Beauty’s Real Beast
You understand that buying organic fruits and vegetables is important. Isn’t that good enough for healthy living?
No, it isn’t. You need to change your makeup and skincare products too. You may be surprised to learn how dangerous they really are.
I love cosmetics. I’ve loved to play with makeup since I was a seven-year-old girl experimenting with my mom’s supply.
Don’t assume beauty products are good for you
Unfortunately, what I didn’t know until recently was that all my beloved creams and lotions, sparkle and magic, were full of harmful chemicals! Ingredients cloaked as beautifying agents to transform my skin and body into the goddess I want to be turn out to include heavy metals, hormone and thyroid disrupters, neurotoxins, carcinogens, obesogens, liver and kidney toxins, respiratory damaging agents, and the list goes on.
The skin is one of our largest detoxifying pathways, but it also absorbs what we put on it and sends it right into our bloodstream. Even if you aren’t a body beauty junkie like me, chances are the sunscreen, deodorant, and toothpaste you’re using deserves a second look.
One of the clever ways manufacturers get away with putting so many chemicals into our products is through the catch-all term fragrance. Since fragrances are trademarked, it’s easy to slip in phthalates (a group of chemical plasticizers) — as well as other very harmful substances — all under the guise of smelling nice. Studies show that phthalates not only cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs but they weaken the immune, reproductive, and endocrine systems and negatively affect the brain and nervous system. They resemble estrogen in the body, which may result in breast and reproductive cancers, and they are linked to autism and ADHD. And fragrance is just one ingredient!
How many toxins are we talking about?
Not that manufacturers don’t just boldly throw in additional chemicals, fragrance or no. They can do this because our government has so little regulation to protect the consumer. Europe is ahead of us in this regard as they have banned 1,400 out of some 85,000 possible ingredients (of which only a fraction have been tested for toxicity). The USA has banned 30. Yep, a big whopping 30!
A bill put before congress recently failed, and although more legislation will most likely continue to try and get the attention of our government, we cannot wait to act responsibly for ourselves or our families. Think about this: babies today are born with a toxic chemical load inherited from their parents. We are starting to see more thyroid and hormone imbalances, auto-immune diseases, and younger people with cancer — all because of our exposure to these chemicals.
Read before use
We all have to start learning how to read labels. Avoid polyethylene glycol or PEG, polyoxyethylene, any ingredient with “eth” in the name such as ceteareth or oleth. Avoid MEA, DEA, TEA and methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl parabens. Avoid triclosans (microban, Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, biofresh), sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (suttocide), imidazolidinyl urea (germall 115), diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin (glydant), 2-bromo—2nitropropane-1, and 3diol (bronopol). And avoid fragrance (parfum), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), and sodium laureate sulphate. Essentially, if you cannot pronounce it, think twice about whether you should put that on — which translates to in — your body.
Be brave. You can do this!
I know this can seem overwhelming, not to mention that some of us have spent a small fortune on our personal care products. Believe me, I feel your pain. I have personally had to dump thousands of dollars worth of high-end cosmetics from my professional makeup kit because I cannot justify putting these products on anyone knowing what I now know.
Start with the easy stuff first. Go through your makeup bag and toss what’s old, replacing those items first. Little by little, replace all your cosmetics with toxin-free brands. Mascara, deodorant, and sunscreen should go at the top of your list. Skin care is next. Try out some of those natural ingredients that live in your kitchen. Olive and coconut oil can remove makeup with the help of a warm washcloth. And they’re great moisturizers for your face and body as well.
There is good news
Today we have many more skincare and makeup brands that are safe and lovely to use. Most of you know I am a Beautycounter girl. I recommend their toxin-free products. You go to the Environmental Working Group to learn what’s in your cosmetics and which products are safe. Remember, just because you buy it at the health food store doesn’t mean it’s safe. The word organic is not enough. Read the label and look for yourself.
If you want more information, read the book Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World, by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith.
The things we use everyday can either contribute to our health or hurt us, so when it comes to our beauty routines, be smart about it!