When we truly understand
how incredible our bodies really are, we take better care of them. Believe
it or not, it takes a lot to keep someone as complex as you running properly!
Take your nose, for instance. . . . did you know it can detect 10,000 distinct
chemical odors? How about your circulatory system? Your blood vessels are
60,000 miles long if laid end to end, and 100 trillion cells make up your
body. Your bone marrow makes 140,000 blood cells each minute. Your eye's
retina has 100 million light receptor cells, and can distinguish 7,290,000
shades of color, unless you're my colorblind (but wonderful) husband.
Covering all of this is the largest organ, your skin. Again, the numbers
are staggering: you have 2.5 million sweat glands on your body, . . . one
square inch of skin has 650 sweat glands, 65 hair follicles, 234 feet of
nerves, 57 feet of capillaries, 19,000 sensory cells, 94 sebaceous (oil)
glands, 1250 pain receptors, 13 cold and 78 heat receptors, plus Langerhans
(immune) cells. Our skin has adapted to protect us from Mother Nature's
onslaught, but it is also designed to let things in as well.
Back before the industrial age came along, the types of chemicals that
touched our skin were pretty much those that the Earth made on her own.
Today it's a different story. What you are putting on your skin day after
day, year after year, may be doing much more harm than good. Have you ever
stopped to think how many hours a day your face spends under a layer of
makeup, and what ingredients are penetrating your skin? One of the arguments
I hear from skincare manufacturers and ingredient suppliers is that a little
Propylene Glycol or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in a cream or shampoo won't hurt.
Fine -- but we're not talking about a single exposure, here -- more like
ten or twenty thousand, several times a day! Over the years, using these
products every day can affect the body. And when shampoo runs into your
eyes, the potential harm an ingredient like SLS can do is downright frightening.
A note to my salon-owning friends: If you have formulated your own line
through a private label company, BEWARE! You may be saving money, but the
majority of these companies use the dangerous ingredients I list below!!
Do not expose your customers (who are your lifeline) or yourself to these
ingredients. Your customers will appreciate it, I promise.
Remember -- your skin absorbs chemicals into your bloodstream and tissues.
It is not a barrier to them!
Here's a partial list of ingredients found in many skin care items. For
a thorough list, please refer to Beauty
to Die For, by Judi Vance , or A
Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, by Ruth Winter.
DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA
As if the long names are not frightening enough . . . these three are hormone-disrupting
chemicals and form cancer-causing agents. They are commonly found in bubble
baths (in which we relax and soak for long periods), shampoos, soaps and
facial cleansers. They are easily absorbed by the skin, and research indicates
a strong link to liver and kidney cancer.There is also evidence that carcinogens
form when Cocamide DEA (a cleanser, thickener and foam booster) is applied
to the skin.
FD&C Color Pigments
You see these at the end of every ingredient list, but not because they
are inconsequential. Many cause skin sensitivity and irritation, or even
oxygen depletion in the blood. Most are made from coal tar and studies show
that almost all of them are carcinogenic (cancer causing). For example,
FD&C Red #4 is no longer available for use in foods because of a known
threat to the 1adrenal glands and urinary bladder. It is considered a carcinogen
but is still used in non-food products.
The term "fragrance" appearing on a product label indicates the
presence of any number of up to 4,000 different ingredients. The majority
of these are synthetic and are either cancer-causing or otherwise toxic.
Exposure to fragrances has been shown to affect the central nervous system.
Fragrance is found in most deodorants (and the underarm is too close to
the breast area), shampoos, sunscreens, skincare and bodycare products.
Essential oils are the healthful alternative.
Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin
These are two of many preservatives that are formaldehyde donors. While
other less dangerous preservatives exist and are necessary, formaldehyde-based
chemicals are best left to morticians, as they can cause joint pain, allergies,
depression, headaches, chest pain, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness,
loss of sleep, or even function as asthma triggers. Serious side effects
include the weakening of the immune system, and, as usual, cancer. These
chemicals are commonly found in skincare, bodycare and haircare products,
antiperspirants and nail polish.
Quarternium-15 is also used as a preservative in cosmetics and toiletry
items, as well as skin moisturizers and hair care products. It commonly
causes allergic reactions and dermatitis, and breaks down into formaldehyde
Isopropyl Alcohol is petroleum derived, and is used in antifreeze and shellac.
Side effects are headache, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting,
and coma. It is commonly found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotion
and aftershave lotions. It penetrates the skin easily and is thought to
destroy intestinal flora, leaving your body's major organs open to parasites,
and thus to cancers. The sad fact is that isopropyl alcohol simply isn't
needed, but the petroleum industry makes a killing off of this industrial
byproduct (read: industrial waste).
Mineral oil sounds nice, doesn't it? It isn't. It is a petroleum derivative
that coats the skin like plastic wrap, which stands in the way of the skin's
natural function of releasing toxins from the body. It slows the skin's
natural cell development, causing the skin to age prematurely.
Baby oil is 100% mineral oil!!!
Healthful alternatives are moisture magnets such as saccharide isomerate
from beets, ceramides, jojoba and other vegetable oils.
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)
PEG's are used to dissolve oil and grease, and to thicken products. They
strip the skin of its natural moisture factor, leaving the skin and hence
the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially cancer causing.
They are used in spray-on oven cleaners and, not surprisingly, in many haircare
and skincare products.
Propylene Glycol is a very beneficial product -- for your car's radiator.
It is, after all, the active ingredient in antifreeze. Used as a surfactant
(or wetting agent), it also breaks down protein and cellular structure,
yet it is still found in bodycare products, including toothpaste, makeup
and deodorants. The EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing
and goggles when working with it. Direct contact can cause brain, liver
and kidney abnormalities. Stick deodorants are higher in concentration of
PG than is allowed for most industrial use! Also beware of Butylene Glycol,
a petroleum plastic like PG.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Both are used as detergents and surfactants in car wash soaps, garage floor
cleaners, and engine degreasers. Yet these two are most widely used in cosmetics,
toothpaste, hair conditioner, shampoo and other foaming products. Exposure
causes eye damage, depression, diarrhea and many other ailments. This is
perhaps the MOST DANGEROUS of all ingredients, and when used in combination
with other chemicals, can form nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogen.We
use a gentle, safe alternative: Sodium Cocoyl Methyl Taurate, which may
not be easier to pronounce, but it certainly is easier on your body.
Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial ingredient with a chemical structure
similar to that of Agent Orange. And it behaves the same way: The Environmental
Protection Agency registers it as a pesticide, highly toxic to any living
organism. It is also classified as a chlorophenol, a chemical class suspected
of causing cancer in humans. It is a hormone disrupter, which means it affects
sexual function and fertility and may foster birth defects. Its manufacturing
process produces Dioxin (need we say more?), a powerful hormone-disrupting
chemical with toxic effects in quantities as small as parts per trillion
(that's one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools). Triclosan stores away
in body fat and can accumulate to toxic levels in the liver, kidneys and
lungs. It can cause paralysis, suppression of the immune system, brain hemorrhages,
and heart problems. It is widely used in antibacterial cleansers, toothpaste
(not ours!), and household products.
A study reported by the Associated Press on 9/9/2000 reports that nearly
half of all hand and bar soaps contain anti-bacterial ingredients, which
some experts say could be killing harmless germs and contributing to the
spread of hard-to-kill germs: "With more commercial soaps containing
anti-bacterials, bacteria may become resistant to these soaps, and the speed
with which the resistance develops is likely related to the amount used
by the public. . . . Anti-bacterial soaps and lotions should be reserved
for the sick patients, not the healthy household." Synthetic antibacterials
such as Triclosan have been banned in Europe, but Anti-Bacterial is still
available in the United States. Finally, why are we, in the United States,
so fanatic about destroying bacteria. Most is harmless.
Talc has been around for a long time, which isn't reason enough to use it.
It is widely used in makeup, baby and adult powders and foundation. It conveniently
provides slip and covering, with the inconvenience of being strongly linked
to ovarian and testicular cancer.
A topical form of Vitamin A derivative. It is listed on the Health Canada
Product Safety Bureau's Hit List as: TOXIC.
Petrolatum is a petrochemical that contains two well-known carcinogens:
Benzo-A-Pyrene and Benzo-B-Fluroanthene
It prevents the skin from taking in oxygen or respiring waste. It is used
in hand and skincare products to form an occlusive barrier on the skin (again,
preventing the skin from doing what it is meant to do, detoxify).
So Now What?
Well, you made it. After reading this, you may think death is at the doorstep,
but take heart -- your body is a dynamic system. By avoiding these ingredients,
your body will begin immediately recovering from the onslaught our chemical-happy
society has unleashed. You will look and feel better before you know it.
What to buy instead:
See the BodyFueling.com "Eco-Shopping"
page for a list of great natural
beauty products and cosmetics, minus the above ingredients!
Back to Top
|| "Back before the industrial age
came along, the types of chemicals that touched our skin were pretty much
those the Earth made on her own. Today is a different story. What you are
putting on your skin day after day, year after year, may be doing much more
harm than good."|