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Skincare 102: Nasty Ingredients to Avoid and Why
As mentioned in my previous hub post Skincare 101, I am an avid believer in taking care of my skin and ensuring that the lovely people of the word are aware of what to look for when buying great products and avoiding nasty ones. Although the idea is against popular believe - surgery, injections, and $100 creams are not a necessity to having lovely healthy skin!
Health First Ladies:
Let me start off by painting a picture, our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, we tend to think of it as a useless barrier between the harmful substances in the atmosphere and important organs inside our bodies, but truthfully, skin is just as important as all the internal organs. Failure to treat this precious organ correctly can lead to seriously damaging short and long term issues.
“Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp, such as getting a hair dye, may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.” (Mercola,1)
Our skin is full of these little tiny holes that absorb and produce – these little guys are pores and they do not only exist on your face, they are all over your body! These pores suck up everything you put on them and can react very badly if they are being fed unnatural chemicals, drying alcohols, and suffocating synthetic oils.
And although everyone always hears of the terrors of the sun - the big guy in the sky is truthfully one of the most harmful dangers to our skin, exposing our bodies to unwelcome free radicals, strange looking sun spots, and wrinkle producing burns. Although it may seem like a beautifying fun time to go to the beach, slather yourself with mineral oil, and bake for hours like a crisping chip – your skin is going to pay for it later.
Looking Sexy is Important Too:
Obviously being healthy is important and wonderfully fulfilling, but we also want to look beautiful too– please do not listen to the popular opinion that finding natural solutions puts you in the same category as a tree hugging, makeup-less, dreadlock sporting radical.. no offense if that is you. You can look positively gorgeous with makeup that is chemical free, hair care formulas that have no harmful additives, and skin care products that leave you smelling, feeling, and looking like the classiest chic there ever was.
The first step to knowing whether or not a product is worth its price tag is to look at the ingredient list on the back! I know this seems boring and overwhelming, but you’re skin and body will thank you later. Just take a look at the following list, these are the top no-nos for me when I am shopping for beauty products and if you read about them, you will understand why!
The Skincare Cease and Desist List:
It’s more than ok if you don’t recognize most of the words on the list below – I didn’t either at first but all I had to do was a little ol’fashion research to know what I should be putting on my lovely skin and what I shouldn’t – and its make a world of difference. I’ll help you sort through this so that there is no confusion and you can refer back to this is you are thinking about purchasing a new product and need verification to whether or not it is counterproductive to your skin.
DEA, MEA, TEA – A foaming agent that pumps up the volume of products – This additive causes mild to major reactions to sensitive skin and eyes, and in laboratory experiments, high exposure of these chemicals can be linked to liver cancers and unnatural changes in both thyroid and skin.
Parabens & Phthalates - Used as a preservative and volumizer. “Parabens are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function” (Breast Cancer Action, 1). These pesky preservatives are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive toxicity. They are found in everything! Popular deodorants, makeup, hair care, high end face creams, you name it! These are one of the main ingredients I try to avoid.
Fragrance – Your products do not need to be bland and scent free – “added fragrance” is where the issues begin to occur. Fragrance conveniently masks the smell of hidden chemicals and preservatives, such as parabens and phthalates. Synthetic fragrance can produce headaches, dizziness, asthma, and allergies. Irritation from fragrance can even occur below the surface of your skin without the top layers even showing signs of reaction.
FD&C Color Pigments: When these color pigments are applied to the skin, toxic heavy metal salts found in coal tar will often cause an irritated reaction. However the scariest part is that as these color pigments become absorbed into the skin, they often deplete the body of oxygen. Without oxygen fueling our cells, we have less energy and our bodies will not function correctly! (NaturaVeda, 1)
Isopropyl Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is an irritant of the skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and upper respiratory tract (Medical Disability Advisor, 1). Alcohol also dries out the skin organ and strips the pores of natural oils in its attempt to wash away oil buildup that causes acne – however this confuses the skin into thinking it needs to produce more oil to hydrate the bare stripped skin. Alcohol additives can often lead to more irritated and acne ridden skin than ever before!
Mineral Oil: This has the opposite effect of alcohol, this synthetic thick oil clogs the pores all over the body and suffocates skin, preventing it from receiving vitamins from the sun. This greasy oil also prevents us from sweating out and ridding ourselves of the liquid waste we naturally dispose of through the pores on the skin. Mineral Oil includes baby oil!
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): A Penetration enhancer that is used in many products. It is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue (Martinko, 1).
Silicone Emollients: Silicone is what makes products glide on smooth and stay silky on the skin surface. Unfortunately, silicone does not biodegrade, and also prevent skin from breathing and disposing of unhealthy liquids. Silicone is a large cause of skin irritation and is also linked to tumor growth.
Sulfates: A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy (Martinko, 1).These are found mainly in shampoos and soaps to give the products more of a “useful” suds-y look. Sulfates severely dry out hair and can lead to long term hair damage, they can also be an extreme irritant to eyes and the scalp.
Petrolatum: This additive originated from fossil fuels and is essentially the same formula as what we pour into our cars to make them run. Petrolatum is similar to mineral oil in its uses and effects. This is a pore clogging, skin suffocating skin irritant that in my opinion is much better used for filling up my tank than for hydrating my skin.
There are always new products being added to my Cease and Desist List so please feel free to share with me if there is an ingredient that you believe belongs on my list.
Please keep up your curiosity and research, and feel free to look to my hubs for more skin-care myth busting information!