What You Need to Know!
If you are concerned about what you put into your body you need to be concerned about what goes on your skin. Although the beauty and natural body care industry has lead us to believe that the skin is an impermeable layer in which nothing can pass through, this is simply not true.
Your skin is created of many different glands. In one square inch of skin there is 100 sebaceous oil glands, 100 hairs, and 650 sweat glands! Over all our skin contains about 20 million cells! Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It is a two-way membrane.
Toxins are eliminated through the skin by perspiration and absorbed through the skin. Permeation of the layers of our skin can occur by diffusion via hair follicles, sweat and sebum glands, and by diffusion through our skin cells!
It is estimated that 60 percent of what you put on you skin can be absorbed directly into the blood stream. This has become apparent in the recently popular method of administering medications through skin patches. Just recently on T.V. I have seen advertisements for the nicotine patch and the hormone replacement therapy patch. Even though cosmetics are absorbed through the skin just like drugs, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) refuses to treat cosmetics as if they were drugs.
According to the FDA, cosmetic manufacturers can use any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient without approval from the FDA and the FDA cannot require them to do safety testing on their products before marketing. Out of the 10, 500 ingredients used in personal care, only 11% has been tested by the cosmetics industry. That's leaves 89% untested and unregulated! Also, just because an ingredient is tested it doesn't mean that it's safe. Be skeptical, the body care industry is out there to make profit, not keep you healthy!
Worse yet, companies can petition the FDA if they have a unique new ingredient to not be disclosed for fear that another company will steal their formulation. Since it's not disclosed, we have no idea what is in the products we are using and thier long-term effects. Also, cosmetic companies do not have to disclose an ingredient it they only use a small amount in their product.
Europe is way ahead of the United States when it comes to the testing of personal care ingredients. The European Union has banned 450 ingredients while the FDA has only banned 9! When they tested our products they found that 70% of them had one or more ingredients linked with cancer and other health problems.
The EPA has been testing personal care products and after 300 studies they have found that ingredients in our natural body care products are altering the hormones that control our reproduction.
In 1989 NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety) tested 2938 ingredients used in personal care products. And they found:
884 of the ingredients were found to be considered toxic with 778 of them being able to cause acute toxicity.
146 can cause tumors
218 of them can cause reproductive complications
314 can cause biological mutation (mutate the genetic code of our cells)
376 of them can cause skin and eye irritation.
This test was done in 89 and thousands of new chemicals are being introduced to us every year.
We have to remember that exposure is cumulative and it might seem like a little amount per day but it quickly adds up. For example Dr. Haushka estimates that a woman can absorb up to thirty pounds of the ingredients in moisturizers in 60 years. Aveda estimates that woman literally eat about 4 tubes of lipstick in their lifetime.
We also have to remember that cosmetic companies use penetration enhancers so that the chemicals are more readily absorbed into our skin. These chemicals can then be stored in our fat cells and organs and eventually lead to problems. Combine the personal care chemicals, with the chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives through the air we breath, the food we eat, and the water we drink, and we have a recipe for all kinds of problems including cancer.
When researching this article I came across the story of a woman who worked in the fashion industry applying make-up to models. She also used a lot of cosmetics and personal care products. Eventually she started to suffer from chronic fatigue, anxiety, hair loss, memory loss, and systemic yeast infections. When she got some lab work done the technician asked her if she worked in the cosmetics industry because her blood work showed toxic levels of heavy metals, pesticides, and chemicals in her body!
So what seems like harmless products are actually not so harmless after all.
If you want to stay away from these chemicals stay out of mainstream drug stores, department stores, and grocery stores. You can also make you own cosmetic products, which I will discuss later. Start shopping for body care products at Natural Food Stores but this is no guarantee. Some so-called natural companies are better than others. You still have to learn to read labels before you purchase or use anything on your body. Think of it this way; don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't eat. Look for products made from herbs and plants found in nature.
Beware of these following claims:
1. Not tested on animals. Just because the finished product wasn't tested on animals doesn't mean that the individual chemicals in the product weren't!
2.Natural- Means absolutely nothing.
3.Organic-Only one ingredient in the formulation has to be organic for this claim to be made.
Avoid Certain Ingredients:
I can't possibly mention all the ingredients to avoid. Rule of thumb, if you can't pronounce it don't use it. Here are just a few:
1) Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl Parabens- Preservatives derived from petroleum used in 99% of all hair and skin products today and in many so-called 'natural' products. They are highly toxic, mimic estrogen, cause hormone imbalances, and are linked to reproductive cancer. They may play a role in falling sperm counts and rising breast cancer rates. Companies use these because they are extremely cheap and they extend the shelf life of the product by inhibiting microbial growth.
2.) Formaldehydes: DMDM hydantoin, Quaternium 15, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol-Widely used as preservatives second only to the parabens. They release formaldehyde at just over ten degrees. They are known to be irritating to mucus membranes, can cause an inability to urinate, skin rashes, internal bleeding, and are known carcinogens.
2) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)-This toxic synthetic (used for its foaming properties) is a harsh detergent believed to case urinary tract, bladder, and kidney infections, genital disorders, eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp problems similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions. It forms carcinogenic nitrogen compounds when combined with specific ingredients. It penetrates the skin and has long-term retention in the body. Almost every "regular' conventional shampoo contains it. Also found in toothpaste. It is frequently disguised in so called "natural" cosmetics with the explanation that the source is " from coconut."
3) Synthetic Colors- Labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color number (such as FD&C Yellow 6) Developed from coal tar, aluminum salts, and lead. Lead toxicity primarily targets the nervous system, kidneys, bones, heart, blood and poses greatest risk to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Many colors are considered to be cancer causing. Some dyes are a risk to asthmatics, eczema sufferers and people sensitive to aspirin. Some cause hyperactivity in children, severe headaches, blurred vision and itchy/watery eyes and nose. (When you wear lipstick with these colors--and most contain them--you are EATING them!)
4) Synthetic Fragrances-When a label simply lists "fragrance," it can refer to any combination of up to 200 cheap, synthetic, toxic ingredients that can cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Fragrances can affect the central nervous system causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. They mimic estrogen, remain in body fat, and have been found in mother's breast milk.
5). Parraffin -Derived from petroleum in the form of wax, mineral oil or petrolatum jelly. Paraffins promote sun damage, as well as coating the skin and interfering with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism. They mimic estrogen. They create the very conditions they claim to alleviate. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap. Found in chap sticks, lip sticks, lotions, and other personal care products.
6.) Aluminum -Aluminum is mostly absorbed through the skin, lungs, and intestinal tract. Too
much aluminum may cause problems with metabolic processes, particularly those concerning calcium, phosphorus and iron. Aluminum may also contribute to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and other neurological disorders. It is carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic; a coloring agent found in eye shadows, toothpastes, hair dyes, antiperspirants, lipsticks and more.
7.) Sunscreen-Avoid conventional sunscreens. Avoid these ingredients: Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic Acid and Oxybenzone. Research shows that a factor in skin cancer may be a result of the sunscreen chemicals absorbing into our skin and the toxins mutating in the hot sun. Look for natural sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide (a mineral) and other natural ingredients.
Other list of ingredients to avoid (not all inclusive): PROPELYNE GLYCOL, DMDM HYDRATOIN, TEA (Triethanolamine)/ DEA (Diethanolamine) , BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, MERCURY, THIMEROSAL, LEAD ACETATE, FORMALDEHYDE, TOLUENE, PETROLEUM DISTILLATES, ETHYLACRYLATE, COAL TAR, DIBUTYL PHTHALATE, SELENIUM SULFIDE, DIMETHYLAMINE, ZIRCONIUM SILICATE, ACRYLAMIDE, PHENYLPHENOL, HEXACHLOROPHENE, LIDOCAINE, HYDROXYANISOLE, BHA, LITHIUM CARBONATE, DIMETHYL SULFOXIDE, IODINE, PHENACETIN, PHENOLPHTHALEIN, PROGESTERONE, ALUMINUM ZIRCONIUM TETRACHLOROHYDREX GLYCINE COMPLEX, ANHYDROUS, FERRIC AMMONIUM CITRATE, 2- AMINO- 4- NITROPHENOL, BRUCINE, DIPHENHYDRAMINE HCL, TETRAHYDROZOLINE HYDROCHLORIDE, LIDOCAINE HCL, 2- METHYLOXIRANE, HYDROABIETYL ALCOHOL, LITSEA CITRATA (VERBENA) OIL, DIETHANOLAMINE CETYL PHOSPHATE, TALC, LANOLIN, GLYCOLIC ACID, BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE . . .
Most of the information from this article I got from: http://www.beautytruth.net/
Although it is best to make your own, here are some more natural alternatives:
Cosmetics and Skin Care
Homemade Personal Care
by Cecilia Kinzie
Deodorant (Once you eat all raw foods you
may find that you do not require deodorant)
Use coconut oil as a deodorant after your shower. Another option is to mix some 2-3 drops essential oils and water in a spray bottle and apply when needed.
Moisturizer/Make up Remover/Conditioner
Virgin Coconut Oil or other Virgin Oil such as Almond, Olive, or Jojoba Oil.
As Moisturizer: After a shower slather your body and face with Coconut or Jojoba Oil.
As Conditioner: Add a little to your hair for a leave in conditioner or styling aide.
As Make-Up Remover: Gently apply oil to your face and wipe off with a damp wash cloth.
As a shaving cream: Spread coconut oil and soap on the area to be shaved..
1-2 drops essential oil of peppermint, cinnamon, anise, and/or clove.
Make a paste with baking soda, essential oils, and a little water. Use like toothpaste.
1/2 cup honey
Juice of one lemon
Mix ingredients in a dish and massage through damp hair and scalp. Rinse.
1 cup flax soaked in water to cover over night.
Blend flax in high speed blender until thoroughly blended. There should be no particles of flax visible. Massage through hair and scalp. Rinse
Tea Tree Oil
Dab tea tree oil on insect bites and acne with a cotton swab.
Colloidal Silver Spray or dab colloidal silver on minor cuts as an anti-bacterial.
Sun Burn/Skin Irritation/After Shave Balm
10 drops Calendula Herb Tincture
¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel
Combine the two ingredients and apply to irritated skin.
¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel
1 teaspoon Jojoba Oil
1 teaspoon Kelp Powder
Mix ingredients together and let set on face for 5-10 minutes.
Can use other ingredients for facial masks. Bananas and Avocado for dry skin. Oatmeal for oily skin. Papaya for age spots. Don't let papaya sit to long or it will burn skin. Have fun be creative!
For further reading:
Books: A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winters
Organic Beauty by Josephine Fairley