What Is Seeping Into Your Skin?

Skin is your body’s largest and fastest-growing organ……and don’t you forget it!! So…..if something sounds like a science experiment, it probably shouldn’t go on your skin. The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. Just think about nicotine and birth control patches. Ding, ding, ding! While there may be some chemicals that are too large to enter our bloodstream, many are small enough to penetrate. The difference between neglected and pampered skin is incredible. Your whole body functions more smoothly when your skin doesn’t have to fight to perform its natural function. What we put on our skin, is just as important as what we put in our body.

The task of scrutinizing every ingredient in the bevy of daily products we use, can be daunting……but don’t worry! I’m here to help! I’ll discuss some of the most harmful chemicals, and introduce some wonderful brands/alternatives. Start with the products that are having the most negative impact. The next thing you want to think about is the level of exposure you’re getting from the products you’re using. For example…..body lotion, hand/face cream. You slather it all over your body and it soaks into your skin all day, you’re getting a lot more exposure to those chemicals than if you were to use the same ingredients in a face cleanser that is quickly washed off. Let’s talk about some of the most dangerous chemicals you should absolutely avoid like the plague. If you’ve never noticed before…..you will now!

Parabens: Widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in self-care products. What makes it so bad? Parabens have estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Booooo! This is found in makeup, body washes/lotions, face creams, deodorants, shampoos, and facial cleansers.

Phthalates: This chemical increases the flexibility/softness of plastic. The main phthalates in cosmetics and personal care products are dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in lotions/perfumes, and dimethyl phthalate in hair spray. Why do you want to avoid this? They are endocrine disruptors, and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males/females.

BHA/BHT: BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives, but also widely used as food preservatives. Not only does it interfere with hormone function, but long-term exposure can cause liver, thyroid, and kidney problems. Yikes! These nasty chemicals can also affect lung function and blood coagulation. Oh….but it gets worse! BHT can also act as a tumor promoter in certain situations.

Fragrance/Perfume: Strawberries, raspberries, mango…..oh my! Think again! When you see “fragrance” or “perfume” on a label, understand that this means a toxic mix of chemicals the manufacturer doesn’t want to tell you about. Synthetic fragrances like the ones used in lotions/creams emit harmful VOC’s (like in paint), which pollute indoor air quality and cause respiratory allergies and asthma.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: DMDM hydantoin is a type of formaldehyde-releasing preservative used in a host of personal care products, including body lotion. It’s an irritant for the eyes and skin. And although there’s no evidence that DMDM hydantoin itself is a carcinogen……there is absolutely no doubt that formaldehyde is.

DEA: DEA (diethanolamine) and DEA compounds are used to make cosmetics creamy/sudsy. DEA also acts as a pH adjuster, counteracting the acidity of other ingredients. DEA is mainly found in moisturizers/sunscreens, while cocamide and lauramide DEA are found in soaps, cleansers, and shampoos. Exposure to DEA and its compounds have been shown to cause livers cancers and precancerous changes in/with the skin/thyroid.

So the next time you break out in a rash, or have some weird eye irritation going on…..you might want to think twice about those products you’re slathering all over yourself. Now……on to the great news! There are some amazing companies out there that offer natural, organic, chemical-free, body care and make-up product options! I am always seeking out and trying new companies/products, but I have listed my current favorites below. They offer great and safe, alternative options for body lotions, sunscreens, makeup, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, face creams, facial cleansers, and serums. Try changing it up…..your skin and body will thank you!