Most of us know that transdermal creams and lotions are a very effective delivery system to transport active ingredients into our bodies. For example, hormone creams, such as progesterone, testosterone or estrogen creams are a great way to get those hormones to where they are needed. There are other examples as well, such as creams for pain. So we all know, that creams applied to our skin deliver great results. Why then do we ignore the fact that anything we put on our skin will be absorbed and transported into our bodies. This includes toxic cosmetics, skin,- and haircare.
Pretty much most of our regular drug,- and department store brands are comprised of a toxic, chemical cocktail that our body has to metabolize and get rid off. Many of the ingredients are known carcinogens (substances that have the potential to cause cancer). Yet they are perfectly legal and carry no warnings on the packaging. So what to do about the products we use DAILY on our skin without giving it a second thought? First, admit to yourself, that those things are effecting your body as much as the food you consume. Then do your research. Look at the ingredient list on your cosmetics and skin care items. Seek out brands that use safer ingredients. A great place to get ratings on the safety of your cosmetics and skin care is the Environmental Working Group. Go to their website at ewg.org (this will be your best friend) to see exactly how the products you are using measure up. They even have an app that you can download and open up to see how a particular product is rated before you purchase it right there in the store.
Another personal care category to think about are fragrances, not only do we spray them onto our skin, we also inhale them all day long. The fumes may actually cause breathing trouble and/or asthma attacks in sensitive individuals, myself included.
I would like to leave you today with a short list of the most common and toxic cosmetic ingredients on the market. This list is by no means complete, but is only meant to get you started on your natural beauty journey.
- BHT and BHA: Preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptor (this is a serious issue, please read up on this), may cause cancer
- Parabens: Widely used preservative, dangers same as number 1
- 1,4-dioxane: Not listed on ingredient labels, 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant linked to cancer
- Phthalates: Banned from cosmetics in the European Union, widely used in color cosmetics
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate, irritant, contaminated with 1,4-dioxane
- Toluene: Restricted by the European Union, found in nail polish and hair dyes
- Hydroquinone: Used for lightening skin. Banned in the UK, rated most toxic on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, and linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.
- DEA/TEA/MEA: Suspected carcinogens