There are now over 10,000 ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and toiletries. Among these are a few thousand aromatic compounds used to perfume products—by the way, most products these days are anything but natural. More than a thousand of these substances have already been shown to produce toxic effects on living systems. Now here’s the BIG news: Far more important than the potential harm any single chemical can do is the dangerous way in which these chemicals can interact to produce far more toxic compounds within your body and, of course, the skin, which is your largest organ.
So far behind the times are the methods used to check out the “safety” of chemical ingredients, that it’s likely to take decades before the depth of the chemical damage to which we are now exposed can become common knowledge. The outdated analytical methods still being used to identify carcinogenic chemicals, for instance, examine the effect of only one chemical on living tissue. This kind of research is at least 150 years behind what it should be. It’s based on 19th century toxicology, and as such, it takes no account of the dangers of mega-toxic compounds created by chemical interactions with one or another. Not to mention the pollutants in our foods, water and air. All of these chemicals—and others formed by reactions between them—contribute to mounting toxicity. They make our skins highly susceptible to rapid ageing.
Man-made chemicals are foreign to living systems, including our own skin and body. As such, they’re potentially dangerous to them. Why? Because, in a million years of evolution, our bodies have never come into contact with them. Our genes are simply not adapted to handle them. We don’t have the enzyme system needed to clear these chemicals from our bodies. And here’s the bad news: Included in the group of potentially destructive chemicals are hundreds—probably thousands—of common cosmetic ingredients, from artificial preservatives to fragrances.
Chemical cocktails, to which our bodies are constantly exposed in cleaning products, toiletries, perfumes, makeup and skin care products don’t just remain on the surface of the skin. They are absorbed right through it. They interfere with the exchange of nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells, and with the elimination of wastes—an exchange regulated by subtle electrochemical energies. This results in a buildup of toxicity in the body, poor circulation and electrochemical stagnation, so that the skin’s cellular metabolism—and the transmission of important information and the regulation of hormones to keep it young and beautiful—break down. So much for the bad news.
THE GOOD NEWS
When cells thrive, and your skin is radiant, you have a high level of protection from aging. This happens when plenty of nutrients and oxygen get into your cells, and toxic wastes are efficiently and effectively removed. One way help this takes place is to go for self care and cleaning products that are safe. The second way is to stop eating massive amounts of convenience foods, riddled with grains, cereals, sugars and junk fats. Of course this is what most people still eat. Then they wonder why their skin ages rapidly. The good news is this: There are some wonderful new skincare products just being introduced. These are not only organic in nature, they contain none of the nasties you will want to steer clear of.
Unfortunately, most cosmetic manufacturers still pay little attention to the effects that these chemicals can exert on the body and on health in general. Here are some of the most widespread chemicals commonly used in makeup, skincare and toiletries, and which you need to be aware of.
Heavily used preservatives in the cosmetic industry, used in an estimated 13,200 skincare products, makeup, and toiletries. These are the most common synthetic preservatives. They show up on labels with names like butyl-paraben, methyl-paraben, and propyl-paraben. Naïve cosmetic manufacturers insist that parabens are “safe”, because they don’t directly cause inflammatory reactions to skin. But what these enzyme-inhibitors do is cause damage to the DNA of skin cells. This is something easily verified by feeding placebos to live cells in a laboratory, then recording what happens to them. Research carried out in Germany, Britain and Japan also indicates that parabens—which we absorb in significant quantities day in, day out—are likely to be a causative factor in male infertility problems and breast tumors in women.
Sodium Lauryl or Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):
Also known as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), which is found in some 90% of personal care products. They tend to attack your skin’s important ability to retain moisture, leading to premature aging and, in many, dry skin. Since they are very easily absorbed into the body when you put them on your skin, they actually give easy access to other chemicals that you are better off without.
Isopropyl alcohol (SD-40): This is a drying and irritating solvent which disrupts the skin’s immune protective barrier, making it more vulnerable to invasion by microbes and to penetration by other destructive chemicals. It also promotes the formation of irregular pigmentation and age spots.
Coal tar dyes (FD&C color pigments):
These are common synthetic colors made from coal tar. They can contain heavy metals to pollute the body and deplete it of oxygen. They can also be carcinogenic. Coal tar dyes are major culprits in skin reactions, and they engender skin sensitivity.
Often hidden in the list of ingredients, and called such things as polysorbates, PEG, and laureth ethoxylated alcohols. These chemicals are easily absorbed by the skin and are carcinogenic. This was discovered back in 1965 and later confirmed by a number of studies, including one in 1978 by the National Cancer Institute in the US.
Artificial fragrances: Lots of chemicals used to make artificial fragrances are known to be both toxic and carcinogenic. They can affect the central nervous system, triggering emotional disturbances and behavioral problems in some people. This is a wide group, the majority of which is dangerous—in no small part because of the solvents used to disperse their molecules and to suspend these complex organic chemicals in solution.
MAKE YOUR CHOICE
Does this mean you should never again slick on that yummy lip gloss? Or that you need to toss the light-as-air cream you just bought into the bin? Not necessarily. What it does mean is this: It’s time to become aware of the dangers of toxic overload to your own system, and take action to minimize it happening to you. It’s also a good idea to cleanse your system through a very gentle but effective detox a couple of times a year. You might, for instance, choose to use the lipstick or a favorite mascara—but search for a shampoo with a natural saponifier, like kumerhou or soap wort. And forget the foaming bath lotions—use Epsom salts instead. It is important not to take, on trust, cosmetic and skincare manufacturers’ assurances that everything they put into their products is perfectly safe. It just ain’t true.
A growing number of conscientious companies are striving to formulate products without potentially dangerous ingredients. Some of these products are excellent. Others, although they may have been conceived out of a genuine wish to produce good, safe skincare and makeup, fall short on effectiveness and aesthetic appeal. Just like organic wines—which can be wonderful— but simply because a wine is organic does not make it beautiful to drink. Delicious organic wines rely on chemical-free vineyards and the sophisticated skill of the winemaker who creates them. So it is with cosmetics.
NEW GUYS ON THE BLOCK
There are two brand new organic skincare ranges that are worth taking a look at. One of them, Gaiavita…From Nature to Beauty With Love, is an excellent range that has just appeared. I have tried their products and they are effective and delightful. Their products are not only produced from superb-quality organic ingredients, the company has a powerful commitment to supporting transformation in business and on the planet, which I find inspiring. Gaiavita offer luxury health and beauty products using the purest ingredients in preparing rejuvenating skin creams and clay body masques. Do take a look at them.
GaiaVita's ethos is derived from core principles of responsibility, integrity, transparency and quality...all of which I love. They have created luxury skin and body products which are not only uncompromising in their ethics but are delicious to use... and they do the job for which they are intended. The founders have a vision of forming partnerships with other women’s organizations dedicated to empowering women to become everything that they want to be. Their skin care and body treatments contain only the purest ingredients. This range is formulated in Hungary with great care and is certified by Hungaria Biokontrol as 95% organic. All in all I feel that GaiaVita is inspiring, delicious and effective. Do take a look at it…perhaps I should say take a feel of it...I suspect you’ll come to like it as much as I do…
The second new organic skincare range comes out of Dr Joseph Mercola’s stable. Mercola believes that it’s important to use only ingredients that promote healthy appearances without causing potential harm. His products are certified organic, which means that they are all natural agricultural products grown and processed according to the USDA’s national organic standards, then certified by the USDA-accredited state and private certification organizations. I have a lot of respect for Dr Mercola, however I have not yet tested the Mercola organic skincare range myself. I will be doing so within the next month. It relies principally on specific natural substances such as sea buckthorn oil, cupuaco butter, and even Acai berries.
My reservations about the Mercola range—and this may change once I have experimented with them—is this: Just as I have never trusted anybody to tell the truth about weight control when they have never been overweight and don’t have any idea what people who have been struggle with, I have reservations about a skincare range put together by a man who understands little about the nature of the process. I know this sounds sexist, but my experience in skin care and cosmetic is a long one. Among other ranges I have worked on, I conceived and created the Origins range for cosmetic giant Estee Lauder. I believe that you must have the experience of women to create a skincare range that is effective, delicious to use and wonderful. Hopefully, testing out Mercola’s products will prove me wrong.
MERCOLA’S RANGE FAILS
Alas, my concerns about the Mercola skincare turned out to be well founded. The range is indeed organic however, having tested the products now, I cannot recommend them. They smell pleasant but are in my opinion ineffective. They are also badly packaged and priced far to high. They brought no improvement to my skin and added nothing to its care. My advice is to stay away from them altogether... just because some ingredients are organic says nothing about what they can or cannot do to care for your skin and this range brings can do little or nothing for you. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS RANGE IN ANY WAY.
For more information about GAIAVITA click here
For more information about MERCOLA’s SKINCARE RANGE click here