Your Skin is a Window to Your Health — Don’t Douse It With Toxic Chemicals

December 4, 2012 · 38 comments

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Who doesn’t want to have beautiful skin? Clear, smooth, blemish-free skin that glows with radiant health is something we all strive for. Your skin is the largest organ in the body. Does that surprise you? It is indeed an organ. One of the main functions of the skin is to facilitate detoxification of your body. In that regard it is an organ of excretion and thus, it is a visual record of what is going on inside.

Your skin has many other functions, but one fact is clear, taking care of the skin with natural, non-toxic substances is a key component to internal health — which radiates through the external image of your skin.

The Problem With Conventional Skin Care Products

Have you ever read the labels of some of these skin care products? Most of the ingredients are unpronounceable chemicals that you would never dream of putting near your mouth.

Watch this video from Free Range Studios and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for a great introduction to the underlying problem of toxic personal care products. It’s a great explanation, however, I don’t know how effective the FDA will be if they get control over personal care products so I don’t think that is the answer, as suggested n the video.


You Should Be Able to Eat Your Skin Care Products

This is an important concept to understand. The skin is an amazing organ because it has cells that provide a protective barrier to the outside world, but yet, can also allow substances to move through skin, and in and out of the body.

What this means is that any product you apply to your skin, from face creams to body creams to makeup, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc. will not only stay on the surface of the skin will but also be absorbed into your body and your bloodstream.

The pharmaceutical companies take advantage of this fact by offering many medications in a carrier of cream because they know it will be absorbed well through the skin.

This means that the chemicals found in conventional skincare products are going right into your bloodstream and many have been found to be extremely toxic. If you are using them everyday then you are getting a good dose of noxious substances each and every day. Many of the damaging effects are cumulative.

Common Chemical Found in Skin Care Products That Are Toxic

Phthalates

Dibutylphthalate (DBP, DEP, also butyl ester) is used because it helps skin care products get absorbed more easily into skin. DEHP has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA. The Department of Health and Human Services has also classified DEHP as a potential carcinogen. In spite of this, most cosmetic companies continue to use phthalates in their products.

Parabens

They are also known as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IIsoparaben, and Butylparaben. Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, deodorants, skin care and baby products as well as pharmaceuticals. They have been known to be highly toxic and may cause rashes and allergic reactions in susceptible people.

Parabens have been linked to possible carcinogenicity. Parabens have also been found to have an estrogenic effect. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. We know that high estrogen levels are associated with breast cancer and anything absorbed through the skin may be 10 times as concentrated as an oral dose.

Recent studies in the UK have found a strong association between the use of parabens and the increasing rate of breast cancer in women. Researchers found a high concentration of parabens in 90% of the breast tumors tested.

There have been no studies to show that repeated and prolonged use of paraben is safe. It is a low-cost synthetic preservative  used in over the counter personal products to extend the shelf life of the product. These chemicals can be found in face, body moisturizers, body wash, and cleansers.

Petrochemicals

Almost all skin care products contain petroleum based chemicals. Studies have found that oral and topical application of petrochemicals in rodents resulted in anemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. Some synthetic colors, such as FD & C Blue No. 1, are also suspected carcinogens.

Can you pronounce these? Behentrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydrosypropyltrimonium Chloride, Linoleamidepropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate. These are toxic ammonium compounds. In the past little, was known about the long term exposure to petrochemicals. However, today we know that many household cleaning products, home furnishings and the food supply are loaded with petrochemicals, and this is associated with the rise in cancer and other chronic diseases.

Cosmetic Fragrance

Artificial fragrances are made from petroleum or coal which degrade in the environment and cause skin irritations. Cosmetic fragrance is made with cheap synthetic chemicals which replicate the natural aroma of products which already exist in nature. Companies use them because it is cheaper than using the natural scent.

A single fragrance is made from hundreds of different chemicals to cheaply reproduce a natural scent. Fragrances may be highly irritating to sensitive people in their lungs and on their skin.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate

Also known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). It is used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car wash detergents, and just about every soap, toothpaste, foaming facial and body cleansers, bubble bath and shampoo on the market. It is often described as being derived from coconut to make you think it is natural.

In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect.

According to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, Vol. 2, No. 7, l983, SLS is a mutagen. In sufficient amounts, it is capable of causing changes to the genetic material found in cells. It has been used in studies to induce mutations in bacteria. It denatures protein, impairs proper structural formation of young eyes, creating permanent damage. SLS can damage the immune system. It can cause inflammation to the skin. It is highly toxic.

Propylene Glycol

This substance is found in many creams, cosmetics and cleansers. It may cause skin rashes, contact dermatitis and has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver.

Isopropyl Alcohol

This is a common substance found in most medicine cabinets. It is used as a solvent in skin care products and may seem innocuous. However, it may cause irritation and may promote the growth of bacteria molds and viruses and premature ageing of the skin.

The Solution

  • There are many natural skin care product lines on the market. However, you must be careful because many of the companies are still using some of these harmful substances in their products. You must read the labels carefully and learn which chemicals are harmful.
  • Don’t be fooled by the words natural and organic — companies use these words to market their products which may have one or two organic ingredients but may also have other harmful ones.
  • Choose products with 100% real ingredients such as edible herbs and oils.
  • An alternative solution would be to make your own. Oh, I know that is really not something you want to do, especially if you are already doing a lot of real food cooking.
  • There are many free recipes for skin care products on the web but if you have tried some, you may have found out that many just don’t work. It is totally disappointing to gather all the ingredients, make the recipe and have it fail. I know, because I tried that several times and have since given up.

Mommypotamus to the rescue!

My friend Heather who blogs at Mommypotamus.com has an amazing e-book called DIY Organic Beauty Recipes: 50+ All-Natural, Toxin-Free Recipes That Really Work.

Heather has spent countless hours and tons of money researching, testing and trying over 50 recipes for skin and body care products made from totally natural substances THAT YOU CAN EAT!

Click here to view more details

Even if you don’t want to make your own, this is a great gift for that natural minded friend of yours.

Click here to purchase the book

Use coupon code SAVE25 to save 25% off!

Price: 24.95 $18.71 (25% off)

Even if you don’t want to make your own, this is a great gift for that natural minded friend of yours.

– See more at: http://realfoodforager.com/your-skin-mirrors-your-true-gut-health-handle-it-with-care/#sthash.e3RRvRFO.dpuf

Use coupon code SAVE25 to save 25% off!

Price: 24.95 $18.71 (25% off)

Even if you don’t want to make your own, this is a great gift for that natural minded friend of yours.

What you get:

  • The new DIY Organic Beauty Recipes ebook in PDF format containing more than 50 All-Natural, Toxin Free Recipes That Really Work!
  • Exclusive access to several video tutorials so you don’t have to do it alone!
  • A chance to craft amazing homemade, holiday gifts for friends and family you know their bodies will enjoy!

Be kind to your skin and you will benefit your health.

Click here to purchase the book

Use coupon code SAVE25 to save 25% off!

This post is shared at: Mommy Club, Sustainable Ways, Allergy Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Creative Juice Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Sustainable Friday, Melt in Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Meatless Monday, Traditional Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Tasteful Tuesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura @ Stealthy Mom December 5, 2012 at 1:55 am

*sigh* I used to be “into” cosmetics. I worked in a big department store in the 90’s, and would show up for work make-up free on purpose, knowing that the cosmeticians at the beauty counters would snag me and doll me up. I could recognize fragrances that people wore and took pride in matching my body wash to my eau de toilette.

Now, I would rather splash water from the toilet on my face than touch a lot of that stuff. Back then I fought with cystic acne, and now have the clearest skin I have ever had. Makes you think.

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2 Jill December 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

Hi Laura,
Thanks for sharing. Yes, so many women think they need makeup when they are beautiful without. I’m thankful I never went into much of that — especially hated perfumes and still do — but cringe when I see women all dolled up.

I really hate getting my hair cut as they use SO many toxic products in salons. I pity the workers there.

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3 Nourished for Free December 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

I’ve gotten to the point for hair cutting that I was my hair at home and come to the salon with wet hair and just have them cut it and not put any products on it, to reduce my exposure. Or just let my mom trim it when I visit her :)

I’ve tried many homemade recipes for things and have found that if I know the ingredients and their properties, I can bypass the recipes that are poorly made just based on ingredient knowledge! My current fave recipe is a variation on Crunchy Betty’s Nutty Butt Butter (hers is a bar recipe but I made it a creamy butter) and it is incredible.

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4 Jill December 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

@Nourished for Free,
I bring my own hair dye and shampoo and gel. I wish I could have it done at home.

What is that recipe for? Is there a link?

Reply

5 Meagan December 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I actually just cut my own hair a few weeks ago! (shocker?!) and it looks fine (and several compliments I’ve gotten, mind you ;)… but I’m just psyched to have saved 50 dollars!!

6 Jill December 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

@Meagan,
Very cool!

7 Bebe December 6, 2012 at 2:02 am
8 Martha Grayse December 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm

HI Jill!

I haven’t used cosmetics in well over 10 years (and never really wore that much before that). Glad to say that, in my late 40’s, I have clearer skin now than I had in high school. Wish my sister (5 years my senior) would give her’s up — she literally looks 10 years older when she’s not wearing any makeup and her skin looks horrible.

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9 Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction December 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

And hair dye! One of the worst offenders of all is hair dye. A number of countries have banned the use of Paraphenylenediamine or PPD in hair dyes, but it is not just prevalent in the United States, you can’t avoid it in permanent hair dye. I developed a serious allergy to PPD which has led to cross-allergies with everything from the dyes used in leather clothing to most makeup. Studies have shown a strong link between PPD and cancer, especially bladder cancer. Scary stuff.

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10 Katie December 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

What is a good solution for hair color though? I’m 30 and not really ready to have grey hairs… Thinking of trying real pure henna and indigo but the real stuff is super permanent and I’m nervous. Jojoba and coconut oil are the best for faces! Make a paste with one and some baking soda for an awesome face scrub.

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11 Amy December 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I was sorting out my toiletries this week as I got a new bathroom storage shelf unit. I have so many that I just can’t bear to throw away (and “waste” the money) – but I hardly ever use them any more. My make up and hygiene routines have really simplified over the last couple years. I use coconut oil as a make up remover before washing my face with Burt’s Bees sensitive skin wash (when I don’t have make up on, I don’t use soap at all, just warm water on a baby rag). If I use toner at all, I use witch hazel. I use aloe on my face and neck and some more coconut oil for the skin under my eyes. For body lotion I use coconut oil. For shampoo I use a sulfate and paraben free brand from the health food store (and I use less, because I wash my hair less often than I used to). And I use all-natural bar soap (usually castille soap formulated for sensitive skin) instead of body wash. I’ve got all these potions now though and no idea what to do with them since most have been replaced with just 5-6 items and a big tub of coconut oil!

Reply

12 Jill December 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Hi Amy,
That is great! I changed a lot of things too and I never looked back. I also don’t wash my hair as much and it looks much better for it.

Reply

13 Annie December 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Thanks for the info!

I started using this stuff:

http://vintagetradition.com/

for all of my “lotion” (aka water) needs.
I put it on my face after a shower, my dry skin, my kids dry skin, and my babies red bum!
(P.S. It only has 3 ingredients! Organic extra virgin olive oil, tallow from grass fed cows and essential oils)

Reply

14 Ashif December 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Oh Sam you (and your sis) are divine ..I do a radio show in Canada, also a meukap artist (long story) anyway the men who work on my show always know when its pixiwoo time during my breaks .they can hear your voice pipe through my laptop PS the Gal who created Bliss is a Canadian gal!!

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15 Robin @ Thank Your Body December 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Amen!

(And Heather’s book is awesome!)

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16 Joanna December 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Yes, washing the hair less is a big change, for the better!
The skin actually is remarkably self-sufficient when we stop the “strip and dip” (using too harsh a cleanser and only compensating by using lashings of lotions). The less you do to your skin the better. Although exfoliating is wise… oats are great for this.

Reply

17 Judy @Savoring Today December 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Great, informative article, Jill. Thanks for putting it all in one place. Natural skin care means less make-up, better nutrition helps too. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

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18 Sharon Wallace December 18, 2012 at 8:03 am

I’m posting this on my facebook page! It’s so true! Most folks who don’t realize say that it’s only on the outside and can’t hurt us to put all these chemicals on our skin and hair. I have to confess, though, that I’m not ready to go gray so I use color. I tried henna and ended up with a mess that I’ve only recently grown out and cut off! If I could find another natural way to do it, I would. Our shampoo bar has sage and rosemary in it and I’ve read that both are very healthy but also can help restore color…need more info.
Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday #67! I hope you’ll link up again this week!

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