Skin is a living organism. Did you know that the skin, being our largest organ, breathes, interacts + actually absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it!! Sending it full strength into the bloodstream where it becomes material for building new body tissue. Or, it becomes potent toxic waste within our precious system, creating further burden on our systems and well being. Not to mention skin damage, ageing etc.
The skin is alive so needs other ‘alive’ ingredients to play with. Synthetic ingredients cannot give life to the skin. Plant and nature based ingredients can, so they are our one and only suggestion to nourish + heal, protect + respect.
Think of your beauty products not as cosmetics but as food for the skin and body. Skin care and cosmetics are part of our daily ritual so just try and be mindful of this when buying (always reading the labels) and using anything on your skin.
Here is a guide to get you started, in no particular order:
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN SKINCARE & COSMETICS
Parabens (ethyl, methyl, propyl, benzyl, butyl) are toxic synthetic preservatives.
Abundant in skincare and deodorant, a preservative and antibacterial added to extend a product’s shelf life.
Found in breast cancer tumours. These antimicrobial chemicals have huge hormone-disrupting effects as they mimic oestrogen so can lead to sterility in men and hormone imbalances in females.
They play havoc on the nervous and immune system and use can lead to birth defects and organ toxicity.
SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES, POLYMERS & COLOURS
These endocrine disrupters mimic hormones and may alter genital development.
Avoid products that list fragrance as an ingredient unless the label states that it’s derived from essentials oils.
Synthetic Polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate and carbomer. It comes from petroleum and gives thickness to skincare products.
They are highly processed and their manufacture creates toxic by-products.
Synthetic colours are made from coal tar. They contain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation, nausea, mood swings, headaches and fatigue.They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number.
Artificial Fragrances often contain carcinogens such as methyl chloride. Unless an essential oil is specified on the label, the chances are it will be synthetic.
DMDM HYDANTION & UREA (Imidazolidinyl)
Two of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde a known carcinogen which may cause internal bleeding, joint pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Exposure may also irritate the respiratory system, trigger heart palpitations or asthma, and aggravate coughs and colds. Other possible side effects include weakening the immune system and cancer.
MINERAL OIL (Petrochemicals / Petroluem derivatives)
The cosmetic form of mineral oil is used abundantly in skin and personal care products.
Petrochemicals are derived from crude oil. Petroleum-based ingredients such as MINERAL OIL and paraffin (derived from nonrenewable sources) form a barrier when applied to the skin which can lead to acne and other skin disorders. This does not allow the skin to eliminate toxins and clogs pores. More importantly the skin cannot breath therefore cannot live. Slowing skin function and development leading to premature ageing. It has alarming reproductive effects and is ingestible poison. Easily penetrated via skin, it weakens protein and cellular structure.
Natural plant, fruit and seed oils are fabulous alternatives.
MEA (Monoethanolamine) /DEA (Diethanolamine) /TEA (Triethanolamine)
MEA /DEA /TEA are used as foaming agents, synthetic stabilizers, and to adjust the pH of cosmetics, they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin. Can cause depression, hyperactivity, irritiability, inability to cope, behavioral problems.
DEA & TEA are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can react with other ingredients to form potent carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines that are linked to liver, stomach, bladder and esophagus cancers.
Readily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in organs such as the brain, where it induces chronic toxic effects.
These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to being known carcinogens.
SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES)
Sulphates such as sodium lauryl and sodium laureth, are commonly used harsh detergents that give cleansers, soaps, and shampoos their foamability.
Often derived from petroleum, sulfates can also come from coconut and other vegetable oils that can be contaminated with pesticides. It is often disguised in “natural” products with the term “derived from coconut”.
Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers – and in 90% of personal-care products that foam. It leads to eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea and severe skin irritation.
A carcinogen that is absorbed into the body via skin application and mimics the activity of oestrogen. This leads to a variety of health issues ranging from PMS, decreased fertility in men as well as an increase in cancers such as breast cancer in women.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL & BUTYLEN GLYCOL
The EPA considers Propylene Glycol so toxic that it requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles and to dispose of any PG solutions by burying them in the ground. Because PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against skin contact as consequences include brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
As a humectant, propylene glycol will actually remove water from skin. Not what you want your moisturizer to do. This leads to premature ageing and depletes the skin of nutrients.
Also commonly used in cleaning products and made from the same chemical that is used to create anti-freeze!
A synthetic antibacterial. Tricolsan is registered with the EPA as both a pesticide and a probable carcinogen, giving it high scores as a risk to both human health and the environment.
A hormone disruptors with long-term health risks leading to changed genetic material, decreased fertility and sexual function, and birth defects. Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs and can cause paralysis, suppression of immune function, brain hemorrhages, and heart problems.
Often not listed on products. Commonly used as a plasticiser in everything from skincare, cosmetics, nail polish, perfume, hair products and deodorants. Known to cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. Suspected of causing birth defects, lowering sperm counts and a breast cancer risk. Increases the likelihood of cell mutation.
Such as oxybenzone and octylmethoxycinnamate, have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Known to cause pigmentation and cell mutation. And probably do more damage to the skin than our glorious Sun. You want to use Mineral / Zinc based sunscreens as an alternative. This can be in the form of Mineral Powdered Makeup for your pretty lil face.
Just something to think about….
*image courtesy of May Lindstrom Skincare