You can have a naturally healthy looking skin without using a cocktail of skin care products.
Drinking plenty of filtered water, eating a balanced diet rich in fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, taking regular exercise, doing relaxation and facial exercise, sleeping well, avoiding over-exposure to strong sunlight, having regular detoxification, avoiding toxic chemicals, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and salt will all contribute to your skin looking and feeling healthy.
Since the advent of petroleum ingredients in the mid 1900’s, chemicals have proliferated. The practice of using some substances with the assumption that it was safe until proven otherwise became routine. Only limited research has been done on many of the chemicals that can be legally used in beauty products.
Remember your skin is the largest organ of your body and it absorbs many substances it comes into contact with. Consider carefully what you put on your skin as chemicals applied topically can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and through that, to vital organs.
There is growing concern that daily exposure to a combination of toxic ingredients found in most skin care, personal care and cosmetic products could result in detrimental long term health effect.
Cosmetics and toiletries ingredients are only loosely regulated. Currently, there is a lack of labelling legislation protecting the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. Often products can be labelled ‘natural’ provided at least 1% of their ingredients are from natural sources. Manufacturers can claim that a product is ‘organic’ when it contains only one organic ingredient with possibly hundreds of others that are not.
Many chemicals will never be listed on the ingredients listing because they are hidden within the generic term of ‘parfum or fragrance’ or they are not actually ingredients, rather a by-product of manufacturing.
Some skin care products have long lists of bewildering ingredients which makes it hard to distinguish which are good or bad. Skin care products should be free from petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, harsh foaming agents, synthetic additives, animal ingredients and colourings.
Since it is considered unethical to test potentially harmful substances on humans, animals have been subjected to scientific procedures to determine harmful effects on humans. Many animals have been poisoned, tortured and killed in the process. Look for cruelty-free labelling and buy products that have not been tested on animals.
There are three types of chemicals commonly found in skin care products that are of particular concern:
- Chemicals that cause cancer or damage DNA
- Endocrine disrupting chemicals or hormone disrupters which interfere with the hormonal systems
- Persistent organic pollutants that won’t dissipate in the environment or in the body and may accumulate and cause increased levels of exposure over time.
“Personal care products expose children to an average of 60 chemicals every day that they can breathe in or absorb through their skin.”
The Environmental Working Group
The best option is to always choose certified organic skin care and cosmetic products. To attain a ‘certified organic’ status, a minimum of 95% of all ingredients (excluding water and salt) must be organic, sourced from a certified organic supplier.
The remaining 5% non-organic ingredients have to be all natural such as natural minerals and other allowable inputs as defined by the Organic Standard. Synthetic chemicals, genetically modified ingredients and harsh chemical processes such as hydrogenation and sulphuration are not allowed. Animal testing is prohibited.
Products labelled as ‘made with certified organic ingredients’ must contain at least 70% of certified organic ingredients (excluding water and salt). The remaining ingredients must be all natural such as clay and minerals or non-organically produced agricultural ingredients, with strict processing criteria such as no synthetic or genetically modified ingredients.
If certified organic products are not readily available or affordable, choose those that are mineral-based or made with natural ingredients such as natural pigments and essential oils from plants grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers, thus avoiding the potentially harmful effects of synthetic chemicals.
Always do a patch test first to test for an allergic reaction before using any new skin care products. Always seek professional medical advice prior to using essential oils and herbal extracts as they may interact with certain medications and exacerbate underlying illnesses. Do not use essential oils in pregnancy as they can be harmful. Keep them out of reach of children.
More information on this topic can be found in Chapter 5 of the ‘Go Natural’ Book.