Personal care is big business in the US. The $50 billion beauty industry produces such products as shampoo, deodorant, makeup, moisturizer, diaper cream, perfume, and toothpaste, and these products literally touch almost every American every day. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the average American uses about 10 personal care products each day, and is exposed to more than 128 unique chemicals from those products.
What goes onto our skin goes directly into our bloodstream, including all these wonderful smelling lotions, shampoos, cleansers, toners, make up and perfume. It takes only 26 seconds or so for those chemicals to enter your bloodstream.
Skin is the largest organ in the human body, and one of its most remarkable. A breathing layer of protection between ourselves and the world, it grows up and out in layers that replace themselves every 52 to 75 days. The average adult, in fact, sheds about 40 pounds of skin over the course of a lifetime, and typically carries around 21 square feet of it, weighing 7 pounds and containing 300 million individual cells. Each square inch of skin has roughly 10 hairs, 15 oil glands, 72 feet of nerve fiber, 100 sweat glands, and over 3 feet of blood vessels, which make our skin very absorbent and cause the things we put on it become quickly absorbed into our bodies. When it comes to traditional personal care and make-up products, this can be quite hazardous to our health. Parabens, for example, are chemical preservatives that have been found to mimic estrogen and alter the body’s delicate hormonal balance. Another class of compounds commonly found in such products is phthalates, which have been linked to breast cancer.
Although your skin is designed to be a protective barrier, it is porous and will absorb the ingredients in many skin care and cosmetics products. Regular use of chemical laden ingredients will cause the body to store these chemicals. Over time this accumulation can cause many health issues. Did you know that everyday chemical exposure is among the leading causes of the most common cases of chronic disease in America?
The truth is, many of the ingredients in personal care and beauty products aren’t so pretty. U.S. researchers have found that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in cosmetic and personal care products are hazardous industrial chemicals. Around 10,500 industrial chemicals are used as cosmetic ingredients, many of which are carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticisers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts) and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks).
On average Women put on about 168 chemicals on their skin each and everyday, Men on average use about half the number of products that women do on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. The same fragrance chemicals in her products are also found in his aftershave, cologne and shaving cream. Some ingredients damage sperm count. Formaldehyde used as a preservative in shampoos and body washes may cause cancer and trigger skin allergies, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics..
Studies have shown:
• 98% of cosmetics contain toxic chemicals that have had no safety tests
• one of every 30 products sold in the U.S. fails to meet governmental cosmetics safety standards.
• 447 cosmetics that are unsafe when used as directed
• 383 products with ingredients prohibited in cosmetics in Canada, Japan, or the E.U.
What is particularly unnerving is that the FDA has no authority to require that cosmetics be tested for safety before they are sold. You heard that right, the agency responsible for protecting our health has NO authority in this matter.
There are over 60,000 chemicals that have been invented and new toxic chemicals are invented every year that are introduced onto the market without safety tests. The cosmetics industry can choose to use ANY of these chemicals.
Many of these toxic chemicals do not even have to be stated on the label because they can be labeled as ‘fragrance’, ‘natural coloring’ or other such labels. Some of these environmental toxins have KNOWN harmful effects in the body – such as Bisphenol A and antibacterials like triclosan. Others, like nanoparticles have completely unknown effects. Cosmetics companies claim they have done extensive safety testing, but continue to use these toxic chemicals even when there is clear evidence of or the possibility of harm.
What types of problems can toxic cosmetics cause?
Well, many of these products have toxic chemicals in combinations that could create chemical reactions in which the effects are completely unknown. But of the problems that we do know, these environmental toxins can cause:
• Chronic Fatigue
• Various Cancers including Skin Cancer
• Reproductive Problems
• Neurologic problems ranging from brain fog to autism
• Skin problems from irritation to eczema
• Allergies and asthma
Ditching toxic ingredients and replacing them with clean ones in your personal-care products will go a long way to helping your skin glow from the inside out and lessen the burden on your liver, the body’s main organ of detoxification which has to neutralize every itty-bitty chemical that comes into contact with your skin..
Beauty should be more than skin deep. Be conscious of the toxic chemicals that may be in the cosmetics and toiletries you use.