Before the last century, all skin care, soaps, hair care and cosmetics were from plant or animal origin. It wasn’t until companies figured out how to do everything cheaper with petroleum in the 1950s that changed things. This synthetic era prevails today with the most common products on the shelves containing up to 100% petroleum or palm-based chemicals.
Fortunately, you have options. You can now choose products that are more like what humans used for thousands of years rather than putting liquid plastic on your face. Modern times give natural companies the luxury of a global market where we can source rose oil from Turkey, lavender from France and sunflower oil produced locally. It is a great time for your skin!
Here are our top 5 reasons why choosing natural products is the ONLY way to go:
1. Performance – Natural skin care is like eating a whole foods diet with its long term benefits on the body. It will keep your skin firm and healthy because it is full of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and other therapeutic ingredients that reverse cellular damage and inflammation. Synthetic products may offer some quick fix solutions but fail to keep skin healthy in the long run with loss of elasticity and premature wrinkles being the most common issues.
2. Toxicity – Synthetic cosmetic ingredients are responsible for polluting the body. Urine and blood samples reveal that chemicals such as triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and synthetic musks penetrate the skin and end up in our bodies. These chemicals have been found to have hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing behaviours.
3. Eco-toxicity – Did you know that one of the main causes of human damage to reefs is in the sunscreen we wear? The most common ingredients, oxybenzone actually bleaches and kills reef. Plastic microbeads are found in oceans and lakes all over the world. Petroleum ingredients do not break down. They stay in our water and soil for thousands of years and can easily make their way onto our dinner plates. Not to mention the petroleum industry itself – the drilling, the pipes bursting, and the water pollution from refineries.
4. Biodiversity – The African oil palm tree is used extensively in the synthetic cosmetic industry. Ancient rainforests all over the world are cut down to grow this one plant. Replacing an ecosystem, home to thousands of species, with a tree farm is a disaster. When you choose natural products, you are supporting an industry that sources numerous varieties of plants – both farmed and wildcrafted.
5. Animal Testing – The main cosmetic companies are still testing on animals. This includes Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Loreal. Even if one brand claims that they don’t, their parent company probably does. I won’t go into the details of what happens in these labs, but it is distressing to think that so many animals are made to suffer on a daily basis for the purpose of humans looking beautiful. It is senseless and completely unnecessary.
Making the switch to natural is simple and the benefits are endless. Not only will your skin look its best but you will be keeping toxins out of your body and out of our water and soil. It’s the products we purchase and use on a daily basis that can make a huge impact on our lives and the future of this planet.
Our skin has ability to absorb anywhere from 21- 94% of what is put on it. There are many synthetic ingredients found in personal care products that are questionable as to their long term health effects and safety for human consumption. Our take is that if there is an ingredient that could potentially be harmful or could have adverse long-term effects on our health, why would we use it in our products when there are healthy and safe alternatives? Elements to avoid:
Sulphates (sodium or ammonium lauryl/laureth/myreth sulfate) – synthetic ingredients used to create foam or to allow liquid to spread or absorb easily. Commonly found in soap, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath. Sulphates are known to irritate the skin and in some cases cause eczema. Sulphates have also been linked to cancer. For sensitive / dry skin, products containing SLS are best avoided.
Synthetic Parabens (methyl, propyl, ethyl, butyl) – synthetic preservatives used in lotions, gels, shampoos, toners, deodorants, antiperspirants and sunscreens. Synthetic parabens have the potential to mimic oestrogen which can result in reproductive abnormalities. These chemicals are readily absorbed and stored by the body and have been found in cancerous tissues. The study carried out by English researcher Philippa Darbre in 2004 found parabens present in 90% of affected samples they tested.
Phthalates – ingredients used to enhance fragrance or make it last longer. They are commonly found in perfumes, fragrance, hair products, deodorants, body lotions and nail polish. Unfortunately they are NOT required to be listed on labels as they are classified as proprietary. This is a cause for concern as consumers have no real way of knowing which products contain them. In order to be a savvy consumer avoids products that claim an ingredient as ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’. They are believed to cause cancer, disrupt DNA and have been linked to birth defects.
Petrochemicals – ingredients found in petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, and propylene glycol which are unfortunately in the base of most personal care products such as lip balms, baby moisturisers, shampoos and conditioners. Sulphates, parabens and phthalates are all either derived from petrochemicals or contaminated with them. The scary part is that research has shown they potentially cause cancer, disrupt DNA, and can cause birth defects.
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