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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 just released her amazing new e-book called DIY Organic Beauty Recipes: 50+ All-Natural, Toxin-Free Recipes That Really Work.
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Even if you don’t want to make your own, this is a great gift for that natural minded friend of yours.
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Be kind to your skin and you will benefit your health.