Why is choosing carefully what you put on your skin as important as what you put in your stomach? Why is it so crucial for our children’s health to stay away from chemicals? Why is it a good idea to opt for organic cosmetics?Here’s a quick guide to help understand how it works with things related to our skin.
Why opt for organic cosmetics?
Why should we care about chemicals in our shampoo if we rinse it well? And about our face lotion, as we only apply a very small quantity, once a day? To these question we can reply with an other one : why would it be so different from eating meat loaded with hormones and antibiotics, apples full of pesticides and fertilisers?
How the skin absorbs chemicals
What’s key to understand and to remember is that the skin is the biggest organ of the human body, and it is extremely permeable. It only takes 26 seconds for what you apply on your skin to be absorbed into the bloodstream. That why birth control or stop smoking patches work.
The skin will consumes part if not all the ingredients that are present in soaps, lotions, deodorants, shampoos, etc. Actually, the average amount of chemicals that people feed their bodies with, using cosmetics and toiletries, is 5 kilograms per year. These chemicals represent a dangerous, toxic cocktail, that accumulates in the tissues and organs of your body.
The bad effects of chemicals on children’s health
These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, they weaken the immunity, they suck energy and vitality, they go to the brain. Have you noticed or read that girls are showing signs of puberty at younger and younger ages? Parabens, phthalates, triclosan have been identified as disruptors of the hormone system. They may be responsible for premature puberty as they copy the effect of estrogen and puberty.
A list of bad chemicals
Check for products without : Paraffin (petrolatum) – propylene glucol (PPG or PEG) – sodium laureth / lauryl sulfate (SLS) – parabens EDCS – parfum – phtalates. In priority for 1/ deodorants 2/ shampoos and conditioners 3/ hydrating cremes 4/ toothpaste (no fluoride). Then of course shaving creme, sun protection, tampons and sanitary pads, etc.
How to chose good organic brands and products?
Like for food, go for small brands, ideally local, that you can find in reliable organic stores. I remember being shocked when I found out that a deodorant I bought at Whole Foods back in 2004 was loaded with parabens and other chemicals. I was very upset because I was assuming that paying more to shop at Whole Foods meant not having to look at labels. I was expecting the store to do that screening for me, and offering only “good products”. Keep the habit of checking labels at all times, especially since small labels that are totally safe when they launch see their composition change the day they are bought by large companies, with no warning on the packaging. That’s the case for brands such as Burt’s Bee (Clorox Co), Aveda (Estee Lauder), Aveena, Origins (Estee Lauder), Tom’s of Main (Colgate-Palmolive), The Body Shop (L’Oreal), etc.
Little extra on skin
It is a good idea to buy specific products for children as they don’t have the same sebum level as adults. Read more about skin here. This article is targeted to children.
I highly recommend this 18 minute video by Claire Snowden Darling of Balanced Wellness. It explains in more detail what each of the chemicals does to your body, and this in a clear and simple way.
Also published on Pirouette, an article about sunscreen, to read here.