Why You Should Know What’s in Your Beauty Products

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Story Updated: Sep 10, 2012

The skin is the body's biggest organ. And everything we put on our skin eventually makes its way into the bloodstream.

That may not sound like a big deal, but perhaps you'll feel differently once you check out the ingredients list on your lip balm, where petrolatum (a petroleum derivative), for example, may play a key role. According to the Skin Deep Database, compiled by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, petrolatum is classified as "expected to be toxic or harmful." The good news: The database lists many products without this ingredient.

Beauty products are not regulated by the government, which means that many of your favorite personal care products may contain unsafe ingredients. The Skin Deep Database contains ingredient information on more than 75,000 products. Simply type in the name of the product, and you'll have instantaneous access to the full ingredient list with a breakdown of those that are the most dangerous according to an examination of the research by the organization's staff of scientists. You'll also get a number rating the overall safety of that particular product: A product rated 0-2 is safe, one with 3-6 represents moderate hazard, and anything with a rating of 7-10 you should steer clear from.

Want a list of the safest products in a particular category? Just type in the category name. There are also lots of informative articles on cosmetic safety in case you want to learn more. And a special section on sunscreen spotlights those that are safest -- and most effective.

Isn't it time you knew what's in the products you use everyday?