The title may be over the top: you won’t die when you put your lip gloss on, brush your teeth or wash your hair.
Sadly though, there are ingredients in many cosmetics that are harmful to our health.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate for example, which is added to shampoos is used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers.
Its foaming qualities mean that it is present in 90% of products such as shampoos, toothpastes and body washes. It is a very harsh detergent, which can irritate the skin, leading to skin rashes, flaking, hair loss and mouth ulceration.
Whereas we would never dream of eating these chemicals, we don’t give cosmetics more than a second thought. Particularly as anything that is put onto the skin is also partly absorbed and finds its way into the bloodstream.
Once there the body has to deal with these synthetic chemicals.
Many beauty products also contain paraffin, which is a petroleum by-product, a mineral oil that coats the skin like plastic.
Baby oil is at least 93% mineral oil. It clogs the pores and interferes with the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins.
To “lock in moisture” is not necessarily what our babies need because, like the kidneys, the skin is an important organ of elimination.
To stay healthy we need to eliminate toxins and waste products.
Mineral oils, which slow down skin function and cell development can lead to premature ageing, acne and other skin disorders.
In 1987 mineral oil was recognised as carcinogenic but unlike plant oils it is extremely cheap. Other cosmetics contain Lanolin, a natural oily substance in sheep wool, which keeps sheep dry.
Unfortunately, the majority of lanolin found in cosmetics is contaminated by sheep dip material, i.e. organo-phosphate pesticides and insecticides.
Many forms of makeup contain the preservative butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) because it absorbs easily into the skin.
However, the US National Toxicology Program labelled it a carcinogen.
Cosmetics commonly contain moisturisers in the form of wetting agents (propylene glycol) and humectants (glycerine).
Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze and break fluid. It increases the skin’s permeability thus allowing some of the toxic compounds to be absorbed into the body.
Liquid foundations often contain a variety of Parabens (methyl-, propyl- or butylparaben). They inhibit microbial growth and extend product shelf lives. They are not only highly toxic but also oestrogen-mimics.
The most dangerous cosmetics are the ones, which have a pearly, glittery or frosted effect.
Pure aluminium is used to achieve this effect. Aluminium is also used in creams, lotions and deodorants.
How do we know which ingredients are safe and which aren’t? The names of most ingredients are confusing and we assume that the safety controls are carried out, but in fact make up manufacturers do not need to demonstrate that their products are safe.
The best advice is to choose products that contain the fewest ingredients. Many products labelled ‘natural’ are far from that.
Alternatively, products can be home made using simple ingredients such as honey, rolled oat, fullers earth… the list is endless.
For more information contact Luzia on 01258 456223, or take part in a half-day course to learn how to make your own cosmetics – where you know what the ingredients are! click here for more information.