How Deep Does It Go?
by Emmily Banks
Why is it so gosh darn important to use natural and organic products on our skin? Do the ingredients really seep into our bloodstream? Does that bold red, statement lippy you wear everyday really make a difference to your health and wellbeing?
ANSWER: BIG FAT YES.
Here's why... as most people are aware, our skin is our largest organ. What may be news to some though, is that is absorbs up to 60% of the chemical ingredients found in skin care, hair care, makeup, sunscreens, perfume and various other personal care products we lather ourselves in daily.
FACT: The average person applies 10 products to their skin daily and absorbs around 130 chemicals through their blood stream.
Now it shouldn't come as a surprise that everything your body absorbs and digests, from food to drugs to skin care, effects the way your body functions and feels... i.e your health and wellness!
Many toxic ingredients in beauty products can be directly linked to skin conditions and irritations, hormonal disfunction, liver and other vital organ functioning and even tumors and cancers.
So what exactly are the chemicals and ingredients we should be looking out for... and how exactly are they comprOmising our health??
Below is a list of the "Dirty Dozen", the most prevalent, dangerous ingredients, what products they are frequently found in and what issues they can cause ... If you ask me, ITS WORTH A READ.
The Dirty Dozen:
1. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
Widely used in cosmetics and skincare products. Commonly found in lipsticks and moisturisers. Synthetic antioxidants used as a preservative. May disrupt hormones, cause liver, thyroid and kidney problems
2. COAL TAR DYES AND PIGMENTS P-phenylenediamine, Colour Index (C.I).
Found in hair dyes, eye make-up and lipsticks. Synthetic colours from coal tar Skin sensitivity/irritation. Absorption can cause cancer and can be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain
3. DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), & TEA (Triethanolamine)
Widely used in skincare and personal care products. A foam booster. A skin/eye irritant causing contact dermatitis. Easily absorbed through skin to accumulate in body organs and the brain Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
4. DMDM Hydantoin, Methenamine, Quarternium & Urea (Imidazolidinyl)
Widely used in hair products and moisturisers. Used as preservatives. May cause joint pain, cancer, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and insomnia
5. PARABENS (Methyl, butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)
Widely used in make-up, deodorants and skincare products. Used as preservatives Associated with breast cancer. May contribute to sterility in males, hormone imbalance in females and early puberty.
Widely used in make-up, skin and personal care products. A masking agent. Mixture of chemicals can trigger allergies and asthma Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
7. PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
Used in conditioners, moisturisers, and deodorants. Thickener and softener. May be contaminated with dioxine which may cause cancer.
8. DIBUTYL Phthalates
Found in nail products. A solvent for dyes and plasticiser. Health effects include damage to liver/kidney, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and hormone function.
9. PETROLETUM, Petroleum Jelly
Found in hair products, lip balm/ lipstick, skin care products. Used as a moisturiser May contain cancer-causing impurities, and cause liver and kidney abnormalities.
10. SILOXANES and CYLCLOMETHICONE
Widely used in moisturisers, make-up and hair products. Used to soften and smooth. May disrupt hormone function and liver damage
11. SODIUM Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Widely used in shampoos, shower gels, bubble baths. A foaming agent SLES may cause cancer SLS may damage liver.
Found in toothpaste, soaps and hand sanitizers. Synthetic antibacterial ingredient. May interfere with hormone function. Environment Protection Agency US registers it as a pesticide, posing risks to human health and environment
"ingredients, like Alcohol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Mineral Oil, which give women the feeling they want of being squeaky clean, or having very hydrated skin, are the very same ingredients which slow the skin’s ability to create healthy cells and can strip it of its natural moisture…ultimately creating the reverse effect." - Green Beauty Team
"IF THESE INGREDIENTS ARE SO TOXIC AND DANGEROUS, ISN'T SOMEONE REGULATING OR PROHIBITING THEIR USE?"
This information can be viewed directly on the Food and Drug Administration site here - cosmetics comes under the FDA umbrella...
Does FDA approve cosmetics before they go on the market? "Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of colour additives."
Who is responsible for substantiating the safety of cosmetics? "Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA."
Well those statements aren't very assuring, are they!?
NOT YET CONVINCED? Here's just one more reason as to why NATURAL is the way forward: think about our OUR PRECIOUS EARTH, you know - the one that produces oxygen so we can breathe..?
"Using natural products is environmentally friendly because it doesn’t create demand for the production of toxic chemicals or leave harmful residue during disposal into the sewer or landfills.
"What ends up in our water supply or soil, gets circulated into our eco system, and toxins were not meant to be in our air or water."
Packaging is also something to consider with how Green a product is. In the best case scenario, products are packaged in an eco-friendly way with the minimum amount of materials and using recycled paper, non-toxic ink, and biodegradable plastics that will easily decompose in our already overfilled landfills. Green packaging asks companies and consumers to think globally about the impact of our consumption for generations to come."
Now to the really GOOD NEWS (woohoo, you didn't think we were going to get here, did you?!). As science proves, almost all of the cells in our body regenerate, some cells every few days, some monthly and some annually!
I believe we always have the chance to start fresh and re-invent ourselves; our mind bodies and overall health. It's never too late to make a change... and its never been easier when it comes to finding amazing Natural and Organic Beauty free from all of the above listed chemicals!
There are so many beautiful, nourishing, eco friendly, cruelty free, organic and raw makeup, skin care, hair care and personal care products these days, we are actually spoilt for choice!
Let me help guide you in the right direction... AWARENESS is the first step, and if you've managed to stay with me through this blog post and you're reading this now.... GUESS WHAT - you've made it to first base! GO YOU! If you are interested in some more relevant info and personal research please follow the links below.
Emmily Banks is the founder of Depths of Beauty, a blog dedicated to inspiring conscious beauty and authentic well-being from the inside out. She is a Natural Makeup Artist with 8+ years experience in the beauty and fashion industry.