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The Story of Skin Deep

Friday, July 11, 2014


It started with a simple question – how many personal care products do people use every day?

It turns out that when Jane Houlihan, then EWG’s vice president of research, asked this question 10 years ago, she was starting a movement that would change markets and inspire healthier living. 

EWG’s research showed that people apply an average of nine personal care products and 126 unique ingredients on their skin daily – from shampoo to sunscreen to makeup. Until then, most people did not give the chemicals in their personal care products a second thought, believing that the government was policing their safety. But as they learned from EWG, the government does not require long-term safety studies or pre-market testing for most of the ingredients in these products.

EWG decided to take on this public health issue. If we’re exposing ourselves – and our families – to hundreds of chemicals, don’t we have a right to know what they are and if they’re safe?

EWG launched Skin Deep in 2004 to inform people exactly what was in all those bottles and jars. The database’s first release rated 7,500 products and almost 7,000 ingredients. Today, Skin Deep rates 70,000 products and almost 11,500 ingredients. We’re so proud of how far Skin Deep has come over the past decade that we’re spending the entire month of July celebrating this milestone! Click here to visit Skin Deep’s anniversary page and join the festivities.

To learn more about how Skin Deep started and evolved, how it changed the marketplace and consumer habits and current government policy on the chemicals used in personal care products, read the Story of Skin Deep.



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