Following up on my last post on how to identify toxins in your foods, I’ve decided to write a little bit about my own experience with personal care and beauty products. Why? Because my choice of healthy living is from the inside out, so what I put on my skin matters as much as what I eat.
Did you know that:
- Cosmetics is a self-regulating industry? The people who create the commercial products used every day are who determine if the product and the chemicals contained within them are safe.
- This means that chemicals are used in cosmetics (skin, hair, beauty, personal, baby, oral) on the basis that they are safe till the opposite is demonstrated?
- Your skin will absorb chemicals 10 times faster than by way of ingestion because the skin doesn’t have a digestive system or the liver detoxifying process to break the chemicals down
- The average person puts over 200+ chemicals on their skin every day? 65% of these chemicals are absorbed into the body.
This is something I learnt not long ago, and most people I talk to these days don’t know either. I remember my mum telling me what to buy for my personal and skin care… and I used to ignore her. When she told me to stop using certain brands because of their ingredients, I ignored her. Till one day someone else told me about it, and then it clicked and I realised what I was doing to my body.
An example someone gave once: have you ever received a topical prescription from a doctor, such as an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial cream? Or used a topical pain reliever for a mouth sore (or for your baby’s teething)? What about a birth control patch that slowly releases hormones? Why do these products work so well when applied to our skin, rather than taken orally? Well, I know why now… our skin readily absorbs chemicals and other substances deeper into our body– through our skin layers, into muscles and fat, and ultimately into our bloodstream and organs.
Another example: Make up. It doesn’t just hover around on the outer layer of your skin until you remove it at night – it penetrates deeper and deeper into your body throughout the day.
Scary, hey? Well, I thought it was scary. There is so much information available around about nutrition and skin & personal care products ingredients that can cause cancer and other illnesses that it’s frightening and confusing, to say the least.
So I decided to look for a botanically based safe option (which by the way, I love). But I didn’t stop there – I then starting investigating which are those ingredients that I should be avoiding in personal care products to make sure every time I buy a new product I’m not making the wrong choice. I can’t always buy natural and organic products to be honest, but I like checking that the products I buy aren’t harmful. One thing I discovered is within my powers is not buying nasty, chemical filled products till I can afford or have access to organic, vegan and botanical based ones (and for me is also a must to avoid products that are tested in animals).
Different sources name different ingredients, but there are some that consistently repeat across my ‘to avoid’ lists and I’d like to share them with you:
- Synthetic colours
- Synthetic fragrances
- Synthetic dyes
- Petroleum based ingredients: benzene, petrolatum, phthalates and toluene
- Mineral oil
- Formaldehyde-donating preservatives
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Sunscreen chemicals
- DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine)
Do you feel a little bit overwhelmed with all this information? I did when I started researching it and my first thought was: “I need to get rid of all my cosmetics and replace them for a safe option!”. The reality is that I would be broke if I tried to suddenly replace all of my beauty care products at once. So my first step was to pick the one or two range products I was most concerned about: skincare and makeup.
I replaced my whole range of facial moisturisers and make up, plus my deodorant, for a brand I knew was botanically based, vegan, result driven and PETA certified. That was a great choice and I have to admit that I feel confident that I’m now using a safe product on my body. Actually, I’m totally in love with the makeup range! Even people at work could see the difference when I did the shift, so I knew that besides putting a healthy product on my skin, the results were visible.
So, if you are not comfortable with the products you are currently using, research some better brands or, if you have time, you could even consider making your own replacement – there are lots of recipes online.
Once you’ve found a replacement that you’re happy with, decide what you might like to replace to start with. One at a time, little by little, you will slowly transform your beauty care routine into a non-toxic, pampering affair. Because – as I keep repeating in every post- you are your most precious asset – look after and treat yourself with love and care and enhance your healthy living from the inside out.
With lots of love,