Did you know that the average woman applies 500 chemicals each day to her body? Is that crazy? But it's true. For years we have been told of the 'bad stuff' in the wonderfully scented lotions and cosmetics that most of us use every day, what’s worse yet, our children use every day. We are now really beginning to realize that using these lotions and cosmetics with their luscious scents and creamy textures comes at a cost, and it’s a high cost at that.
Everything that we put onto our skin is absorbed, travels to the bloodstream, and then is carried throughout our bodies to our cells. The skin’s ability to absorb is truly amazing. Just think about it, skin absorption is so potent that an increasing number of medicines are in patch form. When we put healthy ingredients onto our skin we nourish our bodies, but when we put unhealthy, synthetic ingredients onto our skin, those are the ingredients that travel throughout our bodies.
Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl Paraben and many more, some combination of these synthetic ingredients is in almost EVERY skin and hair product made today. They are widely known to be highly toxic and cause allergic/skin reactions. Companies use these dangerous ingredients, because the ingredients are extremely cheap and they extend the shelf life of the product by inhibiting microbial growth. Companies use harsh chemicals to add thickness to a product or to give it its creamy, mayonnaise-like consistency. There could be hundreds of harmful synthetic chemical ingredients used to create one single fragrance in a lotion or cream and you would never know because of a “trade secret” law that allows a company to keep their formula for that fragrance a secret.
Lately, you'll find many companies that claim to have 'Natural’ products. Be very careful and always read the labels carefully. If you really scrutinize you will notice a pattern. Companies are now listing the hazardous chemicals that are NOT contained in their products such as parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances or colours, TEA, DEA, glycols, silicones, PEGS, SLS, and others. But the deception here is that a list of ingredients that the product DOESN'T contain does not mean that product is free of other hazardous chemicals. It's just free of the ones that consumers readily recognize while containing others that are just as harmful.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reported that nearly 900 toxic chemicals are used in cosmetic products. And according to a Cancer Coalition press release "Cancer and health risk experts recently concluded reviews that indicate mainstream cosmetics and personal hygiene products pose the highest cancer risk exposures to the general public, even higher than smoking.” This was very powerful to learn.
All of this was so troubling for me and prompted a two-year research spree. At the end, the answer was very clear and very simple. Yes it was just that…simple. I realized that the simpler the product the better. You don't need to use chemicals on your skin and hair. Nature provides us with ingredients that are pure, natural, and extremely effective.
Nature provides us with some of the strongest antibacterial, antioxidant, anti inflammatory ingredients know. Plants. The essential oils of plants have been known throughout the ages as the most potent beautifying agents for the skin. They have a unique lipid structure that allows them to penetrate cell membranes and transport oxygen and nutrients to each cell of the body. Essential oils are some of the highest known sources of antioxidants that can prevent free radical damage and thus have an anti-aging effect on the skin.
A part of an article I read explains it so well:
"Plants are living substances. They contain a vital life energy. It is what differentiates living matter from synthetically derived matter. Plants are composed of the same vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, enzymes and hormones that we are. Our body recognizes plants as nutrition. We can safely eat most of them, use them in body care products and diffuse their oils for their therapeutic benefits. By using natural ingredients you will benefit your health. On the contrary, synthetic ingredients are "man made" chemicals devoid of life. The body recognizes that they are different from nature's plants and one's own chemistry. The immune system registers this as foreign, possibly toxic matter and may respond with an allergic reaction.
When synthetic ingredients are ingested, the body spends a great deal of its vital energy to eliminate them from the body. This can be very stressful to the immune system and depletes our vital energy. The liver takes most of the brunt of processing and eliminating the foreign toxic ingredients. "…the liver serves as a blood filter and cleanser…it helps to reduce the work of the immune system, and when it becomes overloaded and unable to function as it should, your health will suffer. A poorly performing liver will have a ripple effect on the immune system, increasing the likelihood of allergies, sinus problems, asthma, auto-immune diseases, and recurrent infections."
That is why it is critical to scrutinize every ingredient in the foods you eat, the products you put on your skin and hair, the household cleaning products and air fresheners you use. If you want natural products you need to be willing to search them out…read labels and not settle for half-natural skin and hair care products. Ideally natural skin care products are made with whole plant ingredients. So don't forget to apply your fruits and veggies too!