I went into reviewing Rodan and Fields with an open mind. I wasn't super familiar with their skincare products or the ingredients. This is not personal. Nor is it a before and after. This is an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields. I do not sell the products. #skincare #beauty

I originally wrote An Unbiased Review of Rodan + Fields back in 2018. At that time, the company was using incredibly toxic ingredients with established studies proving links to cancer, hormone disruption, skin irritation and so much more. Read on to find out if Rodan + Fields is still using those products in 2022. 

Four years ago when I wrote this original review, or exposé if you will, people were MAD. People said I was a liar, people said I was an idiot, people said I was a “dumb bitch.” Listen, you can call me a lot of things. Nosey, inappropriate, over the top – all of that might be true (okay it definitely is true). But there are certain things I am not, those include: a liar, poorly researched, a dumb bitch (although there is an argument that just “bitch” could be an adjective used to describe me).

The truth is that in 2018, Rodan + Fields was using incredibly toxic ingredients including DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, parabens, PEGs, sodium laureth sulfate, isoparaffin, hydroquinone and methylisothiazolinone. As of 2022 it looks like they removed these ingredients, which is great news!

Using my years of honing research skills, because yes, it is an absolute skill to be able to effectively find, sort through and comprehend research, I concluded that Rodan + Fields products were not only insanely overpriced, they were toxic to the human body. I found study after study linking these ingredients to cancer, to endocrine disruption, to altered DNA, even to autism and birth defects.

I sourced over 30 studies in addition to using the Environmental Working Group database – a database companies like Rodan + Fields loves to discredit (because it exposes how toxic their products are), but in reality is one of the most legitimate and comprehensive tools we have when it comes to researching, understanding and easily accessing scientific information on ingredients in makeup, cosmetics and skincare.

In response, Rodan + Fields issued a company wide memo about me. I have to say, it’s one of my favorite accomplishments in my career!

Now, Rodan + Fields has reformulated almost all of their products. So let’s dive in.

An Unbiased Review of Rodan + Fields – UPDATED FEBRUARY 2022

Rodan + Fields Ingredients – are they toxic?

I’ve chosen several ingredients that have established data for toxicity. I included each ingredient’s rating from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. This database rates the ingredients from 1, being least toxic, to 10, being most toxic. I have also provided peer reviewed studies and scientific data throughout this article and at the bottom of the post. 

The most toxic ingredients in Rodan + Fields products:

  • fragrance
  • PEGs
  • dimethicone
  • retinyl palmitate
  • isoparaffin
  • benzophenone, avobenzone and octocrylene (these are grouped together for a reason, read below)

Next, let’s pick those ingredients apart.

FRAGRANCE

EWG rating: 8

First, the thing we know as a fragrance is actually one of the most dangerous, harmful ingredients in the cosmetics industry. In fact, almost 4,000 chemicals, many of the harmful, can be labeled as “fragrance.”

In addition, roughly 95% of all synthetic fragrance originate 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 autistic like 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).”

Thus, children’s toys do not contain phthalates as of 2008. In addition, Europe has banned the thing we know as “fragrance.”

PEG-100 STEARATE, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, PEG-12 DIMETHICONE, ETC.

EWG rating: 4

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. As a result, they allow other ingredients to get to the deep layer of the dermis (like fragrance and isoparaffin).

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). Yet ethylene oxide is not just in PEGs but several other ingredients R+F uses. This includes various polysorbates, sodium laureth sulfates, and dimethicone.

Europe has banned the use of PEGs.

RETINYL PALMITATE (NOT SAFE DURING PREGNANCY – OR EVER REALLY)

EWG rating: 9

Because retinyl palmitate is a synthetic form of vitamin A, I’ve seen numerous people touting retinyl palmitate or its derivatives as safe.

This is not natural. It’s not the vitamin A found in liver, grass-fed beef, egg yolks, etc. This is a dangerous ingredient.

In addition, retinyl palmitate has been linked to skin cancer, vitamin A toxicity, liver damage and osteoporosis (source). In addition, when exposed to sunlight the retinyl palmitate on the skin can exacerbate the free radical damage. Tumor growth, cell mutation, and reproductive toxicants are linked to this ingredient.

Europe banned Retinyl palmitate by law.

RETINAL

EWG rating: 5-6

In addition, Retinal is also a vitamin A derivative. See above.

ISOPARAFFIN

People derive paraffin from petroleum. Also known as the gas you put in your car, or kerosene, or diesel fuel. And it’s also in Rodan + Fields products.

Europe banned petroleum products in cosmetics by law.

Benzophenone, Avobenzone and Octocrylene

You may have seen this warning on certain Rodan + Fields products: “WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Benzophenone, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer.”

The use of benzophenone, avobenzone and octocrylene are controversial. It is banned in many countries and even banned in Hawaii because it is so toxic to coral reefs it phsyically damages them. Let me reiterate that: the SPF ingredients in Rodan + Fields products are so toxic that they physically damage coral reefs in the ocean and are banned in Hawaii. Is this something you really want to be putting on your skin everyday?

“Benzophenone is a mutagen, carcinogen, and endocrine disruptor. Its presence in food products or food packaging is banned in the United States. Under California Proposition 65, there is no safe harbor for benzophenone in any personal care products, including sunscreens, anti-aging creams, and moisturizers.”

The issue with octrocrylene is that is breaks down into benzophenone. Furthermore, octocrylene is absorbed through the skin at 14 times higher concentration than the FDA cutoff for systemic exposure. This means that not only are you absorbing this particular chemical when applying it to your skin at 14 times the rate you should be, you are also absorbing all other ingredients in this product including benzophenone, a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.  

Scientist Craig Downs, one of the researchers behind the sunscreen bans in Hawaii and Key West who discovered that the ingredients in SPF were killing off coral reefs, has issued a petition to the FDA to stop all sales of SPF products containing octocrylene. 

Craig Downs asserts that we simply don’t have enough information on the safety of octocrylene, while researchers at the Sorbonne University tested 16 products containing octocrylene – all of them tested positive for benzophenone, a known carcinogen.  

The most dangerous Rodan + Fields products:

Has each ingredient been tested for safety? Have the ingredients been tested together for safety? 

No and no. It’s simply impossible for the FDA to keep up with the onslaught of ingredients introduced to the market each year, and absolutely impossible for the organization to test combinations of these ingredients and how they interact with the human body. This is the exact reason I avoid these harsh chemicals and instead use natural products that utilize ingredients with known safety standards like jojoba oil, essential oils and witch hazel. 

My conclusion: An Unbiased Review of Rodan + Fields

Numerous ingredients in these products contain ties 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 to know that they are using products linked to serious diseases. 

As a result, 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. What you apply to the skin, the body absorbs. This is why I wrote an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields. I want women to know what they’re using on their skin and how it affects them. You deserve that. 

Finally, I hope this review sheds light on these products and the ingredients they contain. Not everyone thinks like me. But I hope I can broaden your horizons.

Are Rodan + Fields products safe?

No. Rodan + Fields uses several toxic chemicals known to be carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that penetrate the skin.

Are Rodan + Fields products non-toxic?

No. Rodan + Fields uses several toxic chemicals known to be carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that penetrate the skin.

Are Rodan + Fields products healthy?

No. Rodan + Fields uses several toxic chemicals known to be carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that penetrate the skin.

Why is Rodan + Fields bad?

Rodan + Fields uses several toxic chemicals known to be carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that penetrate the skin.

Why are Rodan + Fields products so expensive?

Rodan + Fields charges top dollar for an inferior product, likely because they are based on an MLM (multilevel marketing) structure. Their products and the ingredients do not necessitate such a high cost.

Is Rodan + Fields bad?

Yes. Rodan + Fields uses several toxic chemicals known to be carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that penetrate the skin.

Original sources (others in pink above):

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

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/five-mustknows-on-the-dan_b_4737654.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18484575

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/g7597249/banned-cosmetic-ingredients/

https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/dirty-dozen-peg-compounds-contaminants/
https://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_199.pdf

7 Common American Beauty Ingredients That Are Banned in Other Countries

https://academic.oup.com/toxsci/article/88/1/142/1662945
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/molecule-of-the-week/archive/m/methylisothiazolinone.html
https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/news/2019-05-31/how-scientists-discovered-the-link-between-sunscreen-and-coral-reef-death
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-09/why-the-fda-is-looking-at-the-chemicals-in-sunscreens-quicktake-ksxy6xpf
https://www.sorbonne-universite.fr/en/news/study-shows-many-sunscreens-contain-carcinogenic-compound
I went into reviewing Rodan and Fields with an open mind. I wasn't super familiar with their skincare products or the ingredients. This is not personal. Nor is it a before and after. This is an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields. I do not sell the products. #skincare #beauty