Green vs. Greenwashed: Hand Hygiene

father and daughter handwashing
Photo from the CDC via Unsplash

The skin care industry is heavily greenwashed, with claims of natural, organic, and clean products to help you achieve a healthy glow. This is especially pertinent in the time of covid-19, in which frequent hand washing and sanitizing can lead to skin irritation without proper care.

Unfortunately, only 11 ingredients are restricted from personal care products in the US, compared to nearly 600 in Canada and over 1400 in the EU. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database helps fill in this gap by using the most recent data to rate thousands of personal care products and brands. The strict criteria analyzes transparency, data availability, and toxicity on a scale of 1-10, with ten corresponding to products of greatest concern and one as least concern.

We searched the database to find truly green alternatives to the array of greenwashed products found on store shelves so you can prevent the spread of germs without causing harm to your body or the planet. The following are also certified businesses of Green America’s Green Business Network, meaning they have passed our rigorous standards for both social and environmental responsibility.

Hand Soap

hand soap from love beauty and planet and Dr Bronners

Love Beauty and Planet certainly seems like it’s making the right statement, but it’s mediocre for healthy skincare, with a 5/10 from EWG. Dr. Bronner’s {GBN} bars got EWG’s best score and offers options for people who prefer unscented.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer from Mrs. Meyers and Spadet

While Mrs. Meyer’s cute packaging may market cleanliness, this product’s score is just okay 5/10 from EWG. Spadét {GBN} hand sanitizer won’t dry out your skin and is made with healthy ingredients.

Hand Cream

hand cream from JR Watkins and Be Green

J.R. Watkins hand cream has a long list of ingredients that are not all that great, only scoring 5/10 from EWG. Be Green Bath and Body {GBN} is also certified by EWG for it’s green-ness, so try this nourishing hand cream.
 

Finding Soaps and Sanitizer

During the covid-19 pandemic, businesses across the country are working hard to stay open while meeting the needs of the community. While hand sanitizer disappears off the shelves at big box stores, many small breweries and distilleries are making hand sanitizer using formulas recommended by the World Health Organization. Additionally, seek out small soap makers to support on the Green Pages or visit your local farmers market to find a local soap company.

From Green American Magazine Issue