Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Goes On Your Skin

A while back, I did a post on some simple grocery tips for living healthier. I got a lot of positive feedback and interest about it and quite a few people who said they were going to change a few things to make their family's healthier. I love that! 

But it got me thinking - what about the cosmetics and beauty products? How many people actually pay attention to what they put on their skin? That doesn't just include makeup, but shampoo, conditioner, hair products, baby products, the works. I counted all of my products to see how much stuff I put on my body in a typical day and the magical number was... drum roll please... 10. And I don't even consider myself a high-maintenance person! 

Yes, I know it's a lot...

Your skin actually absorbs most of what you put onto it. All of those little pores not only eliminate toxins but also absorb moisture, nutrients, and unfortunately, anything that you put on your skin. That's why your night cream works so well. 

So with all of those chemicals being absorbed into your body, what do they actually do? Here are some of the most common extremely scary ingredients to watch out for:

Sodium lauryl sulfate - good for creating a lather. Also used as a car engine degreaser, and car wash soaps. Pretty powerful stuff! It can cause eye-damage, central nervous system depression, laboured breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, and in some animals it causes death. 

Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, butyl-, and propylparaben) - is great for extending the shelf life of cosmetics. It can be found in almost every cosmetic.  The unfortunate part is that it's an endocrine disrupter. What that means is that it disrupts your body's natural hormones. Our hormones are sensitive enough without trying to disrupt them with more chemicals. 

Propylene glycol - is great for retaining moisture in the skin. In other industries, it's actually just called anti-freeze. It's also found in brake and hydraulic fluid in your car. Beyond the fact that you wouldn't normally just put anti-freeze on your face, it also causes kidney and liver damage as well as acne, 

Mineral oil (petrolatum, petroleum, liquidum paraffinum - also known as posh mineral oil) - It is basically just crude petroleum. It's used so much because it is so incredibly cheap. It "suffocates" the skin, causing acne and premature aging. It has also been found to cause cancer. 

Fragrance - it is used in almost everything to make that wonderful smell. It can also be any of over 4000 ingredients that the company's don't have to list. They can cause headaches, dizziness, allergic reactions, skin discolouration, rashes, and vomiting. 

Toluene - found in most paint supplies including nail polish. It is the main reason that you're not supposed to paint your nails when you're pregnant and why they wear those masks at the nail salon. Long term exposure causes serious nervous system disorders, including spasms, tremors, speech impairment, liver and kidney disease, and skeletal/muscular disease. Awesome, right?

So before you madly rush to the bathroom to throw out everything that comes in a bottle, just slow down and instead check the ingredients. There is this handy little database that you can put your cosmetics into and it will tell you on a scale of one to ten, how bad it actually is for you. Go to  . I tested all my cosmetics this morning and the worst that I got was a four for my lip gloss. Yay!

Hopefully this has been helpful and not just scary. I'm sure everyone will thank us for taking care of our body's like this when we're 80 years old and still have the mind and skin of a 25 year old. Ok, that may be pushing it a little bit, but we can all hope, right? 

So how did everyone do? Any products that scored really well or terribly? Which ones should we watch out for? Let us know!


  1. Interesting, Melody. Thanks for the info. We used the skindeep database last year to evaluate all of our household products and discovered that in almost all cases, the children's products were more toxic than the grown up versions. Our children's tear free shampoo scored an 8! And their tooth paste scored 2 points higher than ours! We always assumed that childrens products were milder and safer, but they aren't. Our whole family has switched mostly to Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine products (and even with those, you have to watch the labels).

    1. It's crazy how sometimes kid's stuff can be more toxic than adults. I even make my own wipes now. I know, crazy right? But at least I know what's in it and it works just as well!

  2. Thank you so much for this post! It is crazy how much crap is in our products that we use everyday! I actually recently became a consultant with the company called Arbonne and they pride themselves on being pure, safe, and beneficial. No animal by products, fragrance, mineral oil, formulated without gluten, and vegan friendly. So glad I am not ignorant anymore!

    1. Thanks Tay Tay! I'm so glad you're being more careful for you family :)


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