We typically start our day with a series of products to clean and moisturize our skin. We use shampoo, conditioner and body wash. We then use foundation, blush, mascara and lipstick. Then at the end of the day, we wash it all off and moisturize again. Did you ever stop and think about what was actually in those products? If you are like me, then no. Why would we think about what is in them? They can’t be harmful or they wouldn’t be allowed on the market, right? Well, that is what I thought until about a year ago when my eyes were opened. I found out that there are very few regulations in the cosmetic industry and some of the main ingredients in these products can lead to some very disturbing illnesses.
Parabens are a common ingredient used as a preservative in things such as shampoos, lotions, makeup and more. They prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus. Great! Who wants bacteria in your makeup. In addition to preventing the growth of bacteria, parabens mimic estrogen when they are in the body. High levels of estrogen have been shown to lead to cancers, specifically breast cancer. Parabens have actually been found in breast cancer tumors.
Phthalates are used to make something more flexible and durable. They are known as plasticizers. Think of these as a substance that makes nail polish more resilient or makes hair spray more flexible so you don’t have helmet head. They are also used to stabilize fragrances. Phthalates have been show to be harmful to liver, kidneys and other organs. They have also been show to disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems.
Fragrances are in everything! The U.S. government has made it legal for companies to maintain their secrets by allowing them to list “fragrance” as an ingredient but they do not have to divulge what that fragrance actually is. It can be any concoction of chemicals and companies do not have to tell consumers what they are. Fragrances have been known to contain chemicals that are leading to allergies, asthma, cancers and hormone disruptions.
Our skin is our largest organ and our first defense against outside elements. Our skin absorbs everything that we put on it and these chemicals are entering our body without us even thinking about it. Maybe in small quantities these chemicals mean nothing and are not harmful but when you have all of these chemicals in multiple products, it can add up. Both parabens and phthalates have been found in our urine samples and these, along with other chemical, have been found in tumor biopsies and even in umbilical cord samples.
Luckily, companies are starting to take a stand and are creating safer options for us and our families. In today’s world, we are all looking to eat healthier and lead a more active life. Let’s add this to list of changes and start using safer ingredients on skin. Looking for somewhere to start? Check out Beautycounter, www.beautycounter.com/allisonbrewer.