It took me some time to truly understanding the importance of only using high quality organic skin care products. I had certainly made the assumption that if it was sold in the shops it would be safe as these products must be well regulated… right? The harsh truth is that it is entirely legal to use harmful chemicals in products. This seems largely due to the fact that testing can’t take into account all the possible chemical combinations, peoples individual sensitivities and of course, most importantly, the long term effect of exposure.
The book ‘Healthy Water’ by Martin Fox, PhD (an environmental researcher and nutritionist) outlines some of the problems associated to water pollutants of which some 2100 organic and inorganic components have been identified in American drinking water since 1974, this number is most likely now significantly higher as the book was written some time ago.
My point about this is not so much the obvious danger associated to illness from water based environmental toxicity, but more the point that if tap water alone can be such a challenge to our systems, then why would we want to increase the level of chemical toxicity that our bodies have to deal with by pasting ourselves in shower gels and sun lotions that contain provably hazardous and potential cancer causing toxins?
Please take a look yourself and reference ‘A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients’ by Ruth Winter. You will be able to see the negative effects that many common ingredients in your skin care products could be having on you, there are many bad ingredient’s in a staggering range of products that give you short term gain (soft skin or hair) for long term pain (disease). Here are 3 of the worst groups of culprits:
PARABENS – These are found in almost all commercial skincare products. They preserve other ingredients, extend a product’s shelf life and prevent bacterial & fungal growth. It is thought that parabens can negatively affect the endocrine system potentially unbalancing hormones and that there may be a relationship to cancer.
PETROCHEMICALS – Are derived from crude oil and include parabens (see above), paraffin & petroleum among many others. As a group they can cause a large number of symptoms such as intestinal damage, respiratory issues, neurological issues, skin spots and rashes when absorbed by the skin over a long amount of time. As Parabens are petrochemical products there is also the potential for hormonal disruption.
SULFATES – Such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are harsh detergents that give soaps and shampoos their foam and lather. Sulfates are thought to cause irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and biochemical or cellular changes when exposed to the body over a large period of time.
It seems to be fairly unanimously agreed that environmental toxicity plays a significant role in the formation of major disease and that as it can take 20 years of prolonged exposure to toxic substances for it to show up. Would it not be a sensible precaution not to smear harmful chemicals and skin irritants over our bodies knowing that they may be a contributing factor to your overall toxic overload? Personally I think the answer is very clear, a resounding yes.
How to make the right choice?
There are many healthy alternatives on the market now such as Dr Bronner’s, Alba botanicals , Green people and Dr Mercola skin care (to name but a few). Nowadays, if a product is “good” it will generally be written on their bottles so to make things easier, look out for products with the mention parabens free, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate free, etc. Or better, check out the brand’s website and do not be afraid to ask questions!