Did you know anything that you put on your skin gets absorb 4 times faster than anything you ingest? It actually takes 26 seconds to hit your bloodstream. Makes you think, right? What are we exposing our skin too – our largest organ? Are we really taking care of it? Are we really doing everything on our power to perserve and maintain it’s health? After all, it is the gateway to a healthy functioning body.
There are things we can’t control from getting on our skin such as dirt, dust, free radicals in the air, etc., but what are we putting on our skin on the regular? Think of the everyday personal care products: lotions, cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, makeup, the list goes on. Do we even know what half of the ingredients are? What do they even do? What purpose do they serve?
Most personal care products are filled with more perservatives and thickening waxes or oils, then active ingredients. Companies do this to reduce costs and promote over product use, they bulk the product with fillers reducing its effectiveness which requires comsumers to use more of the product to do the job; therefore, back to the store to buy more! Smart! They have managed increase their profits by speeding up the time it takes to reload on our personal care products while decreasing production and manufacturing costs. Pretty sweet!
The average skincare line costs roughly $40 and consists of the basic cleanser, toner and moisture and lasts roughly 1 to 2 months. The average shampoo, conditioner & body soap runs us another $40 lasting us anywhere from a month to a month and a half. At the end of the year, skincare alone runs us approximately $240 to $480 and bath & body runs us roughly $240 to $360; in just those two departments personal care roughly costs us $480 to $840, and that’s the most basic of products. Now look at let’s look at the cost of higher end products, the average cost of a luxury brand skincare can range from $200 to $400, bath & body can range from $100 to $200 both lasting roughly 2 months – yearly total of $1800 to $3600. But, cheap or expensive, do we know what we are paying for? Do we know anything about the products or it’s ingredients?
Let’s have a look:
Parabens. Preservative used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in products. They also possess estrogen-mimicking properties associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Synthetic Colors (FD&C or D&C). Synthetic colours are used to make the product look more appealing to the consumer. They are derived from petroleum (which is a by-product of gasoline) and are said to be a carcinogen; but that’s not all they have been linked to ADHD in children.
Fragrance. Common misconception is to think this is another word for scent, but it is not! Rather it is a term created to protect the company’s ‘secret formula’, but what is there to protect if the formula is patent? This means any ingredient that company deems part of their ‘secret formula’ will be umbrellaed under fragrance.
Formaldehyde. A carcinogen linked to occuptional related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. It can also cause allergic skin reacton and harmful to the immune system.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). Found in over 90% of personal care products, think of anything that foams. They are known to cause irritation to skin, lungs and eyes; but the major danger is when it interacts with other chemicals to form nitrosamines -a carcinogen, which can lead to kidney and respiratory damage.
Toluene. Petrochemical derived from petroleum (by-product of gasoline), it is a potent solvent used to dissolve paint. It has been linked to immune system toxicity, and has the potential to affect our respiratory sytem and cause nausea. Other words for Toluene are Benzene, Toluol, Phenylmethane and Methylbenzene.
Propylene Glycol. A small alcohol used as a skin conditioning agent that is classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. It can cause hives and dermatitis which can be manifested in concentration levels as low as 2%.
Triclosan. Antimicrobial chemical that is also known as an endocrine disruptor, which has the ability to disupt thyriod and reproductive hormones.
Phthalates. Group of chemicals that increases the flexibility and softness of plastics. They are said to be endocrine disruptors, which are actually linked to early breast development in teens, increased risk of breast cancer and birth defects in males and females. Note, this is something that could be part of the ‘secret formula’ and listed under fragrance.
These are just a few of the dangerous ingredients that personal care products contain, there are many more chemicals and ingredients that FDA has yet to deem unsafe. Personal care companies are capable of manufacturing a product without government review or approval. So long as they have the money to produce and sell the product, they are free to offer it to consumers, only once a set amount individuals have been negatively affected by the product will the government step in. How is that for regulation? How it that the European Union has banned over 1300 ingredients from personal care products, while the FDA has only banned 9? This is way it is so important to educate ourselves on the products that buy, just as much as we educate ourselves on the food we eat. Pay attention now, so that we pay for it later in illness.