Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Than Skin Deep

A good friend recently asked me to blog about cosmetics and since I have been wanting to for some time, I am happy to oblige. When I first started making changes to what I was putting in my body, I didn't think much about what I was putting on my body...and then I met a very organic-focused esthetician while attending massage school, who helped me understand this simple truth-if it's on your body, it's in your body.

Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies and it absorbs everything like a sponge. We are all familiar with the fact that doctors are prescribing "patch" medications-from birth control to smoking cessation. This is proof that what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. For years I used popular department store cosmetics, like Mac and others. In college I had a strange infection on my eyelid skin. It was so raw and irritated that I could not wear makeup at all for weeks. I asked my doctor about it and she said it looked like I was allergic to red dye #5, which is often found in eye shadows, especially mauves and favorite colors. Darn!

Fast forward a few years and I am still using the same cosmetics but avoiding the purple hues. Along comes this esthetician friend who educates me about the ingredients found in many cosmetic lines...I was appalled and a little grossed out. You may not be aware, but there are alarming amounts of petroleum and other dangerous chemicals in many personal care products. I decided this part of my health-conversion was not going to be gradual. I bought some makeup recommended by my friend and immediately went home and trashed everything in my cosmetics bag. A little rash? (Okay, no pun intended, but given my past eye infection I now understood that my body was rejecting a very foreign substance).

I have been using natural makeup for several years now (including beautiful plum eye shadows!) and I have experimented like crazy and been an obsessive ingredient reader. Natural makeup has come a long way. I have tried some great...and not so great products. I would love to give you all my favs in one post, but that would impossible as a mommy of a three-year-old. So each week I will feature some of my favorite skincare and cosmetic products.

First, it is important to know what is in our personal care products. Since the FDA does not regulate these products here in the USA, reading the labels with a little scrutiny is required. Here are just a few of the ingredients we should avoid...good luck pronouncing most of them!

1. Phthatales, di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) and di(2-ehtylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
2. Parabens or alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl)
3. Lauryl sulfate(SLS), Sodium laureth sulfate(SLES)
4. Dissodium EDTA
5. Dimethicone
6. Formaldehydes or Diazolidinyl urea, 3-diol Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin , Quaternium-15, Nitropropane-1, Formalin , Methanal , Methyl aldehyde, Methylene oxide, Morbicid acid, Oxymethylene
7. Amines-Diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), amonoethanolamine (MEA)
8. Propylene / Butylene Glycol (PG)

This list may seem daunting to remember, but don't worry...I will be posting lots of great products sans the harsh chemicals. In the mean time you can do a little research of your own if you'd like. There is a great site that gives products a safety rating, defines their scientific ingredients, and lists the potential risks. I checked it out recently and I was impressed with the amount of info I got. To learn more about ingredients or to search a particular product, use Skin Deep Safe Cosmetic Data Base.

Here's to beautifully healthy skin and a healthy you!

No comments:

Post a Comment