Tag Archives: chemicals

What To Look For In Natural Cosmetics

Woman with flowers

Does it ever seem odd that we pointedly avoid buying foods with any vaguely chemical sounding ingredients, but we actively search for them in our cosmetic products? Breyer’s Ice Cream brags of containing only five simple ingredients, yet we persist in putting a veritable cocktail of synthetic chemicals on our faces. Although it is true that many of the manmade skincare ingredients have proven harmless and effective, there has to be a certain amount of wisdom in the belief that the best things for our bodies come from the same place as our bodies do: the earth. With that in mind, let’s talk natural cosmetics and take a look at what you can do to keep green while you look beautiful.

Scale Down
While there seems to be a myriad of products to address each skin issue individually, some of them really have very similar formulations. Eye creams, for example, vary very little in consistency from basic facial moisturizers. If you are trying to scale down on the number of chemicals you are putting on your face, limit the amounts of products you are putting on your face. Try to limit your skincare routine to the basic essentials: cleanser, moisturizer, toner, and broad spectrum sunscreen.

Organic beauty products

Choose Organic Beauty Products
Organic ingredients are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers which make them a healthier choice for both our planet and out bodies. Even better are botanicals grown employing biodynamic farming methods. These take the green mentality one step further by putting emphasis on the holistic relationship between plants, soil, and animals. The USDA National Organic Program has been certifying organic skincare products since 2003, and an increasing number of formulas are now bearing the organic seal. Biodynamically certified products feature the Demeter USA’s approval stamp.

Know What’s Really In “Natural” Products
Many companies market skincare by slapping the word “natural” on the label; however, the words “natural” and “all-natural” are not regulated terms. To be sure, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database site. This will tell you the level of toxicity in popular cosmetics products on a scale from 0 to 10.

No Fragrance
Besides the use of the word “natural” on product labels, federal law also overlooks the need for companies to state the toxic chemicals in a product’s fragrance mixture. Artificial fragrances can contain phthalates, which can trigger health problems and allergic reactions. Beware of products with “parfum” or “fragrance” on the label, as this could indicate hidden toxicity.

Healthy diet plan

Keep Healthy
Of course, a great way to get a natural glow without chemicals is by making sure you maintain healthy diet and exercise habits. Make a point to get the occasional workout in to keep the blood flowing to your skin, and eat plenty of healthy fats, like flaxseed and omega-3 fish oils, protein, fruits and complex carbohydrates.

Are you going natural with your cosmetics? Let us know how you’re greening up your routine. We love to hear it.

Protect Your Familys Skin Against Harmful Chemicals

Mother and child

It seems the definition of a good parent has expanded in the last few decades. It used to be if you could satisfy the basic needs of your child, see they remained somewhat groomed, hugged them a few times, and remembered to pick them up from school and pack lunch, you were doing okay. But that was back in the ‘ignorance is bliss’ days, before we became aware the existence of an ozone layer and harmful chemicals that were in danger of obliterating it.

Now, you need to develop a superpower that enables you to deflect harmful ingredients from infiltrating their little bodies at the speed of light. Not likely to happen. You’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. Here are a few tips on keeping protecting your family’s skin from chemicals.

Stay Out of The Sun
The sad fact is that a lot of sunscreens out there do not protect against UV rays, and a host of them contain chemicals that can damage our skin. While it would seem that the best advice would be to stay out of the sun, that is often easier said than done when it comes to the average child. Sure, you can cover them with heavy clothes and a hat, but the likelihood is that most of it will end up on the floor of the playground. So what can you do to ensure your child stays active and chemical-free?

Couple smiling

Sunscreen 101
There are two forms of sunscreens:

  • Physical sunscreens
    These contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which form a film on top of the skin that reflects UV light.
  • Chemical Sunscreens
    These absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zinc oxide provides extensive UVA and UVB protection.

However, if you want a chemical sunscreen, be aware, while they protect against UV rays, they also contain chemicals which can be absorbed by the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream.

Check the Label For Chemicals

  • Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone
    The most problematic chemicals found in sunscreen are dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are among the most potent free radical producers and are also known to be disruptive to normal hormonal function.
  • PABA
    You’ve probably seen PABA listed quite frequently on sunscreen labels. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a dye that absorbs UV-B light. It contains a benzene ring which enables electrons to shuffle between different locations inside the structure, absorbing UV-B energy by converting light into heat. PABA can damage DNA, release free radicals, has estrogenic activity and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate
    This is the main chemical use to filter out UV-B light in sunscreens. Its toxicity level, which can increase in sunlight can kill the cell in mice.
  • Benzophenone
    Benzophenone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the products in the sunscreen from breaking down due to the sun rays. According to naturopath Nicole Bjilsma, it also disrupts hormones, interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone.

Baby

Check The Ratings
How does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates sunscreens on safety and protection. You can download their tip sheet on the best and worst chemicals in the cosmetics department, sunscreens included.

What are you doing to make sure your family’s skin stays free of harmful chemicals while avoiding the sun’s rays? Let us know how you do it.