Go to your local pharmacy and pick up the first cleanser, toner, moisturizer, deodorant, cosmetic, or plain olí liquid soap you can find and check out the ingredients. Odds are, there are a myriad of names that anyone would struggle to pronounce, numbered color dyes, unfamiliar abbreviations, et cetera. But whatís the problem? Itís not like you are ingesting it, right?
Not so fast… what about nicotine patches? Don’t they deliver substances directly into your bloodstream through your skin? And why are we not supposed to use deet in our insect repellent? Oh yeah, because it gets absorbed into the body through the skin.†Noticing a trend? Your skin, being the largest organ in your body, is semi-permeable and actually does transport nutrients along with other matter from its surface into the bloodstream and beyond. Which leads me to my point: If you wouldnít put it in your mouth and swallow it, you should probably not put it on your skin.
What’s so harmful in your body lotion, you ask? Well, how about all those parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, not to mentions dozens of other nasties? Many of these chemicals are known to cause endocrine dysfunction. Your endocrine system is responsible for producing, storing, and secreting hormones that carry out essential body functions. Direct disruption of this system can lead to diabetes, growth disorders, osteoporosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, among a myriad of others. Check out this extensive list of harmful skin care chemicals and their side effects.
As a woman diagnosed with PCOS (which affects 7-10 percent of women between ages 15 and 45), I have gradually begun to replace my personal skin care arsenal, bit by bit, in an effort to allow my body to restore to its natural hormonal balance. Unfortunately, it is not always easy (or affordable) to find replacements that work as well as their chemically-laden counterparts. I started out by trying out major brands, like Burtís Bees, Alba Botanica, and Weleda, which are almost entirely natural, and certainly a step up from the more mainstream cosmetics. For a higher price point, 100% Pure is a personal favorite of mine, as they create hair and skin care products that are truly 100 percent natural and pure, utilizing vegan and organic ingredients without any toxins (especially the ones you can’t pronounce) or animal cruelty. Plus, their make-up line is fruit-pigmented, meaning it smells as delicious as it looks! Natural health proponent Jessica Alba indulges in cosmetics by suki, if you are willing to throw down a few more Jeffersons. For family body care, look into Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company for natural, affordable products that are healthy and safe for both you and your children.
There is also the slightly daunting option of concocting your own skin care products. Here is a good recipe to try for homemade body lotion. It may take a little trial and error to determine what works best for your body, and perhaps it will initially cost a little more money to build a stash of oils and waxes, but these small changes will pay off with a more healthy body, which, along with an all-around healthy lifestyle, sets you up for less of those expensive medical bills down the line. Making your own products is also more sustainable for the Earth and your wallet in the long run, as once you have built up a supply, it can last much longer than a couple of tubes of body lotion.
In the end, natural skin care products can help you to look better, feel better, and even smell better. When it comes to skin care, trust your skin and go natural.