The Price of Beauty:
What You Put On Your Body Goes INTO Your Body!
By Eric Zielinski, DC Student
While Americans are incessantly enticed by the intoxicating aromas, flashy packaging, and false promises of sustained youth and beauty from health care products, the global beauty market is expected to reach $265 billion in 2017! Now, there is nothing wrong with making a buck, but one question we all should be asking is what is the real cost of using these products to our health?
“Well, nothing.” You may be thinking to yourself. “I don’t eat them, I just put them on my skin!”
True, but did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body and EVERYTHING you put ON your skin goes INTO your body! Just think about the price of beauty when you consider the long-term effects of putting chemicals on your body every day!
If this weren’t enough reason to think twice about the personal care products you use:
• Hair sprays, perfumes and powders are oftentimes inhaled.
• Laundry detergent is rarely completely rinsed off and rubs against your skin when you wear clothes.
• Lipstick is oftentimes licked off and swallowed.
• Makeup is regularly absorbed by sensitive mucous membranes.
• Shampoos and conditions run down your face into your eyes and mouth.
Can you see now how vital it is to be an avid label reader and to make sure that you are not (ignorantly) poisoning yourself and your family!
Most people think that they’re “doing their bodies good” by moisturizing their skin. Why not? It feels good, makes your skin feel smooth and attractive and you’re bombarded with advertisements telling you that “Dermatologists recommend” that you should hydrate your skin. The inquisitive mind should be asking:
• But are you really hydrating your skin?
• What if you were told that you were just clogging up your pores with dangerous chemicals?
• Wouldn’t it make more sense to use natural oil that our ancestors used for your hands and legs than a mixture of chemicals in a plastic bottle?
Here’s a safe rule of thumb: If you won’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin! Keep in mind that the price of beauty goes well beyond what you pay for skin products at the store…
Whether you’re at a bank or doctor’s office, a big jug of hand sanitizer greets you at the counter. Antibacterial soaps are in every pubic bathroom you’ll go into, and Yoga Moms in grocery stores across the nation have little bottles of scented antibacterial lotion clipped onto their strollers. They’re everywhere!
Why should you stay away from them?
Simply put: they kill ALL the bacteria on your hands; including the GOOD bacteria you need for healthy skin and a properly functioning immune system. In fact, they have been shown to weaken your immune system!
Eliminate Toxic Body Care Products
If lotions and hand sanitizers can be bad, then what are you to do? First of all, the Environmental Working Group has evaluated over 72,000 products and rank them in an easy-to-understand guide to make sure you have a resource to keep your family safe. Check out EWG’s “Skin Deep Cosmetic Database” and see if your favorite products pass the test. Secondly, be an avid label reader and stay clear from the harmful chemicals that are killing you and your family!
Although NOT an exhaustive list, be sure to stay away from these ingredients:
• Coal Tar – Banned in Europe because it’s a known cancer-causing agent, coal tar is a primary ingredient in anti-dandruff/anti-lice shampoos. Be careful because it can also be listed as a color additive like FD&C Red No. 6.
• DEA (Diethanolamine) – Primary foaming and wetting agent that is highly reactive to other ingredients. Can form nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA) and has been linked with bladder, esophagus, liver and stomach cancers.
• Formaldehyde – Deadly neurotoxin and carcinogen in most nail products.
• Fragrance/Parfum – Blanket term for hidden chemicals that should be avoided. Up to 50% of the products listed in Skin Deep contain the ingredient “fragrance.”
• Mineral oil – Petroleum byproduct that causes allergies, impairs brain function and can lead to birth defects.
• Lauryl sulfates – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS) are in most body care products. According to the EWG review, research has shown that they put you at risk for cancer, skin irritation, and organ toxicity.
• Parabens – Synthetic preservative that include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Linked to breast cancer, decreased sperm counts and precocious puberty (early onset of puberty).
• Propylene glycol (PEG) – Form of mineral oil that is used in everything from brake fluid to e-cigarettes to snack foods! Has been linked to respiratory problems, indigestion, skin irritation, allergies and eye irritation.
• Talc – Made from the purified mineral bearing the same name. Is poisonous when inhaled or swallowed. Chronic exposure has been shown to cause a slew of disorders including: cancer, comas, convulsions, drowsiness, fevers, low blood pressure, muscle twitching, respiratory problems, and decreased urine output.
Keep in mind that you can’t trust everything in Whole Foods, Trader Joes or your local Co-Op. And don’t be fooled by companies claiming that their products are “all natural” or even “organic.” Be a voracious label reader and make sure that you’re not putting dangerous chemicals onto your skin!
So what are your alternatives?
Do it yourself and make products that you and your family can use without having to worry about getting poisoned!
• Coconut oil – Quite possibly the most versatile fruit in the world, oil made from the coconut has been touted as one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Additionally, it is a fantastic moisturizer, anti-fungal agent and is great for oil pulling. It absorbs into your skin quickly and leaves a pleasant aroma.
• Essential oils – Add essential oils to a base lotion for added health benefits. Studies have proven that oil of oregano is more potent than antibiotics, rosemary helps balance blood pressure and tea tree is a wound healer. To make a therapeutic blend add 50 drops of essential oil per ounce of the carrier oil of your choosing. For a body massage or moisturizing blend add 10 drops per ounce. My favorite brand is doTERRA because they are therapeutic grade and are harvested in their natural environment.
• Olive oil – Used for over 3,000 years, olive is a fantastic carrier for essential oils. Because it is thicker than coconut oil and doesn’t absorb as quickly, you can use it for excessively dry skin and as a sunscreen.
• Shea butter – The fat extracted from the nut of the African sheaf tree, pure shoe butter is a fantastic source of Vitamin A that has exception health properties. For centuries, people have used it to treat a number of skin issues including: sunburn, insect bites, frostbite, skin allergies, wrinkles, dermatitis and eczema.
Some of my favorite DIY recipes
Like growing your own food, making your own skin and beauty products is not only the healthiest option, it’s absolutely Abundant Life giving as it will empower you to take more control of YOUR life! Here are the names of some of my favorite DIY recipes that you can easily (and cheaply) include in your natural health regimen.
• Antibacterial Lotion – courtesy of The Prairie Homestead
• Anti-Itch Cream – courtesy of Fabulous Farm Girl
• Beeswax Lip Balm (for the guys) – courtesy of Mom Prepares
• Burn Cream – courtesy of Mom Prepares
• Coconut Oil Deodorant – courtesy of The Prairie Homestead
• Dead Sea Mud – courtesy of Joybilee Farms
• Diaper Cream – courtesy of Wellness Mama
• Facial Cleanser – courtesy of The Homesteading Hippee
• Honey Shampoo – courtesy of Empowered Sustenance
• Lavender Hand Cream – courtesy of The Happy Housewife
• Naturally Tinted Lip Balm (for the ladies) – courtesy of Scratch Mommy
• Sea Salt Curl Booster/Refresher for Curly Hair – courtesy of Mom Prepares
• Toothpaste – courtesy of Sprouting Seed
• Toner (great for acne!) – courtesy of Schneider Peeps
• Whey Water Bath – courtesy of Northern Homestead