They say that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat. And that’s smart advice. Why? Because your skin is permeable. What’s more, certain chemicals have a high permeability coefficient: meaning they absorb into your skin and reach your bloodstream or lymphatic system very quickly—in as little as 26 seconds, according to some sources.
TOXINS IN, TOXINS OUT
In 2006, a National Geographic reporter, David Ewing Duncan was tested for 320 chemicals to determine how many a Stockholm University researcher could find in his bloodstream.
Duncan scored higher than the mean average for five out of seven phthalates and worrying levels of mercury were found, both of which are sneaked into many skincare products and have been found to damage health significantly.
The Stockholm University researcher said that Duncan’s phthalates levels might have been so high because he gave his urine sample in the morning after he had washed his hair and showered. The toxins had entered his system while he bathed. Shocking.
What does this mean for your skin? Well, as you probably know—if you’ve ever eaten a diet high in toxins for any prolonged length of time—toxins and chemicals are your skin’s worst enemies. More on that later.
U.S. COSMETIC TOXIN LEVELS HIGH
What’s also shocking is that if you live in the USA, you might be much more exposed to these skin-damaging chemicals than the rest of the world—by over a thousand fold. Nearly 1,400 harmful cosmetic ingredients have been banned in the European Union. Eleven have been banned in the United States.
You wouldn’t expect one of the most developed countries in the world to be so careless with their consumers’ health, but sadly, skincare chemicals are affecting everyone in the world—there are the hundreds of stories online about facials ravaging people’s skin, hair falling out, and products causing facial swelling—even though they’d used a product before with no problems.
IS YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCT REALLY NATURAL?
Are you safe because you only use “natural” products? Sadly, regulations allow companies to slip unnatural and nonorganic ingredients into their natural products without mentioning them on the label if the overall concentration is low enough. Only certain boutique companies, such as Anne Marie Gianni Skincare, are the exception to the rule, and protect you against these chemicals 100%.
THE DANGERS OF GOING CHEAP
Chemicals found in cost-effective, cheap and low quality products can contain a wide range of impurities that have been linked to cancer, asthma, and hormone disruption, while others—like nanoparticles—that have not been evaluated for safety at all. And although a lot of high-end products also contain these substances, budget products tend to contain more of them because completely natural products contain ingredients are more costly to source and use.
Let’s look at a few of the chemicals involved, and their harmful effect on your skin.
Parabens are thought to mimic estrogen and lead to hormone imbalance, so they could cause reproductive problems like infertility and development disorders in children.
Raised estrogen levels were found to have significant effects on skin physiology in the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging study in 2007, and hyperpigmentation, or melisma, has also been linked to elevated estrogen levels.
Fragrance, or perfume, are terms than indicate a mixture of potentially thousands ingredients cosmetic companies legally don’t need to mention. Some fragrances have been linked to contact dermatitis, allergic reactions and chronic skin disorders like eczema, with regular use.
BHA and BHT are used to lighten the skin, but the National Toxicology Program considers them likely carcinogens, since animals exposed to these chemicals developed stomach cancer, as well as liver and thyroid damage. The common side effects of BHA include temporary stinging and mild redness. BHT applied to the skin was associated with toxic effects in lung tissue in a 2002 study.
Phthalates have been found to block testosterone and increase the risk of breast cancer. They also caused skin irritation, numbness and were found in the blood of 68% of a group of 41 baby girls with premature breast enlargement in a study performed in Puerto Rico.
This chemical absorbs UV light and is found in sunscreens. It causes skin irritation and allergic reactions in humans, and animal studies report it acts as an endocrine disruptor.
Triclosan can be found in hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, deodorants, skin cleansers and toothpaste, and is another endocrine disruptor. Triclosan was found in nearly 75% of children and adults in urine tests in a 2008 study. It is also linked to mild itching, flaking, redness, irritation, a weakened immune system, an increased chance of developing eczema and uncontrolled cell growth.
THE ALTERNATIVE: QUALITY, ORGANIC SKINCARE
High-quality, organic skincare products are the only alternative available right now to protect your skin from these nasties. The good news is that many natural ingredients have stood the test of time and have been used for thousands of years.
Thankfully, many small companies with very strong ethics have cropped up in the last decade or two, and are using technological advancements to create new, modern products for all skin types that feel great on your face and body. Their ingredients include organic:
- raw and cold-pressed nut and seed butters and oils, like shea, argan, chia, flax cacao and coconut
- superfoods and extracts, like goji berries and açaí
- superherbs, algaes and vitamins, such as spirulina
- essential oils, raw honey and kombucha
- avocado, aloe vera and enzymes
Anne Marie Gianni Skincare is committed to providing sustainable labeling materials and nontoxic, recyclable packaging, and have some great deals. These real natural skincare products are especially worth incorporating into your detox program, so you’re not adding toxins in as the old ones come out!
FUN SKINCARE FACTS
- The average skin measures 2 square meters when stretched out.
- It accounts for around 15% of your total body weight.
- It takes anywhere up to 6 months for babies to develop their permanent skin tone.
- Vitamin C provides sun protection.
- Every inch of your skin has been designed with an exact amount of stretchiness and strength to match its location.
- 1/20 adult women suffer from acne, but only around 1/100 adult men do.
- Vitamin A treats cellulite.
- The thickest skin is 1.4mm deep, and covers the bottom of your feet.
- The melanin in your skin is also responsible for eye color.
- Vitamin E protects against sun damage and aging.
- The company INTEGRAR has recently developed a total artificial skin replacement treatment from bovine collagen and silicon.
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