Beauty may only be skin deep but skin care is not. It goes right through the skin and straight into your blood stream. So when you are trying to look you best and fight aging, take a minute to consider the toxic ingredients in many skin care products that may contribute to your chances of not aging at all.
The whole idea behind transdermal medication patches is that micronized chemicals can transport across the dermal barrier and blood vessels and enter the blood stream getting the medication to you in doses that may not survive the digestive tract. Well, so do cosmetics and you better watch out.
Andrew Weil in his book, Spontaneous Healing, believes that women get some of their greatest exposure to toxins from cosmetics, skin care and make up, especially chemical dyes and colorings in color cosmetics and hair dyes. All those bright cheek, nail and dark hair colors are chemical dyes. The fine powders do double duty, not only tranversing the dermal barrier but also being inhaled at the same time to build up inside and/or be absorbed into the lungs.
The list of ingredients grows almost everyday: sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming cleansers), imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea, anything ending in paraben (there are several and earn a complete post of their own in the near future), petrolatum, propylene gylcol, phthalates (perfumes), formaldehyde (nail polish remover), mineral oil, lead, talc ( powders), phenoxyethanol. I could go on and Style.com’s Beauty counter Blog does as does Organic Consumers.org. (click the links for more info).
If you are getting the picture that this a an overwhelming issue, you’re right. This is where our friends at the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database, Skin Deep, can be a Godsend. They list all of the cosmetics they can find, more than 69,000 of them, and rate their safety on a numerical system of 1 -10 to allow you to make informed choices about what toxins we are exposing our bodies to.
It is important enough as a healthy person to avoid toxic exposure and consider the load build up with continued expose over time. Cancer patients with their proclivity to carcinogen sensitivity need to be especially careful, sticking to the 1-2 low hazard products. Moderate hazard is 3-6 and high hazard is rated 7-10.
Parents of young children should also pay particular attention to the toxic hazards of cosmetic ingredients as children have a longer time of exposure over the length of their lives and reach dangerous toxic loads more quickly due to their small body size.
Luckily there are plenty of organic skin care lines at everyone’s price point so we can all lower our toxic load. Now, you may wonder why I have not included the all-natural brands. Well, all-natural is a deceptive phrase at best. To take it to the extreme example, just remember Marie Curie. She researched her entire life with a naturally occurring radium, a radioactive element which caused her death from aplastic anemia, leukemia. Now I am not suggesting that anything in cosmetics is that bad but remember asbestos and how it still haunts us in flame retardants. Red Fiestaware prior to World War II was made with uranium. (We were saved during and after WWII when the government took all the uranium for the Manhattan Project building the atomic bomb.) Now I for one would prefer not to eat on radioactive dishes. There will always be ingredients that are going to turn out to be more harmful than good so let’s try to err on the side of caution.
Organic cosmetics and skin care, like their organic edible cousins, are not made with petrochemicals or nasty solvents and chemical dyes. They are held to a higher standard when they are officially approved organic. Some organics are more organic then others so check the labels. that 10% can hide a lot of sins. I guess we still have to read the labels.
Here are some of favorite organic lines starting with the least expensive and working on up.
Boots Botanics Organics - from the iconic pharmacy chain in Britain, can be purchased at Target here in the US. Most of their items are under $25 and the cleanser, one of my favorites at any price, is under $10. I love its smell and they way it leaves my skin, smooth, fresh feeling and never tight.
John Masters Organics started its life as a hair care range that grew into a full line of organic skin and hair care. Slightly higher in price, its top price point is the Mandarin Night Cream at about $50 works like the fancy brands and can be found at Whole Foods Markets and on Amazon.
Absolution is the most expensive one I have used. it comes from France and has a wonderful line of customizable creams and serums in innovative packaging that makes blending your own personal application easy. It appeals to the alchemist in me and I like the idea that I can change the combinations as my skin requires.
Karma Organics Spa actually makes organic nail polishes and in fashionable colors of the season that rival the catwalk colors. They make an amazing nail polish remover that is basically soybean oil. It takes a bit more elbow grease (not if you let the saturated cotton pad remain on the nail and allow the polish to soak and loosen) and leaves nails less dry and prone to breakage, in my opinion. they have a fun color Little Blue Box in the iconic robin’s egg color of that Fifth Avenue jewelry store made famous by Audrey Hepburn. Their prices are reasonable, $9.99 per 12 ml polish bottle and will ship domestically. And remember, if you just have to have that Polish of the Year and it is not all that healthy, you can compromise with an organic barrier undercoat to limit the absorption of the bad stuff.
I am going to share more information like this, so please watch this space. there are plenty of cosmetic lines, make-up, that have gone the extra mile to limit the harmful ingredients in their products; Tarte Cosmetics and Josie Maran are just two. And soon will have a newsletter for you so you can keep up with your healing news right from the comfort of your own email – LOL. Until then, I hope this has helped even just a little.