You are told all the time that it is essential to be careful what you put into your body. Most people know that they need to watch out for chemical additives and toxins in their food. But it is just as important to be careful about what you put onto your skin.
Your skin is capable of absorbing 1-2kg of what is put on it! Skin care, hair products, sunscreen, cosmetics, hand cleaners – the chemicals in all of these are absorbed through the skin and into your bloodstream where they can then be taken to anywhere in your body.
If you stop and think about what this means it gets quite scary. Why? Because all the regulations about labeling these products are very sketchy. As well, enforcement of accuracy and truthfulness about ingredients, or effectiveness of the product, in both the labeling and in the marketing, is pretty well non-existent. Many countries don’t even require that manufacturers list all the chemicals that have been added. Terminology is misleading. Claims of fantastic results don’t have to be proven until the manufacturer is taken to court, and that rarely happens because who has the money to sue the giant skin care companies. Basically, there is no way of knowing the details or the truth about what the products do, if anything, and what is in them.
This means that a product that is labeled as “natural” or “organic” could easily have nasty and quite toxic ingredients in it without you even knowing it.
Here in Australia cosmetics don’t have to have the ingredients listed on the product or the packaging – they only need to be displayed at the point of sale, and that can just be on a slip of paper, or the shelf label. Seriously, how many people can read the label in the shop and remember what all the long, unpronounceable chemical names are, and which ones are harmful. This is pretty serious given that many women wear make-up every day.
Most people are receiving far more than safe quantities of these toxic or questionable chemicals on their skin and into their bloodstream every day. Using the fictional chemical’x’ here is the reason why. The levels of chemicals that are deemed to be ‘safe’ in a product are calculated with that product in a stand-alone scenario. That is, this particular amount of chemical ‘x’ in this single product, is regarded as within the safe guidelines if it is absorbed into the body. However, chemical ‘x’ will then be used in product after product. Given that most women use an average of twelve personal and cosmetic products each day, and most men use an average of six, you can see that the amount of chemical ‘x’ they are putting into their body is way in excess of the amount deemed safe.
This little book turned this whole dilemma right on its head for me. It is small enough to sit in the bottom of my shopping bag and lists all the additives you are likely to find in foods, skin care and cosmetics. Beside each additive it tells you what products it is normally added to, why it is added to the product, whether it is benign, harmful or very harmful, and what effects it normally has on the body. Pretty comprehensive!
If you carry this little gem when you are out shopping you won’t have to remember the confusing names of dangerous chemicals. For anyone who is near my work I always carry a few for sale, but otherwise you should be able to order online.
It is a real eye opener to read that a chemical added to make a skin care product feel more moist as it is applied actually dries out the skin. It is amazing how many chemicals added to skin care and cosmetics cause dermatitis, flaky scalp or other skin problems!
You can read about some of the worst additives here, but chances are not great that you will remember their names when your’re at the cosmetic counter.
Let’s hope that as more and more of us start to demand accurate information these deceptions will start to stop, but in the meantime, let’s get informed and bring about change with our shopping dollar.
“I was blessed to come across The Chemical Maze as a teenager and have always bought the updated editions of the book. Bill’s knowledge is incredible and I respect him, his work and his commitment to making a difference to others.” Miranda Kerr xxx
- Reasons to Go Organic (thebeautifultruth001.com)