Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What are we putting on our faces?

With all the current media furore over horse meat in processed foods making us re-examine how and what we eat, I thought it a good idea to also question what we also put onto our skin.  Much has been said over the years about the types & numbers of potentially harmful chemicals included in skin care products and cosmetics, some of it conflicting it is true, but if you only take away one thing from reading this post, is to stop and question what you are using and maybe educate yourself and then be able to make an informed decision as to the products you are using.

Skin is our largest bodily organ for removing waste, and acting as our first line of defence against infection.  What we put on it that can be absorbed internally can affect our health & well being in both positive and negative ways.  Many products on the commercial market contain products derived from petroleum (yes that stuff that goes in the car) which can weaken the natural functions of the skin, making it prone to infection and not allowing toxins to escape thereby polluting the body from within.

Each day we use products that we believe to be totally safe when in effect we could slowly be poisoning our bodies over time.  In some instances, chemicals used in products have not been tested to monitor the effects of long term use on the bodies of humans.  In a typical day, we may be exposed to over 2000 different chemicals, which could potentially be cancer causing, and also be playing havoc with our hormones.  So let's have a look at some of the more common chemicals found in skincare products.

alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40)
An irritant, dehydrating solvent that strips the skin of it's natural oils and diminishes our resistance to infection.  A petroleum derivative widely used in soaps, shampoos, fragrances etc.  It is also found in antifreeze for your car!  It may promote brown spotting of the skin and  premature ageing of the skin. Studies have shown that this ingredient may be the cause of depression, headaches, vomitting, bouts of dizziness.

DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)
Thought to be instrumental in disrupting our hormones causing the creation of cancer causing nitrates.  Due to this carcinogenic effect, their use is restricted in Europe but products imported from the USA may still contain them.

DMDM hydantion & urea (imidazolidinyl)
Preservatives that often release formaldehyde which can cause joint pain, skin irritations, allergies, depression, chest pain, chronic fatigue & insomnia.  Exposure can also affect the respiratory system, cause asthma, heart palpitations.  Other possible side effects include weakening the immune system and creation of cancer.

FD&C colour pigments
Made from coal tar, these synthetic colours that contain heavy metal salts, deposit irritating 7 sensitizing agents into the skin.  Absorption of some colours affects the body's ability to use oxygen.  Studies using animals show that these colours are cancer causing.

Synthetic substances that can be made up of up to 4000 ingredients, some of which could be cancer causing.  Can lead to skin irritations, rashes, skin discolouration in the first instance. May also cause depression, irritability, hyperactivity, due to their effects on the nervous system.

Mineral Oil
A petroleum by-product that coats the skin causing blockages in pores, and undermines the skin's ability to eliminate toxins. Can cause premature ageing.  Used in many baby products such as baby oil which is 100% mineral oil.

Polyethelene Glycol (PEG)
Petroleum by-product that is potentially carcinogenic which upsets the skin's natural moisture levels. Could lead to signs of premature ageing & leaving the skin open to bacteria. Used in oven cleaners to dissolve grease.

Propylene Glycol/Burylene Glycol
Synthetic surfectants (attract moisture to the skin) which penetrate the skin and cause damage and weakening to proteins in the structure of the skin. Possible cause of anti ageing.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate
Detergents and surfectants  also commonly used in car washers & engine degreasers.  Used in skincare products that require them to foam up.  Can cause skin irritation, eye damage ( due to their effect of dissolving proteins), depression, impaired immune system leading to skin inflammation.  When combined with some other chemicals, can lead to formation of nitrosamines which are potent cancer causing substances.  Is retained in the body for up to 5 days, leading the body to slowly build up a residual amount, primarily in the heart, liver, lungs & brain.

So definitely something to be aware of when purchasing skin/hair/body products and toothpastes.  There are available alternatives to these products that do not contain one or more of the above, though not always the cheapest  option to consider, especially in the current financial climate when cash is tight.  As always the choice is up to the individual, armed now with knowledge as to what our products may be doing to our bodies both short & long term.

No comments:

Post a Comment