Whether it’s your lipstick, your nail polish or your shampoo, most of us don’t realize that the products we use every day can expose us to thousands of chemicals that are readily absorbed through our skin.
Your skin is your largest organ and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Your skin is highly permeable and by some accounts your skin can absorb up to 60% straight into the body. Just about anything you put on your skin will end up in your bloodstream, and will be distributed throughout your body. This is why they say “don't put anything on your body that you wouldn't eat if you had to…”
Why should we be concerned about what’s in our skin and hair care?
According to some experts you could be absorbing about 5 pounds of chemicals into your body each year with what you apply daily. Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.
The Ugly Side of Beauty Products
Some of the main culprits to be aware of include:
|Petrochemicals – Mineral Oil, Paraffin, Propylene glycol and Petrolatum||Moisturisers, emollient and smooth skin||These petroleum products coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They're implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity.|
If you are planning to get pregnant, a gentle detox program will help you rid yourself and your partner of any accumulated toxic load. Babies and children have very sensitive skin – choose their skin care products carefully.
Advice for someone wanting to make simple and safer choices in her beauty products, but not sure where to start?
- Don't throw out everything at once.
- Replace your products only as you run out.
- Think about what you use most frequently over the largest surface area of your body and start there.
You can find natural, chemical-free alternatives. If you love having products that look, feel and smell amazing there are loads of new well-formulated, safe alternatives out there.
Safer Healthier Ingredients to look out for:
|Safer Ingredient||‘Wicked’ Ingredient||Used in|
|Beeswax, jojoba wax, carnauba wax, Plant oils, vegetable glycerine||Petrochemicals – Mineral Oil, Paraffin, Propylene glycol and Petrolatum||Creams & lotions, wax, pencils, lip balm|
|Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, naturally occurring minerals work to block ultraviolet rays||Chemical Sunscreens – Oxybenzone/Avobenzone, Cinnamates, salicylates, octyl palmitate, PABA||Sunscreens|
|Phenoxyethanol extracted from sage oil. Vitamin E and essential oils also act as preservatives.||Parabens||All cosmetics, toiletries|
The next time you go shopping for cosmetics and body care products, make sure you take this list with you – it may just save your health!