It always amuses and confuses me how as a society we are totally obsessed with delaying the aging process to the point of investing mucho 💰 💵 into our face creams and anti aging products YET a quick google search will actually tell you quickly and easily that most of the chemicals in your skincare or “anti aging” product will not only age your skin dramatically but can also put your entire health at risk.
The cosmetic industry is one of the least regulated industries and using commercial formulations leads us to absorb all these chemicals through our most porous and delicate organ, our skin. Most skin and body products (even some “natural” ones, hello greenwashing 😬) contain a tiny amount of goodness and a whole lot of chemicals 🙈.
Let’s start with a few nasties we find in almost everything:
Alcohol disrupts the skin renewal process and actually breaks the skin down whilst leaving the skin dehydrated, dry, gray, and flaky which, surprise surprise, makes you want to apply more of your cream!! Smart, right! Bad alcohols are also written as denatured alcohol, methanol, and ethanol. These should be kept far away from the face and eyes.
Where to start! These chemicals are the preservatives that keep your skin creams “fresh” and long-lasting. However, there are two things to know about parabens:
- They can increase the cellular damage to your skin when exposed to UV light, which means they help magnify the damage done to our skin by over exposure to the sun. Not to mention this can lead to skin cancer! But parabens can be found in sunscreens!! 😱
- Research has shown that parabens cause an increase in a fake estrogen (estrogen is the female sex hormone) this can interfere with both reproductive and brain function. To make matters worse, this “bad” estrogen causes excessive cell division in the breast while the natural estrogen made by our bodies does not. This eventually can lead to breast cancer 😔 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️
NB Parabens are not written as “Parabens” on labels but are attached at the end of the word e.g. butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben
Now this is a big one!! Find me one product that doesn’t contain “Fragrance.” Fragrances are made with synthetic chemicals that have been linked to respiratory disorders, skin allergies, dermatitis, and VERY worryingly to reproductive disorders. As if this is not bad enough, the truth is, when the word “fragrance” is allowed to be used, anything can be hidden in it! Companies are not legally required to reveal what’s actually in their “fragrance” and so they can hide all kinds of nasties in there without you knowing it!
4. Mineral oils
These help make products feel silky and smooth, but only in the short term. Mineral oils can actually damage the skin. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum and does not absorb into the skin. Instead, it suffocates the skin and clogs pores, and can lead to discoloration of the skin.
And last but not least.......
Polyethylene glycol or PEGs are thickening agents that make your creams feel smooth and creamy BUT underneath it strips off the natural oils of our skin (sebum) which then triggers our sebaceous glands to make more sebum🤷🏻♀️making the skin greasy and congested. PEGs are also often followed by a number, for example PEG-6, PEG-8, PEG-100 and have been linked to cancer and respiratory disorders.
The sheer number and frequency of products we use daily means that these nasties can build up in our systems, requiring our bodies to constantly be fighting off the effects. Switching to clean products can not only prevent the premature aging of our skin but also our general health, including our lungs, immune system, reproductive system and prevents the development of cancer.