Guest Blogger -Kristy Alexander, Founder & Chief Big Heart of Apple Rose Beauty.
Beauty may be skin deep but did you know that at least 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our blood stream? With the New Year upon us, many of us are thinking about ways to live healthier lifestyles. Nutrition and exercise are undoubtedly some of our areas of focus but another area of focus you may not have thought about is skincare.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), while there might be some chemicals that are too large to enter the blood stream, many of the chemicals we put on our skin are small enough to penetrate. What we put on our skin does not just remain on the surface. It gets absorbed and either helps us or harms us. Consider how nicotine patches and birth control patches work – they are designed to be placed on the surface of the skin and deliver chemicals that are absorbed by the skin into the blood stream to have the intended effect. Just like we consume food through eating, we basically consume chemicals in personal care products through our skin.
This is where healthy, organic skincare alternatives come in. The FDA does not currently test or approve cosmetic products and many contain toxic ingredients that have been known to have negative health consequences – things like hormone disruption, cancer and severe allergic reactions. Since we don't have much federal oversight, it's up to those of us who are interested in consuming ingredients that are beneficial for our skin and health, to do our own due diligence to make sure that we protect ourselves and our families.
So where do we begin? There are two things to consider as we make the shift to healthier skin care. The first is what level of exposure we have to the personal care product every day and the second is which chemicals have the potential to harm us most. By exposure I mean what products do we use the most often and which ones cover the largest surface area of the skin for the longest period of time. For example, a hand wash that you use to clean only your hands and then quickly wash off constitutes less exposure than a body lotion that you baste all over your body and leave on for the entire day. It's more effective to begin by focusing on making shifts in products we have higher levels of exposure to. Identify lotions, moisturizers and serums that you use on your face and body every day that remain on the skin for long periods of time and consider replacing those with healthier options.
Once we identify which products we would like to replace, the second focus is to identify the most harmful chemicals to stay away from. Here are my top five:
Parabens are preservatives found in many personal care products. They include methylparaben propylparaben and ethylparaben among others. Studies have shown that parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors. Estrogen exposure has been linked to breast cancer development and progression. While there is disagreement about whether the levels of Parabens found in skin care products is enough to cause cancer, I recommend that we err on the side of caution and avoid these altogether.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sufate is a surfactant used in thousands of cosmetics products. It's the ingredient that makes many of them foam. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2SLS has shown links to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ and reproductive toxicity and possible mutations and cancer.
The state of California and other authoritative bodies has classified phthalates like dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as a reproductive and developmental toxicant, and the European Union has banned the use of this ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. Phthalates are sometimes not listed on the label but may be hidden in ingredients like “fragrances”. It's important to look for products that explicitly say they do not contain Phthalates.
4. Diethanolamine (DEA)
DEA is another ingredient used in personal care products to provide lather. The World Health Organization has found it to show limited evidence of carcinogenicity (cancer-causing).
Fragrance may seem like an odd ingredient to include in my list of harmful ingredients. I am specifically referring to synthetic fragrances here or “fragrance” ingredients that are not listed as natural. The term fragrance can be used to mask a combination of toxic chemicals, some including the ones I've listed above.
No guide is complete with only a list of don'ts. Let's get to the fun part of safe and effective ingredients for skin care. Do use products with the following:
1. Essential Oils & ingredients derived from natural sources
2. Wildcrafted ingredients – these are ingredients that have been grown in the wild without human intervention
3. Organic ingredients – these are ingredients that have been certified organic by the USDA
Several companies like Apple Rose Beauty have developed effective skincare solutions for a variety of skin types that are jam packed with certified organic ingredients and nourishing essential oils. And, you’re in luck! For the entire month of February 2017, all Leah Campián blog readers can use code “LeahsBeauties” to get 10% off any Apple Rose Beauty organic skincare order, no minimums or restrictions!
As an added bonus, proceeds from your purchase go towards the fight to end human-trafficking. This is the perfect time to make healthy skin a part of your healthy lifestyle routine. Happy New Year!
Kristy Alexander is the Founder & Chief Big Heart of Apple Rose Beauty. They create spa quality natural and organic beauty products and tangibly supports the fight against human trafficking. They hire survivors of human trafficking and donate to organizations involved in their rescue and rehabilitation. Their ingredients are natural, certified organic and wildcrafted and our products focus on providing the most effective solutions in the most healthy way possible, without the harmful effects of harsh chemicals and fillers. Their products are perfect for all skin-types and ethnicities.
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