Beauty at a price

Does beauty come with a price?

By LeeJoy Ellis

I love the phrase “Today you create what you will be tomorrow.”  And its not only what we are putting into our bodies, like the food we eat, but also what we are putting on them that will be translated at a cellular level and determine our health and well being.

Most of us have become very diligent about reading food labels, but how many of us read our personal care labels?It is important to have a basic understanding of what is in your personal care products as they could contain toxins that are setting you up for health problems that are hard to trace.  Our skin is our largest organ and science has estimated that as much as 60% of the products we apply to our skins winds up in our blood stream.

Putting a cosmetic on the market does not require safety data on ingredients or any pre-market review.  In addition, manufacturers do not have to report consumer complaints or any adverse reaction to their products.

Regulation based on the archaic notion that cosmetics are not absorbed through the skin have made the cosmetic industry a bastion for rampant use of toxic chemicals.  Did you know that cosmetologists develop myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer, at four times the rate of the general population.

The EPA has found chemicals from personal care products in rivers and waterways all over the US, yet no plans have been made for clean up or restrictions as other countries have begun.  In fact, the United States has passed no federal law to regulate the ingredients in personal care products since 1938.  The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients – unfortunately the US has only banned 11 to date.  There are around 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products and only 10% of those chemicals have safety data.(www.Beautycounter.com)

So you may be asking, why would these manufacturers put these toxic chemicals into our personal care products?  Simply put, their profit depends on an indefinite shelf life. Removing vital oils and biologically active components from mass produced personal care products and substituting cheap refined oils and fillers ensures the longest shelf life and best return on their investment in raw materials.

As naturally trusting beings we let marketing deceptions impact our lives.  We accept as truth what we hear most often, what comes in the most appealing packaging, or what is endorsed by a medial spokesperson or celebrity.  Too often we reward companies that spend millions on everything but the actual product – appealing adverts, packaging, synthetic smells – all distractions from the actual ingredients.

Its time to stop being a good customer and become a discerning judge when purchasing our personal care products.  The more you know, the more power you have to preserve and transform your own health and appearance.  The sooner you let go of the blind faith you have in the manufacturers ability or incentive to protect you, the sooner you can put that faith and role of protector back where it belongs – WITH YOU!

Hopefully by now, you are curious about what these toxins are and how to avoid them.   Many of these toxic ingredients are carcinogenic and hormone disrupters, they mimic estrogen.  Estrogen dominance is becoming more prevalent in this country and is contributing to the growing epidemic of breast cancer, reproductive failure and weight problems in both men and woman.

Rather than learn the name of every harmful synthetic ingredient, if you can avoid just a handful of ingredients, you will likely be getting a product that is pretty close to natural and safe.  These are the 5 ingredient you want to avoid;

  1. Synthetic fragrance or parfum
  2. Synthetic emollients such as mineral oil or petrolatum
  3. Synthetic preservatives such as parabens, “amines” like MES/DEA/TEA. In 2004, a study at the University of Reading, England found high concentrations of parabens in human breast cancer tumors.
  4. Synthetic colors FD&C
  5. Synthetic carriers and emulsifiers like polyethylene glycol(PEGs)

Many toxins have dozens of aliases, for example formaldehyde, a widely known carcinogen and also linked to neurotoxicity found in nail polish, skin and body products and used as an antimicrobial and preservative can have the alias formalin, lysoform or formalith.  Quaternium -15 can release formaldehyde.

So, you know what to avoid.  What do you look for? In 2002 the USDA’s National Organic Rule went into effect, giving full credibility to the word organic.  It assures consumers that a label 100% organic means completely free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, GMO’s and toxic chemicals.

But, labels reading “Organic” only required 70% of the product be organic.  This leaves a whole lot of room for synthetics – so read the product ingredient list carefully.  Don’t just blindly trust the word organic.

Look for companies that use essential oils and citrus seed extracts as preservatives.  Look for companies that are committed to full disclosure in their personal care line and that are working to change regulation and bring us safe products.

You can also learn more about the ingredients in current brands you are using by visiting the Environmental Working Group’s website www.ewg.org.  EWG is a non profit organization whose mission is to use information to protect the public health and environment.

Each of us has a threshold at which we react, to the type and number of synthetic chemical we are exposed to.  Once we pass that threshold we could suddenly become very sensitive or chronically sick.  Unfortunately synthetically derived chemicals accumulate in our bodies, helping us to reach these thresholds quicker.  With continued, daily use of multiple toxic personal care products we are putting our health at risk.

Demand full disclosure about everything that goes into and on your body.  Without full disclosure, the concept of choice is merely an illusion. Don’t be brand loyal, be ingredient loyal.  Go for substance over packaging.  Get past smells and colors and focus on content.  Consider each purchase as an investment in your future health and vitality, since any product you use will become part of you.

When we become informed, the choices we have come to accept at our own expense will no longer be acceptable and our purchases will start to align with our knowledge and our quality of life will improve.

So don’t be another beauty statistic.  Favoring non toxic choices is the result of getting informed.

Call us at 216 450-1016 to chat with our clean beauty consultant