Beauty and skin care products are wildly popular but unsuspecting users may not realize that the face and skin care products they’re using may be quite dangerous. Hoping to become more beautiful, we choose products without adequate knowledge of what they’re doing to our bodies. All skincare products — from the cheapest drug store brand to famous Peau Magnifique at $1500 for .3 ounces — have the same four components.
1. The ‘Active Ingredients’ In Facial Skin Care Products
First are the active ingredients. These are the goodies that are supposed to make your skin look young, get rid of wrinkles and gave you a glowing youthful complexion. These are the ingredients we hear so much about: Retin A, collagen, hyaluronic acid and more.
The problem is that these are by far the most expensive ingredients in skincare products and therefore manufacturers often skimp on them to save money.
An example: I recently read the label on a shampoo that was supposedly “Made of organic lavender”. In actuality, lavender was the 12th ingredient on the label and was the only recognizable name in a sea of unpronounceable chemicals.
2. The Carrier Base In Facial Care Products
Secondly, is the carrier base. With skincare products this carrier is usually oil, although it is sometimes alcohol or water. As always, economics is king and the oils used in most skincare products are not healthy for the human skin. Generally, oils are petroleum based. Yes, that black goopy stuff coming out of the ground is a prime ingredient in the majority of skincare products. The best kinds of oils come from plants and are:
1. Organic …
2. Cold pressed, meaning they are refined at very low temperatures that do not destroy the healthy ingredients from the plants …
Which would you rather have on your face: oil from healthy vibrant plants or oil from petroleum?
3. Preservatives: A Deadly Ingredient In Skincare Products
Most deadly are the preservatives. With rare exceptions, they are all made in chemistry labs and have hideous, unpronounceable names like the Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl) which have been implicated in cancers because they increase estrogenic activity in the body or Quaternium, which breaks down into formaldehyde, alias embalming fluid.
Quaternium is so deadly that it caused Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition to state that it poses “Substantive evidence of casual relation to leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers.”
If you make your own skin care products you absolutely do not need chemical preservatives. So why do manufacturers of skincare products use these chemicals? The reason is because these products are made to last for literally YEARS. Without preservatives this would not be possible.
4. Adding Buyer-Pleasing Substances To Skin Care Treatments
Lastly are ingredients added to make the product more pleasing to the buyer.
An example is Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate, used as a thickener but is linked to cancer, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity or
Polyethylene Glycol, which is used in skin care products – and oven cleaners.
Even innocent-sounding synthetic colors and fragrances are hazardous. Most are made from petroleum or coal tar. The molecular structure of these products are so small that they can pass through the brain barrier.
Many synthetic colors can be carcinogenic and may cause potentially severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness and lack of concentration.
The Argument Against Natural Skin Care Products
Defenders argue that safety concerns are misplaced. In fact there are two arguments in defense of all these chemicals.
ARGUMENT #1: Even if chemical defenders admit to the presence of dangerous chemicals, they argue that the amounts are so miniscule that they don’t really matter and cannot possibly affect human health.
TTRUTH: This argument, however, doesn’t hold up. If we lived in a perfectly pure and non-toxic world, they would most likely be right that these chemicals don’t matter. However, it has been estimated that a human being today is exposed to more chemicals in a 24 hour period then our ancestors were an entire year 100 years ago. We are all swimming in a sea of toxins [toxin = poison]. Unless you want to go live in a cave in the Himalayas you are going to be bombarded from every side. Why add chemicals from your skin care products to the mix?
ARGUMENT #2: The ingredient go on the outside of the face, so it’s can’t possible affect our insides.
TRUTH: The defenders also ignore the truth that the skin is a two-way highway. The majority of what you put on your face and skin is absorbed into the body. If this were not so, how could a skin care product effect your wrinkles, for example? or help to heal the skin?
TRUTH: To make this even more dicey consider the fact that this chemical stew interacts with dozens or hundreds of other chemicals with results that are unknown to anyone, anywhere.
TRUTH: And … all of this takes place in a damp, warm environment that is 98.6°. What a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of nasties.
The bottom line is that no one – NO ONE – is going to protect us. Not the government and not the manufacturers. WE MUST PROTECT OURSELVES! It’s up to us to evaluate our beauty and skin care products and choose wisely – or not. Just remember that there certainly will be consequences for our choices.
Sylvia Buetow says
As much as I need skin moisturizers, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t irritate my skin. Now I can see why. A ton of chemicals and skimping on the beneficial oils. Thanks for the information and the warnings.
Wendy Weber says
Thanks for the article. This cannot be repeated too much. I’ve been careful about what I use for the last 10 years or so. Understanding basic ingredients is so important. But skin care is not all. The not-so-obvious continues with our laundry products, among other things. We wear our clothes all say and sleep on our sheets all night. People use air fresheners so that we breathe in chemicals in our homes, generally a closed-in environment. There’s so much more – food, etc. The assault on our bodies is endless. The more we do to minimize exposure the better. We need to control the things we can for better health. Skin care is a good place to start.
Elsie Elsie says
I found this article really interesting and informative, I just have one thing to point out and that is in argument 2 where you mention that the skin is a 2way highway, yes it is but it does not absorb the majority of what is on it in fact it is more the opposite actually, the skin absorbs very little that we put on it(most of what you put on your skin evaporates) . It is one of its many functions to protect us otherwise we would surely poison ourselves very early in life with all the plants, liquids, people etc we come into contact with. But other wise great article :)
Elsie, I agree totally that the skin doesn’t absorb everything we put on it. But obviously, some of our concoctions are absorbed. If they were not, the entire skincare industry would cease to exist. It couldn’t last if their creams, etc., did no good for anybody so clearly some people (usually us gals) get good effects from some products. It isn’t like putting cream on a piece of metal. And … anything that is absorbed into the body, whether from the skin or elsewhere, eventually goes into the bloodstream and is circulated around the body.