Are Your Cosmetics Poisoning You?
The average US woman uses 12 personal care products a day, containing 168 different chemicals. While most men use fewer products, they’re still exposed to about 85 such chemicals daily. Many cosmetics are marketed as enhancing a woman’s self-image, but are the ingredients secretly poisoning her (or him) from the inside?
Toxins are everywhere. They’re in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the products we use to clean our homes and our bodies. Most cosmetics and personal care products on store shelves today contain five major categories of toxic ingredients. These are frank carcinogens (cancer-causing); precursors of or “hidden” carcinogens; endocrine or hormone disruptors; penetration enhancers; and allergens.
5 Toxins To Know
A handful of the most hazardous chemicals found in many personal care products and cosmetics include:
- Parabens. Parabens are chemicals that have been used since the 1950s to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative in deodorants, lotions, lipsticks, shampoos, scrubs, and more. A study published in 2012 suggested that parabens from antiperspirants and other cosmetics appear to increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS is a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier used in thousands of cosmetic products, as well as in industrial cleaners. It’s present in nearly all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, and bath oils/bath salts.
- Phthalates. Phthalates are plasticizing ingredients that have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems. Be aware that phthalates are often hidden on shampoo labels under the generic term “fragrance.”
- Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is a chemical used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, which may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.
- Toluene, made from petroleum or coal tar, is found in most synthetic fragrances and nail polish. Chronic exposure is linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, and liver or kidney damage, and it may affect a developing fetus.
You may or may not see these ingredients listed straight on the label. Here are more to consider.
Skin – Protective, but permeable
Our skin is highly permeable. Less than one-tenth of an inch thick, the skin is a porous membrane that is highly sensitive to toxic chemicals. What we put on our skin affects our health just as much as, if not more than, what we put in our mouths.
“We have three layers of skin – epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The epidermis is the first barrier between us and the world, the dermis cushions us from any blows the world has to deal us and the hypodermis is mainly used for fat storage and contains blood vessels. All three of these layers, in turn, are made up out of other layers. The epidermis alone consists of another 4-5 layers despite it only being between 0.5 – 1.5mm thick depending on where on the body you measure it.
These layers, in turn, are made up out of human cells which are very complex structures with lots of barriers preventing chemicals from moving in, around and out of them easily.
What I’m trying to show you here is that any chemical that’s going to make it from outside of our bodies all the way into our bloodstream has a long way to go. It’s going to be a brutal adventure en-route and many will not survive.”
-Lorraine Dallmeier (a Biologist who loves to write about the science of plants and their use in cosmetics).
Dallmeier goes on to say:
“Your skin is an amazing organ and it’s filled with all sorts of protective measures that fight back. It’s an epic battle at times and many chemicals will simply not make it. Some chemicals will never get that far in the first place because their molecules are too big and they can’t pass into the skin. Others are retained on the skin’s surface because they bind with other chemicals or even bind with the skin itself.”
Cosmetics & Migraines
Over 70% of migraine sufferers are women. Many women suffer from menstrual migraines, which can be caused by an imbalance in the endocrine system and hormonal imbalance. Endocrine disruptors in cosmetics include parabens, plastics, phthalates, and pesticides. Check your ingredient labels to rule out if something in your makeup kit is linked to your migraines.
Doctors may prescribe a migraine medication, but is your doctor asking you what beauty products you wear? How would that change your perception? Wouldn’t you want to know if the simple fix was to eliminate something in your morning routine? Become a label detective to find out.
What You Can Do
Take these steps to protect yourself from possible toxins in your cosmetics:
- Become a label detective and remove any products with harmful chemicals.
- Experiment and try making your own DIY natural skin care products.
- Functional practitioners can perform hair, urine and blood analysis to confirm toxins in the body, discover the root cause and provide a lifestyle plan for feeling your best. You can locate a functional practitioner in your area
Every person is unique and every chemical is unique. It is always a good practice to read labels and be curious about what goes in and on your body. If you can’t pronounce it and you don’t know what it is or does, think twice for a healthier, more natural alternative.
The numbers don’t lie. Seek out a functional practitioner and get blood work done to see what toxins are lurking in your systems and rid of them safely. Cosmetics are supposed to enhance your beauty, but if it’s causing health issues, there’s a prettier solution in your future.
You are beautiful.