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Unwittingly many of us apply over 500 toxic chemicals on (and into) our skin during our morning beauty routine. But why put toxins on your body in the name of beauty? Natural skin care is better for you, more nourishing for your skin, better for our planet and means no animal testing. So instead look for skincare with pure, natural ingredients which act more akin to a skin food and Never underestimate plant power!
Luckily for us natural skincare lovers, there are hundreds of gorgeous and effective natural personal care and beauty products to choose from. With 8 years in the natural and organic beauty business I will be sharing with you what I know works. Like you, I love to feel great and look good and this can be achieved in a greener, cleaner way.
Our motto is skin and within.
Further to my last piece on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here is a list of the top 10 chemicals to avoid that are contained in many cosmetic ingredients that you should avoid applying to your skin.
Common preservatives that release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, that is irritating to the mucous membranes and known to cause contact dermatitis, headaches and internal bleeding.
Examples: diazolindyl urea, imidazolindyl urea
Common preservatives that are linked to breast cancer.
Examples: butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben
Commonly used as a plasticizer in everything from skincare, cosmetics, nail polish, perfume to hair products and deodorants. Known to cause liver damage, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. Suspected of causing birth defects, lowering sperm counts and a breast cancer risk.
Examples: di-butyl-phthalate, di-ethylhexyl-phthalate
Petroleum by-products interfere with the skin's natural functions, clog the pores, exacerbate acne, and are contaminated with carcinogens linked to breast cancer.
Examples: mineral oil petrolatum, paraffin (Vaseline), dipropylene, glycol, butylene glycol, disodium EDTA, tetrasodium EDTA, trisodium EDTA, polybutene, triclosan, polyethylene
Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
Made from the same chemical that is used to create anti-freeze, this chemical easily penetrates the skin and is linked to damage of the liver, kidneys and brain.
Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate
This is a commonly used foaming agent that is considered a skin irritant and carcinogen, and is known to cause skin rashes and allergic reactions. SLS is absorbed through the skin and mimics the activity of estrogen. Linked to PMS, decreased male fertility, as well as breast cancer. It is often disguised in "natural" products with the term "derived from coconut". It is particularly irritating to the eyes. SLS is often contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
These chemicals can react with other ingredients in the cosmetic product to form potent carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines, that are linked with liver, stomach, bladder and esophagus cancers.
Found in nail products, this chemical is a known carcinogen, allergen and irritant. Used as a synthetic preservatives, such as diazolindyl and imidazolindyl urea, break down to release formaldehyde.
The simple term "fragrance" on an ingredient list can refer to a combination of any of the thousand separate ingredients used to make up the "fragrance", many of which are phthalates (ie. toxic carcinogens and hormone disruptors). Fragrances are considered to be one of the top 5 known allergens and are known to cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.
Examples: parfum, vanillyl butyl ether
They are known to cause skin irritation and sensitivity. Many are also believed to be carcinogenic.
Examples: FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Blue 1. Labeled FD&C or D&C followed by a number.
These are certainly not the only ingredients that you should avoid. If you are keen to learn more about the chemicals to avoid, or check up on ingredients in your day-to-day personal care products, the Environmental Working Group's SKIN DEEP Cosmetic Safety Database is a good and comprehensive database of ingredients used within cosmetics and personal care products.
Help protect yourself by minimising your absorption of environmental cancer causing ingredients, especially in your personal care products. There are numerous natural brands to choose, from body care, to make up, to hair colours. Try Neal's Yard Remedies for clean skincare that fights ageing head on!
Fight Cancer with diet:
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published findings that suggest eating carotenoid-rich foods (micronutrients in fruits and vegetables) may also protect against breast cancer. Those with the highest blood levels of individual carotenoids (alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin and lycopene) and the highest levels of total carotenes, had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest levels. â€œA diet high in carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables offers many health benefits, including a possible reduced risk of breast cancer.
Get them from your diet as dietary carotenoids appear to be more protective than supplements.
Carotenoids are the micronutrients in fruits and vegetables that give them their vibrant orange, yellow, and red colours. Good sources include:
Lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit.
Alpha-carotene: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro, thyme, green beans, Swiss chard, and apples.
Beta-carotene: sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, turnip greens, mustard greens, and spinach.
Lutein and zeaxanthin: eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas and Brussels sprouts.
Beta-cryptoxanthin: papaya, mango, peaches, oranges, tangerines, bell peppers, corn and watermelon, red fish, (e.g. salmon) and eggs.