Did you know we absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin? Children’s bodies absorb 40-50% more than adults! Our skincare products are a wonderful source of pure health building nourishment OR they can pose a threat to our health. It all boils down to the ingredients in products we choose to use.
According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition effort launched in 2004, “more than 1 in 5 personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer, 80 percent contain ingredients that commonly contain hazardous impurities, and 56 percent contain penetration enhancers that help deliver ingredients deeper into the skin.” With no defining guidelines or standards for ‘organic’ in the cosmetic industry, consumers are easily misled by the liberal use of the term. As consumers the best we can do to protect our health and health of our families is to learn which ingredients to look out for as potentially harmful.
So let’s get educated!
Synthetic Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products
1. Parabens or any ingredient ending in – ‘paraben’ – Probably the most commonly used synthetic preservatives. They inhibit enzyme activity and thus inhibit microbial growth. In as much as this serves to extend the shelf life of products, the inhibition of enzyme activity continues in our body when they are applied to the skin. Abundant enzyme activity is key to enhancing our health and vitality. Parabens are also known to cause rashes, skin irritations and other allergic reactions. High concentrations of parabens have been found in breast tumor samples. It is uncertain whether they caused the tumors but they are considered to be associated with the overall rise in breast cancer cases. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution, makeup, and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.
2. Mineral Oil or Petroleum derived products – Byproduct of the petroleum industry, clogs pores, not beneficial to the skin. Form a gas impermeable film which blocks the pores and prevents the skin from breathing and eliminating wastes. Since oxygen – carbon dioxide exchange is vital to health in general, this is harmful to long-term health. It can lead to increased toxicity levels resulting in a burden on the immune system. Mineral oil is a common ingredient in baby lotions, cold creams, ointments and cosmetics.
3. Methylcloroisothiazolinone – Allergens, harmful to nervous systems. It was largely removed from most cosmetic products except for those with only short duration skin contact such as rinse-offs. A common sign of an allergic reaction is eczematous (rashy) symptoms such as redness and itching on surfaces exposed to the allergen. Common points of exposure in household items are shampoos, hair conditioners, soaps and pre-moistened toilet/bath wipes.
4. ‘PEG’ and items ending in ‘-eth’, TEA & 1,4 dioxane – Allergens, toxic contaminants, linked to cancer. Mostly found in cleanser products to adjust PH. Causes allergic reactions, eye problems, can dry skin and hair. Since it is an impurity, not an intentional ingredient, 1,4-dioxane does not appear on ingredient labels. For consumers, that means having to go one step further to avoid any products containing petrochemical ingredients that often come along with 1,4-dioxane contamination. These include the ingredients or partial ingredient names: “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-” (such as sodium laureth sulfate), “oxynol” “ceteareth” or “oleth.” Prevalent in shampoo, hair spray, skin crème sunscreen and baby soap/shampoo.
5. Sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate – Skin damage or reactions, toxic contaminants. Used as a foaming agent in soaps and shampoos. It causes eye irritations, skin rashes, allergic reactions, scalp flakiness similar to dandruff. Found in shampoos, detanglers, body sprays, lotion and liquid soap.
6. Triloscan and triclocarban – Damage to environment, thyroid disrupter, skin irritation and dryness. Triclosan is used in a variety of common household products, including soaps, mouthwashes, dish detergents, toothpastes, deodorants, and hand sanitizers as a bacterial control. A comprehensive analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health indicated that plain soaps are just as effective as consumer-grade antibacterial soaps with triclosan in preventing illness and removing bacteria from the hands.
7. Fragrances that are not specifically makred ‘phthalate-free’ – Many fragrances contain formaldehyde and phthlates. Companies have a choice to use safer fragrances that do not contain these toxins. They are among the most frequent allergens. Complaints to FDA include: headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper-pigmentation, nausea, vomiting, and skin irritation. According to the National Academy of Sciences (1986) 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. Many are known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
8. Oxybenzone and cinnamates – May damage cell protein and DNA and disrupt hormones. They are found in a variety of sunscreen lotions and sunscreen sprays, marketed especially for use on children.
9. Formaldehyde and ammonia; diaminobenzene – Toxic to humans! Often found in nail polish, nail polish remover, hair dyes and some perfumes.
10. Glycolic, AHA and BHA Acids – Causes increased photosensitivity, irritation, redness and possible permanent damage. Prevalent in trendy anti-aging cremes, serums and peels. Use in moderation or not at all.
If you’ve experienced sensitive skin allergic reactions, break outs, headaches or any other symptoms, then you owe it to yourself to select foods and body care products with no synthetic ingredients. You may notice those symptoms pleasantly disappear. Read labels carefully. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body probably won’t either. Go NATURAL!
Lemongrass Spa is a company with integrity and they’ve earned my trust over the years. They’ve recently made adjustments to formulations to set them apart from other natural lines.
They offer a fresher, cleaner and more natural than ever product line where they have completely eliminated all non-natural fragrances, and reformulated with essential oils, botanicals and plant extracts only. Everything you see in the catalog incorporate only natural and organic scenting, setting them apart from hundreds of retailers and dozens of direct sellers who continue to use fragrances with questionable constituents.
Please let me know if you’d like to learn more about what I use!
Your skin is your largest organ, and anything you put on it should contain only the best and safest ingredients from nature. So before slathering make-up, deodorant, lotion or body wash on your skin, take a look at your labels for toxic chemicals found in personal care products. They can potentially sabotage your health and well-being. Go NATURAL!