Here’s the skinny on your skin and chemicals. Skin keeps the bad stuff out—things like dirt, radiation, and microorganisms. It also keeps the body’s moisture in. It receives sensory stimuli from the environment. It regulates body temperature and plays a role in blood pressure. It generates new skin cells and discards dead ones to make room.The skin can even alert the immune system to viruses and other infectious agents. Skin is the body’s largest organ, 16% of the normal adult body, weighing 8 lbs and covering about 22 square feet. All in all, a pretty amazing design!
Although it acts as a barrier to many harmful things, water and some chemicals are absorbed through the skin. Think of medicines that are absorbed through transdermal patches, such as nicotine patches or pain-relief patches.
These are very effective delivery methods. But think about what else could be getting through your skin. Has this got you thinking more carefully about the ingredients in the products you put on your skin? Especially the ones you use everyday? Not just makeup, moisturizers, soaps and antibacterial gels, but also your sunscreen, deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner. And then there’s the detergents you use to wash your clothes.
Wouldn’t it make sense to check the labels and choose natural and organic options so you avoid harmful chemicals that might be absorbed? Keep in mind your skin covers a pretty large area of potential exposure to toxins.
The ‘Dirty Dozen’ of Skin Care by Laura Vougas, BHSc (Nutritional Medicine)
Reduce the toxic load of chemicals in your skincare by avoiding products containing the following:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: used to create foam in products such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath
- Parabens: a preservative used in many moisturisers and cosmetics
- BHA and BHT: preservatives, mainly included in moisturisers and makeup
- Coal Tar Dyes: in hair dyes and coloured makeup
- DEA-Related Ingredients: found in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturisers and shampoos. Look out also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.
- Dibutyl phthalate: used as a plasticiser in some nail care products.
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15 are used in a variety of cosmetics
- Parfum (fragrance): artificial fragrance ingredients are used in many cosmetics and beauty products
- PEG Compounds: found in the cream base of many cosmetics
- Petrolatum: used for shine in some hair products and as a moisture barrier in many lip balms, lip sticks and moisturisers
- Siloxanes: silicon-based chemicals used to soften, smooth and moisten many cosmetics, hair products and deodorant creams
- Triclosan: an antibacterial included in products such as toothpaste, cleansers and antiperspirants
Remember, what goes ON your body goes IN your body. One of the reasons I created Colorado Crème was my need for a natural moisturizer that didn’t irritate my dry skin. I wanted a natural lotion for sensitive skin that really worked in this dry climate. None of the chemicals listed above are in Colorado Crème.