The skin is the body’s largest organ and acts as a sponge, absorbing approximately 60% of what is put on it. To ensure good health and well-being avoid skin care products that contain toxic ingredients.
Through the application of a large variety of beauty and skin care products we expose our skin, and body, to a large number of ingredients – many of which have not been tested for their long-term effects. Many of the products that we apply consist of ingredients that are toxic, without us even knowing.
The toxic ingredients in skincare products not only impact on our health but also on the health of the environment, causing damage to the soil, water, flora and fauna. If these toxic ingredients are having a negative impact on the body, one wonders if enough research has been done on the damages to the soil, water, flora and fauna?
INGREDIENTS ON THE WATCH LIST
Alcohol dehydrates the skin and strips it of its protective barrier. It causes irritation, dryness and free-radical damage, but most importantly, it destroys the very substances that keep the skin healthy. Ultimately, through regular use of products with an alcohol base, the skin is continuously in a state of stress. For these reasons it is worth noting that organic alcohol is produced from plants that have not been exposed to any chemicals, fertilisers or pesticides, with the result that it is much safer for humans as well as the environment. Natural organic alcohol is very different to synthetic alcohol, which is damaging and dries the skin out. It is important to check the alcohol content on the label. If it is listed among the top five as one of the main ingredients, the effect is potentially damaging. If it is listed as one of the last ingredients, the alcohol content is far less and therefore less of a threat to your skin.
Parabens are used as a preservative and can be found in products used for both external (body products) and internal (pharmaceuticals) use. Parabens imitate oestrogen and are thought to be endocrine disruptors and may potentially cause reproductive disorders. In addition to this it is thought that parabens may cause lower sperm count in men. In a 2004 study parabens were found in over 90% of human breast cancer tumours.1
Synthetic fragrances are found in most fragranced products, such as perfume, aftershave, shower gel and scented body lotions. These fragrances are made up of large numbers of chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients and cause irritation and in some cases eczema, asthma, allergic rashes and headaches. Best alternatives to synthetic oils are essential oils, which are extracted plant oils – these give herbs and flowers their fragrance.
The three main sources of mineral oils are crude rock oil, which is drilled from the ground, fish discards such as the guts, and rancid plant oil. Not exactly what you wish to put on your skin.
Mineral oil sits on the skin and forms a layer that causes blocked pores, which leads to blackheads, spots and acne due to the fact that the skin can’t breathe through the layer. It further interrupts the skin’s ability to eliminate the necessary toxins through the skin, as it is blocked. Mineral oils are found in lipsticks, baby oils and face and body lotions.
Sodium Lauryl and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
These are toxic, artificial foaming ingredients which are found in products such as shampoo, toothpaste, bubble bath, washing powder, soaps etc. They cause skin irritations, are toxic to internal organs and can cause reproductive problems. A big concern is that the human body isn’t designed to get rid of these toxins once absorbed. For this reason they remain in the tissues for a long time.
Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial ingredient and has a chemical structure similar to Agent Orange, which was used in the Vietnam War and is still imposing side effects today. It is a hormone disrupter, which poses long-term chronic health risks interfering with the performance of hormones. When stored in body fat, the toxic levels accumulate and affect the liver, kidneys and lungs. In some cases, it can cause paralysis, brain haemorrhages and heart problems. The usage of Triclosan in popular products such as toothpaste and household products may have massive negative implications in the future.
When purchasing skin care products make sure to always check the label for ingredients. Alternatively, and better still, choose products that use only 100% natural ingredients – you will not only feel better, but look better!
- Darbre PD. Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. 2004. Available from: http://www.gomoreraw.com/pdf/parabens.pdf