Wednesday Wellness::Natural Beauty

by heatherkp
The hazard symbol for carcinogenic chemicals i...

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Use natural and organic health and beauty products (that are not tested on animals and that do not contain parabens and other carcinogens).

Your skin is your largest organ so what you put on it is as important (if not more) as what you put in it!  A lot of people don’t realize how many products they use on their body contain formaldehyde and other carcinogens.

In the past may people have questioned the importance of avoiding some of  these ingredients and research in this area is ongoing with continuing evidence that supports a variety of health problems.  It’s becoming more widely recognized that certain ingredients are in fact carcinogens and in some cases are linked to specific forms of cancer.  The ingredients I try to avoid and an explanation of their uses are as follows:

  • sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates~ used as a foaming agent, can damage hair and skin follicles and even cause eye damage and liver toxicity.
  • mineral oil~used as a moisturizer or moisture barriers and derived from petroleum, can clog pores instead of allowing oxygen while moisturizing
  • propylene glycol ~used as a solvent, surfactant and wetting agent and derived from petroleum, can penetrate the skin extremely quickly and cause brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.  This is the main ingredient in Anti-freeze!
  • animal products (ethical reasons)~ can be listed as keratin, elastin, collagen, stearic acid and tallow.  Several of these are said to improve skin texture but the jury is still out weather there is in fact any significant benefit or harm to their use
  • parabens~widely used as a preservative, there is a low level similarity to estrogen which is still being studied to see if it can cause hormonal interference

Many products may also become contaminated by chemicals and because of this you may not even realize there is a problem since those ingredients are not listed (by law contaminants don’t have to be even if the company knows about them).   Some large corporations create huge quantities of products that are intended to have longer shelf lives and  preservation is one of the main reasons for some of these chemical ingredients.

I’d like to make a point about being overly paranoid and living in a bubble here.  As my grandfather, who is a retired Medical Doctor (General Practice) of over 45 years has pointed out to me, people need to be careful not to be too careful!  We live in a world that is increasingly paranoid (in my opinion) about germs and for babies and young children we need to allow them to be exposed to a certain level of “harmful substances” so their own immune systems can learn to build antibodies.  But, we also need to be aware of the ever increasing level of toxic substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis from a variety of sources.  These substances can have a cumulative effect and doing a little research can help you make a more educated decision.  My hope is that you will make your own choices based upon what you are comfortable with.

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3 Responses to “Wednesday Wellness::Natural Beauty”

  1. This is such a timely subject for me Heather as I am trying to become more aware of environmental toxins (namely estrogen) to help moderate my recently diagnosed Endometriosis. I had been looking at diet predominantly, but only last night – watching an episode of House! – I realised it was just as important to consider my cosmetic products. Turns out my current hair-care products are laden with parabens so I will be changing then right away! And thanks for the extra note on not being paranoid… the key, like you say, is to be aware of certain nasties that are commercially used and to make choices that feel right for you & your lifestyle
    Lisa x

    • Lisa, so glad your realizing some changes you can make for yourself that will bring you more wellness. I became aware of parabens and other carcinogenic “junk” in my personal care products and have been moving away from them over the past 5 years. It’s not the sort of thing I’d say you notice the immediate effects of, it’s definitely more about prevention. Good luck with your new choices. I recently found a new company I love called Melaluca, so far everything I’ve tried is really fabulous and gentile and sustainable!

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