There is a popular saying in natural beauty circles…”What goes on you, goes in you.” That’s because your body can absorb chemicals–right through the skin. It is efficient enough so that certain (“trans-dermal”) drugs can be administered by skin patch, including medicines for motion sickness and pain. While a boon for medicine (I wish they had the motion sickness patches when I was a kid!), doesn’t it make you think twice about what you put on your skin?
As the mother of girls I knew I needed to pay close attention. When they were small, it was nail polish and lip balm. Then they graduate to… well, more products than the typical adult uses. One study showed teen girls using 19 products a day versus 12 in adults. In a study published in 2008, the EWG “detected 16 chemicals from 4 chemical families – phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks – in blood and urine samples from 20 teen girls aged 14-19. Studies link these chemicals to potential health effects including cancer and hormone disruption.”
What might you find in cosmetics or other personal care products? For starters: lead in lipstick and men’s hair coloring, talc in antiperspirant, phthalates in soaps and perfumes, formaldehyde in nail polish… Hmmm, lead is a neurotoxin banned in paint and gasoline, talc is a possible risk for ovarian cancer, phthalates are potential endocrine disruptors now banned in children’s plastics, and formaldehyde is that nasty smelling stuff they preserve lab rats in. For a deeper look and the hazards (and some really great charts), see the EWG’s Top Tips for Safer Products.
But just like switching to natural foods, there are alternatives. For a product by product analysis the Skin Deep database is a great tool.
Want a natural glow for summer? You can still have it with natural beauty products. And consider the giveaway below.
This giveaway, sponsored by Art of Natural Living is for one blush and one lipstick from Zosimos Botanicals, a $45 value, in your choice of Hibiscus (“Neutral Salmon Pink with Peach Undertone”) or Dahlia blush/Garnet lipstick (red tones). It is open to US mailing addresses and closes at midnight CDT on August 12, 2014. To enter, leave a comment letting me know something you plan to do to live healthier. For a second entry, follow Art of Natural Living on twitter (@iwilkerson) and leave a second comment (or let me know if you are already a twitter follower). The winner will be picked randomly, contacted by email and have 48 hours to get back to me with confirming information or a new winner will be chosen.
For additional reading on many of these chemicals, see Time Magazine’s, The Perils of Plastics.
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