Written by Sara Snow
Did you know that on average we all use about 10 different cosmetic or personal care items each day (at least, you might be saying), and that those adds up to over 125 different ingredients every day. 125 ingredients that each have the potential to be absorbed from our skin right right into our bloodstreams.
In fact, the ingredients in skin care products are specifically designed to penetrate the skin, so they can deliver those amazing results. And that’s scary when you consider that there are thousands of chemical ingredients in personal care products today that contain gunk and muck like pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors and known and suspected carcinogens.
But there is a way around it. Simply get in the habit of reading ingredients lists and then avoid those products that contain certain “red light” ingredients.
Here is my list of top 5 ingredients to avoid.
- PARABENS This is a common form of preservatives in body care products, working to inhibit mold, bacteria, yeast and other gunk from growing in your lotions and creams. But parabens are a known hormone disruptor, with the potential to cause cancer because of the way they mimic estrogen in the human body.
- PETROLEUM We don’t often think of petroleum as it relates to our beauty products but petroleum, or petrolatum, is found in a number of products from lip balms and lipsticks to moisturizers and sunscreen. Petrolatum can contain a contaminate known as BAHS, which is considered a possible carcinogen, and petroleum distillates (they’re used as an anti-foaming agent or solvent) another possible human carcinogen that has also been shown to cause lung damage.
- PHTHALATES This chemical group is used to add flexibility and dissolvability to other ingredients in products like perfume, nail polish, and hairspray. But phthalates may cause organic damage and they’ve been linked to liver toxicity. Also, they’re among a number of chemical types that can mimic estrogen in the body, which may encourage certain types of cancer, including breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.
- SLS (Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates) This surfactant or foaming agent is in an estimated ninety-percent of foaming products from soaps and shower gels to toothpastes. But sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates are harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritation, dryness and other forms of dermatitis.
- SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE “Fragrance” is a single word that can stand for hundreds of different chemicals that were used to create a particular scent. Synthetic fragrances have been linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, and neurotoxicity and are right up there next to second hand smoke as an asthma trigger. Look for products that are scented with plant extracts and essential oils instead.
Sara also took some time to share one of her favorite homemade skin care recipes: Nourishing Body Oil, which she is using to combat stretch marks. It's also perfect for dry skin! Nourishing Body Oil Recipe by Sara Snow