The latest buzz in the food industry is all about fair-trade, organic, sustainable farming, chemical free, whole foods and natural. So many of us painstakingly read our labels to make sure there are no nasties in our foods, and that they do not come from China.
We check to see that the fish are ethically fished and in a dolphin safe manner. We worry about making sure that we do not feed our body anything that will harm it, and then search for recycled toilet paper and chemical free cleansers so that we do not pollute our environment.
Yes, we are so proud of our sustainable lifestyle and our diminishing green footprint!
Meanwhile, recent studies show that on average, during our daily beauty regime we expose ourselves to over 500 chemicals by simply using shampoo, conditioner, face and body cleansers, toners, moisturisers and perfume. Add to that an array of make-up, and hairstyling products.
Women apply up to 13 products each day, most of these containing at least 20 ingredients.
Some of these chemicals can lead to allergies, hormone problems, fertility issues and various illnesses, including cancer.
The biggest culprit is perfume.
Perfume has at least 250 ingredients with some equating to almost 400 chemicals.
Lipsticks, body lotions and even mascara all have around 30 ingredients each. The body absorbs more than 60% of these chemicals and then transfers them around the body.
I know it is all incredibly hard to for us to give up our chemical skincare and shampoos and styling products, especially if you particularly love a product and notice how good the results seem to be on the skin, and how shiny our hair is and how well the hairspray holds it all in place.
But remember, there is research indicating that you can absorb up to 60% of what you place on your skin into your blood system, so why are you eating pure food when you are applying junk food to your skin?
As our body’s biggest organ, your skin is your most important immune defense barrier as well as your largest organ for eliminating waste.
Commercial products with harmful petroleum ingredients can plasticize and “constipate” your skin, making germs more likely to get in and toxins less likely to get out of your body. The result: Neither you nor your skin are as radiant or as healthy as you could be.
EPA tests conclude that ingredients in shampoos, dyes, and other personal care products “may be playing havoc with hormones that control reproduction and development.” There are also tests questioning how much these chemicals are likely to increase our incidence of cancer.
Start checking all product labels. Avoid these harmful, hazardous “Terrible Touch-Me-Not” ingredients!
Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40): a very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s moisture and natural immune barrier, making you more vunerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum (petrol) derivative and is found in many skin and hair products, fragrance, antibacterial hand washes as well as shellac and antifreeze. It can act as a “carrier” accelerating the penetration of other harmful chemicals into your skin. It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says it may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, anesthesia, and coma. Fatal ingested dose is one ounce or less.
DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine): hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects. In the United States however, they are still used despite the fact that Americans may be exposed to them 10-20 times per day with products such as shampoos, shaving creams and bubble baths.( please note that the top selling product in Australia, sold in a white bottle with grey writing……. Is made in America) Dr.Samuel Epstein (Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois) says that repeated skin applications…. of DEA-based detergents resulted in major increase in incidence of liver and kidney cancer. The FDA’s John Bailey says this is especially important since “the risk equation changes significantly for children”.
DMDM Hydantion & Urea (Imidazolidinyl): just two of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, and loss of sleep. Exposure may also irritate the respiratory system, trigger heart palpitations or asthma, and aggravate coughs and colds. Other possible side effects include weakening the immune system and cancer.
FD&C Colour Pigments: synthetic colours made from coal tar, containing heavy metal salts that deposit toxins into the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colours can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
Fragrances: mostly synthetic ingredients can indicate the presence of up to four thousand separate ingredients, many toxic or carcinogenic. Symptoms reported include headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. A alternative fragrance form is to use Organic Essential Oils.
Mineral Oil: petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Used in many products such as baby oil, which is 100% mineral oil! Alternatives – Moisture Magnets (Saccharide Isomerate) from beets; Ceramides, Jojoba and other vegetable oils, etc.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners.
Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol: gaseous hydrocarbons, which in a liquid state act as “surfactant” (wetting olagents and solvents). They easily penetrate the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs. PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats! The EPA considers PG so toxic that it requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles and to dispose of any PG solutions by burying them in the ground. Because PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. But there isn’t even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than in most industrial applications.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): detergents and surfactants that pose serious health threats. Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers – and in 90% of personal-care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experience eye damage, depression, laboured breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, and even death. Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS because proteins are dissolved. SLS may also damage the skins immune system by causing layers to separate and inflame. When combined with other chemicals, SLS can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens. Your body may retain the SLS for up to five days, during which time it may enter and maintain residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain. Alternative – Ammonium Cocoyl Isethionate.
Triclosan: a synthetic “antibacterial” ingredient – with a chemical structure similar to Agent Orange! The EPA registers it as a pesticide, giving it high scores as a risk to both human health and the environment. It is classified as a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Its manufacturing process may produce dioxin, a powerful hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion; that is only one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools! Hormone disruptors pose enormous long-term chronic health risks by interfering with the way hormones perform, such as changing genetic material, decreasing fertility and sexual function, and fostering birth defects. It can temporarily deactivate sensory nerve endings, so contact with it often causes little or no pain. Internally, it can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse, and convulsions. Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs and can cause paralysis, suppression of immune function, brain hemorrhages, and heart problems. Tufts University School of Medicine says that triclosan is capable of forcing the emergence of “super bugs” that it cannot kill. Its widespread use in popular antibacterial cleaners, tooth pasts and household products may have nightmare implications for our future.
I know that the research all comes from America where there is more awareness of the problems we are faced with using chemicals. Unfortunately I could not find any information as thorough in Australia.
I know for a fact how badly all of these chemicals can affect you.
I worked for a skincare company and as a beauty therapist for 32 years. Working with chemical skincare and even developing it, I now suffer from Chronic Fatigue.
Whilst working in product development I suffered ongoing cystitis, hormone imbalances and constant other health issues. We did not test on animals – we tested on ourselves.
And because my immune system was the weakest, we tested everything on me first to see if there would be any negative side effect……….
I know finding the perfect balance of natural skincare, hair care, deodorants etc. is really hard to do. For more information go to this link
I recommend skincare ranges such as Edible Beauty, Purestuf, Uskincare, Aesop, Shower Gels such as Organic Care (at Woolworths), who also have a shampoo and conditioner range if you are not picky. Pure is a beautiful natural hair care range from hairdressers. I know there are many other natural products for hair available from hairdressers – I am just not up to date sorry as there are more and more amazing products available every year! Just ask your hairdresser for advice.
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