I title all of my review unbiased for one simple reason: I do not sell the products I’m reviewing. I do not gain anything whether or not you buy the products. I’m not bashing a company, I’m simply reviewing the ingredients within the products. This is not personal. This is education. People need to know what’s in the products they are slathering on their skin twice a day, everyday. And the ingredients in these products aren’t innocuous, they’ve been linked to serious diseases. This is why I’m doing an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields. Because people need to know that the ingredients in these products have been linked to cancer, liver damage, hormone disruption and birth defects.
Before anyone accuses me of what I’ll inevitably be accused of, let me beat you to it.Yes, I have my own skincare line. Yes, technically I would be considered a “competitor.” In all of the unbiased reviews I’ve done, I’ve always been accused of doing them because I work for a competing company. In reality, this is the first review I’ve ever done in which that accusation has any truth to it. But realistically, the people who buy my organic, non-toxic products are not the same customers buying Rodan and Fields. We are completely different, with a completely different customer base. My customers buy my products because they want safe, effective skincare.
My reviews are usually for companies that sell meal replacement shakes, supplements and body wraps. This is the first review I’ve done of this kind. And after getting eleven requests in the past month alone (and probably over fifty total) to review these products – I had to do it.
I did not do this review because I’m competing with Rodan + Fields. I don’t consider myself a competitor – I focus on promoting safe, healthy, non-toxic skincare and makeup. This is not what Rodan + Fields does; they encompass an entirely different mission and as far as I know are a multilevel marketing (MLM) company.
I’m writing this review because I’ve received well over forty emails, comments and requests to review the ingredients in Rodan + Fields. And I started getting these requests over a year ago, but hesitated to do the review because I had my own skincare line coming out and just didn’t feel like dealing with the accusations. At this point, I’m receiving so many requests to review these products that I can’t ignore them any longer.
Before reading further, let me make this very clear: I went into reviewing R+F with an open mind. I wasn’t super familiar with the products or the ingredients. This is not personal. This is an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields – I do not sell the products and I am in no way affected if you do or do not purchase them. I’m not doing this review to promote my own skincare line, I’m doing this review because my readers asked me time and again to review this company.
Most people don’t have the knowledge that I do when it comes to ingredients in food and personal care products. This is why I do these reviews. To educate people on safer skincare products. Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Here are some products I’ve chosen with their attached ingredient list. I’ve only chosen a few products because it’s unnecessary (and would make this post incredibly too long) to provide an ingredient list for every product R+F offers.
So let’s dive in. Here is an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields. First, let’s take a look at the ingredients.
Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Kaolin, Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Bentonite, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Oleth-10 Phosphate, Sorbitan Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Lactate, Potassium Hydroxide, Fragrance/Parfum
REDEFINE INTENSIVE RENEWING SERUM (THIS IS NOT SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN!): Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Retinal, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, Retinyl Palmitate, Hydroxyapatite, Bis-Ethylhexyl Hydroxydimethoxy Benzylmalonate, Ethoxydiglycol
Reverse Deep Exfoliating Wash: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Polyethylene, Diethylhexyl Sebacate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate, Lactic Acid, Peppermint Oil, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Yellow 5, Yellow 6.
UNBLEMISH Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash: Sulfur 3.00% INACTIVE INGREDIENTS Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Distearyl Phthalic Acid Amide, Lauryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Diisopropyl Adipate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sodium Polyacrylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ceteareth-20, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure, Glycol Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sucrose, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Bisabolol, Trideceth-6, Cetyl Alcohol, Linoleic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance, Acacia Senegal Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1, Red 33.
UNBLEMISH Clarifying Toner INGREDIENTS Water, Witch Hazel Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Azelaic Acid, Lecithin, Arginine, Soluble Fish Collagen, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Rosemary Extract,Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Menthyl Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Zinc Phenolsulfonate, Sodium Glycolate, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Benzophenone-9, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Red 33, Blue 1.
UNBLEMISH OIL CONTROL LOTION WITH SPF: ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Zinc Oxide 4.75%, Titanium Dioxide 0.7%
INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Pentylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Azelaic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Atelocollagen, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Lecithin, Tropolone, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Glycerin, Cholesterol, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 60, Dimethiconol, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Alumina, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Carbomer, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance/Parfum, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.
REVERSE SKIN LIGHTENING TREATMENT: ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Hydroquinone 2%.
INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethoxydiglycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Diethylhexyl Sebacate, Polyacrylamide, Ceteareth-20, Glycerin, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethicone, Fragrance/Parfum, Retinol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Laureth-7, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Yellow 6 (CI 15985).
Now let’s get into some of the harmful ingredients that make appearances throughout these lines of products. I couldn’t choose every ingredient that is harmful because of the sheer volume. There are just too damn many. I’ve chosen several that have established data for toxicity. I included each ingredient’s rating from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. This database rates ingredients from 1, being least toxic, to 10, being most toxic.
Now, let’s pick those ingredients apart.
If you’re not familiar with formaldehyde, it’s a known carcinogen – a substance that exacerbates cancer growth. DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative that releases formaldehyde and it’s found in Rodan and Fields’ products. It has been linked to rare cancers like myeloid leukemia as well cancer of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
The use of DMDM Hydantoin is banned in Europe.
Also a formaldehyde releaser. See above.
The use of diazolidinyl urea is banned in Europe.
SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE
SLS is a surfactant found in many cleaning and hygiene products. SLS has been linked to skin and eye irritation, groundwater pollution and pollution from the manufacturing process. The International Journal of Toxicology found that,
“Sodium Lauryl Sulfate had a degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties. Low levels of skin penetration may occur at high use concentration.”
They also found that low levels of SLS were relatively safe while higher concentrations cause depression, labored breathing, skin irritation, corneal damage and even death in some animals.
Seems harmless, right? Just a lil’ frangrance to make the products smell better. Couldn’t be too dangerous, could it?
Fragrance is actually one of the most dangerous, harmful ingredients in the cosmetics industry. Companies can hide thousands of harmful ingredients in this one label: fragrance. In fact, almost 4,000 chemicals, many of the harmful, can be labeled as “fragrance.”
Roughly 95% of all synthetic fragrance is derived from petroleum, crude oil. Not only is this environmentally harmful, this process produces carcinogens like benzene and endocrine disruptors like phthalates. Phthalates don’t just disrupt the hormones, they have also been linked to autism and birth defects.
A study from Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center found that,
“Prenatal exposure to phthalates and delays in learning, including a recent study that shows children exposed to phthalates in the womb are more likely to display autisticlike behaviors.”
“Baby boys are more likely to experience changes in their genitals if their mothers were exposed to phthalates during pregnancy (Environmental Health Perspectives paper of the year, 2005).”
This is why phthalates were banned in children’s toys in 2008.
Consider this: fragrance has been linked to cancer, hormonal imbalances and even birth defects – and it’s in majority of Rodan + Fields products.
Fragrance is banned in Europe.
METHYLPARABEN EWG rating: 4, PROPYLPARABEN EWG rating: 7, ETHYLPARABEN EWG rating: 4, BUTYLPARABEN EWG rating: 7, ISOBUTYLPARABEN EWG rating: 7
Parabens are endocrine (hormone) disruptors that have been linked to numerous cancers, particularly breast cancer because of their ability to increase estrogen in the body. Majority of Rodan + Fields’ consumers are women and their products contain ingredients linked to breast cancer. Think about that for a second.
From Scientific American,
“Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). “Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.” Research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors.”
Parabens have also been found inside of breast cancer tissue. This appears to be causal but is still a significant finding.
For the study, scientists grew breast cancer cells in a lab. They treated the cancer cells with low doses of parabens along with heregulin, a growth-promoting substance that’s normally found in breast tissue. The two chemicals are known to have a more powerful effect when combined.
When the two chemicals were combined, the dose of parabens needed to stimulate growth was 100 times lower. That suggests parabens may be exerting effects at levels people are being exposed to in real life, according to study author Ruthann Rudel, who co-directs the research program for the non-profit Silent Spring Institute. Source
Parabens are banned in Europe.
PEG-100 STEARATE, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, PEG-12 DIMETHICONE, ETC.
Otherwise known as PEGs, or polyethylene glycol, PEGs aren’t so much a specific ingredient as they are a formula that helps penetrate the skin to allow other ingredients to get to deep layer of the dermis (you know, like parabens and fragrance).
The big issue with PEGs comes from the manufacturing process, where PEGs can become contaminated with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen (and rated 10 on EWG). Ethylene oxide is not just found in PEGs, but several other ingredients R+F uses, including various polysorbates, sodium laureth sulfates and dimethicone.
The use of PEGs is banned in Europe.
RETINYL PALMITATE (NOT SAFE DURING PREGNANCY – OR EVER REALLY)
Retinyl palmitate is a synthetic form of vitamin A. I’ve seen numerous people touting retinyl palmitate or its derivatives as safe because duh, vitamin A is natural! NO. STOP. This is not natural. This is not the vitamin A found in liver, grass-fed beef, egg yolks, etc. This is a dangerous ingredient.
Retinyl palmitate has been linked to skin cancer, vitamin A toxicity, liver damage and osteoporosis (source). When exposed to sunlight, the retinyl palmitate on the skin can exacerbate free radical damage. It has been linked to tumor growth, cell mutation and is a reproductive toxicant.
Retinyl palmitate is banned in Europe.
Retinal is also a vitamin A derivative. See above.
Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative that has shown to be neurotoxic to brain cells. No biggie, right? It has also been linked to skin irritation and lung toxicity (source).
Methylisothiazolinone is banned in Europe.
Paraffin is derived from petroleum. Also known as gas you put in your car, or kerosene, or diesel fuel. And it’s also in Rodan + Fields products.
Petroleum products in cosmetics are banned in Europe.
Hydroquinone is used to lighten the skin. It inhibits melanin production, which can cause severe sunburns, rash, irritation and something called exogenous ochronosis, which is when the skin turns blue-ish black. The British Journal of Cancer has linked hydroquinone to mutagenicity and carcinogenicity (source).
Baylor College of Medicine has linked hydroquinone with tumor growth and cellular transformation (source).
Hydroquinone is banned in Europe, Japan and Australia.
*I have a friend who sells R+F who told me this specific line is not recommended for long-term use, which is good.
Let’s consider that each of these harmful ingredients is not isolated. People using Rodan + Fields products are using several of these harmful chemicals every single day – twice a day. This adds up. Numerous ingredients in these products are linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, liver damage, skin irritation, eye irritation, breast cancer and birth defects. And this is why I do these reviews. Women deserve better than this. They deserve to know that they are using products linked to serious diseases.
This is not a full of list of every harmful ingrediens because that would simply take too long. This is a list of a few harmful ingredients that I’ve chosen to review. There are definitely other ingredients in here that are not only questionable, but downright harmful.
I encourage you to do your own research. Check my facts. Check the numerous sources and studies I’ve provided (all 30+). Double check. Know what you are using on your skin. Because what we apply to the skin is absorbed by the body.
I hope this review sheds light on these products and the ingredients they contain.
Additional sources (others are linked above in pink):
OCA & Cancer Prevention Coalition Warn of Hidden Carcinogens in Baby Care AScribe Newswire, Feb 28, 2007
Technical Evaluation Report: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Compiled by ICF Consulting for the USDA National Organic Program, February 10, 2006