Today I am going to outline the fantastic benefits of chemical free natural skin care. Firstly, I will highlight the dangers of toxins found in regular, everyday cosmetics. Not many people know this, but there is a lot of leniency given to cosmetic brands as regards to what they put into the products in todays market. The skin absorbs up to 60% of whatever we apply so we need to make a conscious decision as to what chemicals, if any, we are applying.
“With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA,” quoted by The Federal Food and Drug Administration.
It is hard to know what is safe and what is not, by simply reading the labels. Since we do not know the long term effects of certain chemicals, I will be listing the worst culprits that we need to look out for.
Some products contain additives that are considered to be endocrine disrupters which can lead to hormone related cancers in adults and early onset puberty in girls. Autoimmune diseases, cancer and many other illnesses are linked to some of the toxins present in many of the cosmetics available in today’s market.
Did you know that the average woman puts on average 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients, every day? Men, on average use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients. With this many chemicals going onto our skin, we need to be more aware of toxins and be careful.
Here are the results of a test performed on 12.2 million adults by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) –
One in 13 women and one in 23 men, are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day by personal care products.
One in 24 women, are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins, linked to impaired fertility or developmental harm to a baby in the womb or a child. The exposure to phthalates that testing shows appear in an estimated three quarters of all personal care products but that, as components of fragrance, are not listed on product ingredient labels.
One in five adults are potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients (hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs and acrylamide). The most common impurity ranked by number of people exposed is hydroquinone, which is a potential contaminant in products used daily by 94 percent of all women and 69 percent of all men.
It is shocking when you assume that your beauty products are being screened properly but that is only to a certain extent, and that you are the one responsible for what you choose to put on your body. It makes you check those labels properly when you know that there may be potentially dangerous toxins involved. These may only be tiny trace amounts but over the long term they do not necessarily know the real dangers.
Here is a list of the worst baddies to watch out for –
Parabens such as Methyl-, Propyl-, Butyl- and Ethyl-Paraben are found in most products, even baby lotion and these are the endocrine disrupters which affect hormones. Long term exposure may even lead to infertility and other hormonal problems.
Synthetic Fragrance (present in scented cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, perfume, aftershave, deodorants) is linked to hormone disruption.
Synthetic Colours (listed as numbers with the prefix CI) are added to products for the colour alone and add no further effect but are often carcinogenic. Note: There are mineral based colors so not all colors are nasty.
Heavy metals like lead, mercury, aluminium and cadmium can be found in deodorants, shampoo and nasal sprays, quickly accumulate in the body.
Mineral Oil and Petroleum. Mineral oil interferes with the body’s own natural moisturizing mechanism and over time can lead to dryness and chapping. Petroleum products can contain an 1,4-dioxane. This impurity, found in 22 per cent of all petroleum-based cosmetics, has been found to cause cancer in animals.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that absorbs quickly and is found in antiperspirants, cleansers, hand sanitiser and toothpaste. It is an endocrine disrupter and believed to cause resistance to antibiotics.
Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (ie) MDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methanamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethlglycinate. Can cause eye and skin irritation and trigger allergies. In larger doses the fumes are carcinogenic.
Quaternium-15, found in shampoo and body washes releases carcinogenic formaldehyde.
Propylene Glycol, PEG and PPG. Linked to eczema, hives and other allergic reactions. PEG compounds may be contaminated with carcinogen 1,4 dioxane.
Siloxanes such as cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and cyclomethicaone. Some can disrupt hormones and this means they are potential carcinogens and reproductive toxins.
MIT (Methylisochlorothiazolinone) preservative. Dermatologists have demanded it be removed from the production of cosmetics. It is also a neurotoxin and potential carcinogen.
BHA and BHT Preservatives. Hormone disrupters that can increase your chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer.
Phthalates. Endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.
Hydroquinone. Has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. Can cause a skin disease called Ochronosis with ‘disfiguring and irreversible’ blue-black lesions on exposed skin.
Toluene. Found in various cosmetics and nail varnish can cause headaches, respiratory problems, nausea and even vomiting.
Unfortunately, the list goes on. There are way too many to list here but those are some of the worst to look out for. If you are unsure about a specific brand, you can always check your product by scanning the barcode into an app called Think Dirty which lists the good and bad products on the market. It is a relatively new app but most well-known brands are listed there and it is free to download.
A better idea might be to choose natural, organic skin care products which is what I myself, decided to do. This was before I even knew of the dangers of chemicals in cosmetics, and for other reasons, but it is another big reason that I decided to remove as many chemicals from my household as possible. I will make sure my family only use chemical free natural skin care.
I suffered with hormonal acne well into my twenties and early thirties. I had tried just about every product on the market including regular facials, microdermabrasion, IPL and more. I was left feeling helpless and frustrated and to be honest, giving up hope of ever finding a solution. I had been studying and reading up a lot about natural skin care over the years but I hadn’t believed in it as much as I should have. I always thought these natural products would be too mild for my problem skin.
As a last resort, I decided to try out all-natural products and began making my own recipes at home. I use carrier oils, essential oils and kitchen basics such as salt, oats and sugar and started trying out DIY face masks and scrubs. My skin had no bad reaction, irritation or redness and within a week it had cleared up. I couldn’t believe that the natural products were healing my acne and nourishing my skin so well.
Since then, I have never looked back and I always choose natural and organic products for my skin. I make a lot of my own DIY products at home and I also set up an online shop selling my favorite brand Neal’s Yard. Check out my DIY recipes on the blog in the skincare section or have a look on my online shop for certified natural and organic and Fairtrade best quality skin care here >> BROWSE
Here is my skin care regime if you want to try it for yourself! A skincare regime that works.
Catch up next week, same time!