.