‘Free from parabens, petrochemicals, SLS and animal products’
What does this mean and why do we care?
It’s a question most of us don’t even think about. We purchase our body and beauty creams without any pause. Our favourite creams with our favourite smells that moisturize, tantalize and seduce our senses. Delicious names like Body Butter, Anti-Aging, Skin Revitalizer, Hawaii Coconut, Strawberry-Vanilla and Bali-Mango Cream, entice us to buy and spread this deliciousness all over our skin, the largest organ of our body. And why wouldn’t we? If the FDA and other governmental agencies have approved the ingredients in these products, and they are sitting right in front of us on the shelves, shouldn’t we trust that they know what they are doing? Surely they have been through stringent testing and found to be safe? Especially when the brands say ‘natural’ herbal extracts?
Well quite possibly not. Should we just trust everything that is available for us to purchase these days, without arming ourselves with conscious knowledge on the ingredients lurking beneath the attractive packaging? It’s a whole other topic as to why the FDA approves additives that are proven to cause diseases. But they do, and we are living in a world where the only real control we have is over ourselves, and the choices we make. So I urge you to get to know your favourite brands inside and out. Check the labels to see if they have ingredients in them like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Petrochemicals, Cocoamide, Methylparaben or Propylparaben.
According to numerous studies, there are more than 800 chemicals commonly used in commercial skin care products, 44 of which are potentially harmful. The body lotions, hand creams and moisturizers that you are using to soften your skin may actually cause the dry, cracked, scaly skin that you have. Those same chemicals, when applied are absorbed through the skin and into your body. Once in the body, the chemicals have to be processed by your liver.
Let’s look at a typical ingredient list on a jar of common hand cream for example:
Water, – Stearic Acid, – Sorbitol, – Glycerin, – C-12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, – Sodium Borate – TEA, – Cetyl Alcohol, – Dimethicone, – Aloe Vera, – Phenoxyethanol, – Propylene Glycol, – Quince Extract, – Tocopheryl Acetate, – Cocoamide, Lauramide, Potassium Sorbate, – EDTA, – Allantoin, – Methyl Paraben, – Propyl Paraben, – Butyl Paraben, – Menthol
Now let’s break down some of these ingredients from various studies and research:
Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate:
Is actually car wash soap, an engine degreaser, garage and concrete floor cleaner. When used in beauty and hair products it is known to surround hair follicles in shampoo to keep it from growing, with the result that hair falls out. In Toothpaste it is known to possibly weaken enamel on teeth and cause cavities: SLS is very abrasive and may burn the skin, mouth or scalp. The journal of the American College of Toxicology reports that (SLS) is easily absorbed into your skin and builds up in your heart, liver, lungs, and brain… even if you wash it right off after using it!
Cocoamide, Lauramide DEA (diethanolamine):
Is readily absorbed through the skin, is a potentially cancer causing ingredient found in many mainstream cosmetics and toiletries. Reacts with nitrates in cosmetics to form another potential carcinogen/DEA. Your blood cells immediately take it through your skin to the body’s organs, particularly the liver, kidneys and heart.
Almost all skin care products contain synthetic substances – petroleum (chemical) based. Studies have found that oral and topical application of petrochemicals in rodents resulted in anemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. Even more disturbing was that several animals died before the study ended.
Also known as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IIsoparaben, Butylparaben. Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. They have been linked to possible carcinogenicity, as well as an estrogenic effect from being exposed to the continued use of parabens as preservatives. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their report “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?” reported that the parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. It is a known medical fact that estrogen stimulates breast cancer and anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.
These chemicals can be found in face and body moisturizers, body wash, and cleansers.
So, with this slightly alarming knowledge, how do we ensure that we are living a healthy life through our beauty regimen? It’s really all about educating ourselves, and, the good news is, there are some wonderful, natural products on the market that don’t contain any of these chemicals and can be found in health shops, some super-markets and through spas. But if you really want to go the ‘natural’ route, here are some recipes that you can make yourself at home. Home beauty is fun, creative and you will feel oh-so-fabulously natural.
Cocoa Butter Body Lotion
- 1/4 cup grated cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 11 tablespoons grated beeswax
Combine all ingredients then melt in a glass container in the microwave. Stir well, and continue stirring until the mixture cools. Allow to cool completely, then stir a little more. Spoon into small glass jars with lids.
- 1 cup Grape Seed Oil
- ¼ cup Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp. Lanolin
- ½ oz. grated Beeswax
- 2/3 cup Distilled Water
- ½ cup. Aloe Vera Gel or Juice
- Vitamin E at least 10,000 IU
- Vitamin A at least 150,000 IU
- 2 drops Essential Oil of your choice
- Clean Cream or Lotion Jars
Mix the grape seed oil, coconut oil, lanolin and beeswax and put them in the top pan of a double boiler. Apply low heat to the boiler and heat the mixture until the mixture has melted. Once melted, take it out from the pan and pour it in a glass-measuring cup. Allow it to cool until it reaches room temperature. Put the distilled water, aloe vera, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and essential oil in a mixer. Make sure that you blend them at the highest speed. While you blend them, drip the above made oil mixture into the mixer. The lotion would start getting thicker and the mixer would get slow in speed. Turn off the mixer when you reach this stage. The face cream is ready! Pour the cream in glass lotion jars and store them in a cool place or the refrigerator.
Beeswax Mango Butter Hand Cream Recipe
- 4 Tbs. Beeswax
- 2 Tbs. Mango butter
- 8 Tbs. Coconut oil
- 10 drops carrotseed essential oil
Melt together wax and butter. Add oil. Then add essential oils. Mix completely until smooth. Pour into jar. Let harden. Mango butter also reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores elasticity.