The Truth about Natural Skincare
Did you know that skin care products only need to contain 1% of natural ingredients in order to be labeled natural?
Did you also know that cosmetics are not subject to FDA approval?
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about natural skincare but was totally floored by that reality when listening to this month’s book club book, Woman Code by Alisa Vitti yesterday. Alisa is a functional nutritionist and women’s hormone expert and in her book, dives right into the science behind our lifestyle, the food we eat and the way those affect our hormones and overall health.
In chapter two of the book, she shares that a recent UK study found that women who regularly wear makeup absorb almost FIVE POUNDS of chemicals through their skin each YEAR. If that doesn’t make your stomach hurt, I don’t know what will. FIVE POUNDS. My semi-text-savvy-brain is making that emoji with the mouth open and the eyes white right now.. To put that into perspective, one of my good friends had a baby last year that was just over five pounds. A human child. A chemical concoction the size of a tiny newborn human could be leaching itself into our bloodstreams all for the sake of enhancing the way we look.
Just about daily, I wear BB cream mixed with a locally made facial serum to keep my skin hydrated and covered with some SPF. About 2-3x per week though, I will take about four minutes to do the whole regimen of BB cream, foundation, concealer, bronzer, some brow powder and mascara. Most of these that I use are ‘natural’, but I’ll be doing some more research after this post. (You can bet there will be a follow-up post about recommended skin care products and make up coming soon, too!) *Another book I am reading, Everything Green Baby by Jenn Savedge, also notes that the average person uses about ten different skin care products per day, which averages 130 different chemicals your skin is soaking up if you’re not careful about what you’re putting onto your body!
To make it simple, I’m listing the main “endocrine disruptors” (Alisa Vitti goes more in depth about HOW they disrupt in her book), where you find them and why they exist in those products in the first place:
Nail polish, body lotion and deodorant- look out for phaylate chemicals with acronyms like DBP, DEHP. These chemicals make products soft and malleable.
Toothpaste, shampoo, bath salts and body/ shower gel- look out for chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). These are used as lathering agents and emulsifiers.
Conditioner, foundation, concealer, facial mask and skin cream- look out for chemicals known as parabens like methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl. These are used as germicides and preservatives.
Soap, eyeliner, talc, shaving cream and hair spray- look out for chemicals from the anolamine family: DEA, TEA, MEA. These are used as emulsifiers, PH adjusters, preservatives and foaming agents.
Petroleum jelly and lip and skin care products- look out for petrolatum. It is used as a moisturizer.
So why are these chemicals so bad?
For starters, they are toxins! Many of them have been found to cause various cancers, all of them have been found to disrupt natural hormone function and some are known carcinogens and have been linked to organ system toxicity, allergic reactions, skin irritations and reproductive changes known to cause birth defects, sperm damage and infertility. In short, they are absolutely cause for concern and should be avoided whenever possible. Keep in mind when shopping for skincare products that something labeled “natural” may only contain 1% natural ingredients. Take a few moments to check for these endocrine disruptors (if you’re reading this article on your phone- screen shot! And take with you to the store so you can reference while you’re there), and be an advocate for your health and wellbeing by choosing to avoid these harmful chemicals. As I do some of my own research, I will be adding reputable clean products to this post. If you have some you’d like to recommend, please feel free to comment below!
(Information from Woman Code, Alisa Vitti and Everything Green Baby, Jenn Savedge)
Extra Credit: Here is great, short article breaking down some harmful chemicals often found in soap (and a great soap company to support who is doing things clean)!