Take a good look at your medicine cabinet, your make up bag and your shower caddy. Everything look normal? Are you sure? Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of your face wash or shampoo? Probably not, right. If you happened to glance at it, it’s impossible to know what most of those ingredients are.
Think about how we eat for a moment. There’s a major emphasis on what’s in our food and what we should and shouldn’t be eating. The nutrition labels on food packaging help us gauge healthy versus not. It’s unfortunate however that we spend so much time focusing on what we put into our bodies and not nearly enough time on what we put ON our bodies.
The skin is your body’s largest organ. Whatever you slap on it gets soaked up through your pores. When you apply products that contain toxic ingredients those toxins find their way right into your body, and let me tell you–they’re not just hanging out in there all nice.
How many cosmetic products do you use over the course of one day? Not just makeup! Think face wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, nail polish, perfume, lipstick, mascara…the list is long! Each of these products comes with a long list of ingredients (some healthier than others). Sadly, the cosmetic industry is very loosely regulated, which means that we have to be extra careful with what types of products we use! The Environmental Working Group, an incredible non-profit dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, has done some really great research on the matter. Here’s a quote I pulled from one of their articles on why this is so important:
“…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012).
Does anyone besides me find this alarming???
Research is still being done on the harmful effects of exposure to the kinds of chemicals found in cosmetics, but so far it’s not looking good. I’m no expert and I don’t claim to be, but consider the number of women and people in general who have cancer nowadays. Why? What in our environment today is contributing to this? When you think about it, we live in a completely different world than our grandparents and their parents did. Everything today is so highly processed and manufactured. We keep getting further and further away from “natural” and “real”.
Now! What I REALLY want to share is how to take charge as a consumer. I give complete credit to my beautiful mother for sharing this tool with me. The Environmental Working Group has a database called Skin Deep, where you can search more than 70,000 products to find out just how healthy your cosmetics are. I have the APP downloaded on my phone and all I have to do is scan the bar code of my soap or face cream to find the dirt on it. They rank products on a scale from 0-10 in terms of their toxicity, and also break down the ingredients within the product by telling you which are harmful and what risks they pose. They don’t have every beauty product logged, but they have covered an impressive amount.
Quick tip: I’ve learned that nearly every single product containing “fragrance” or “parfum” always ranks high on the toxic scale, and should therefore be avoided.
I really hope you take a moment to look at Skin Deep and try out the database. You will be shocked at what you discover! They have some really amazing articles and research on their site as well.
Recently I’ve been getting into making my own beauty products (that way I know exactly what I’m putting on my body). Have you tried the avocado-honey face mask yet? Stay tuned for more DIY beauty recipes