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LGLWSM Newsletter 034 - Beauty Product Ingredients – Its Important to Pay Attention!
April 30, 2010

There is a huge market for both old and new beauty products that each of us must deal with on a day to day basis. Knowing your beauty products ingredients can help you uncover which products to try and which ones to leave on the shelf.

So, what do you know about the products you decide to buy? Fragrance is often the biggest draw! How many times have you smelled a product before you bought it? Or better still, how many times have you bought a product just because it smelled good?

The problem is that how something smells has absolutely nothing to do with how well the product actually works. The scent is a major marketing ploy and one that works very well. Most scents are artificial and many people can develop allergies to them.

One thing you need to be able to do is read your labels. In order to judge a product’s effectiveness, you should understand how the ingredient labeling process works and what the ingredients mean for you.

Ingredients are listed in the order of volume, largest to smallest, in the formula for the product. The first ingredient is always the largest percentage of the product. In many products the first ingredient is water. If you read your shampoo label and see that water is the first ingredient, you know that the shampoo is more water than anything else. If the product also advertises having Vitamin E and it’s the last ingredient, you know that there is a very small amount of Vitamin E in the product. This process of listing ingredients is common to all of your beauty care products.

Aside from understanding how the listing works in reference to the amount of each ingredient, to be savvy you should know about certain ingredients. Remember, not all ingredients are actually good for your skin, even though the product has been marketed for your skin. That’s why paying attention is always a good idea! Your skin drinks up and absorbs some amounts of the ingredients of the products you put on it. Knowing how your skin operates is also essential.

Your skin is an organ. Its part of the integumentary system in your body, which includes your hair and nails. The integumentary system has a variety of functions; it may serve to waterproof, cushion and protect deeper tissues, excrete wastes, regulate temperature, and is the attachment site for sensory receptors to detect pain, sensation, pressure and temperature. It also provides vitamin D synthesis.

Your skin also consists of three layers. The inner most layer is the subcutaneous tissue. The tissue in the subcutaneous layer contains fat cells, which insulate your body and plump your skin. The middle layer is the dermis. The dermis contains connective tissues that hold everything in place. The outermost layer of skin is called the epidermis. The purpose of the epidermis is to protect the inner skin from environmental contaminants. Cells in the epidermis continuously travel from the inner most part of the epidermis to the surface, flaking off once they reach the top.

Your skin is also full of pores. Pores try and absorb anything that’s applied to the surface and utilize it in your body. If you’re using products that contain chemicals, your body senses a toxin and can react negatively.

Medical research shows that significant amounts of cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and end up in the blood stream. Many chemicals in cosmetics don’t cause obvious signs of toxicity on the skin but slowly poison us thorough repeated use.

Of course, its all dependent on the size of the molecules in the product as to how far into the skin it is absorbed. Creams that are created to hydrate your skin (and are designed to be absorbed and penetrate skin easily) will be much easier to absorb than a slice of cucumber!

If possible, you should buy certified organic beauty products. These products do not carry hidden dangers from man-made chemicals. If it is not possible for you, you should take care to buy beauty care products that are free of certain ingredients. These ingredients include:

Mineral Oil: An ingredient that actually catches environmental debris and mixes with it. It can clog pores and cause blackheads, whiteheads, and irritation. Because mineral oil traps other particles, toxins can attach to your skin and cause premature aging.

Paraben/Wax: Should be used sparingly. It is almost impossible to avoid using a total skin care product that is completely paraben free, but you should know that it can clog your pores. As with mineral oil, excessive use of products that contain wax can results in blackheads and whiteheads. Unlike mineral oil, wax does not tend to attract environmental debris and trap it in your pores. Wax is often found in creams.

Lanolin: The biggest problem with lanolin is that it can be an allergen. If your skin breaks out in a rash from a product, this may be the reason.

Acetone: This toxic substance strips your skin of essential natural oils. Wrinkles result faster because it dries out your skin.

Alcohol: This can be listed as ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or SD alcohol 40. Like acetone, alcohol strips skin of natural oils. Used excessively, products that contain alcohol can cause dryness and wrinkles may appear sooner than they otherwise would.

Artificial coloring: Its often the base used to create artificial colors and can be toxic.

Petrolatum or other derivatives of petroleum: Your skin is not able to absorb these ingredients, and they act as attractants to environmental debris. Blackheads, irritation and white heads can occur with regular use of these products.

Phthalates: Most of the mainstream hair sprays, deodorants, nail polishes and perfumes that millions of people use every day contain these harmful chemicals. Shown to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive systems in animal studies, phthalates can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Scientists at government agencies in both the U.S. and Canada agree that exposure to the chemicals could cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in people.

Cosmetic companies have spent billions of dollars figuring out how to make products penetrate deeper to guarantee the results they claim. Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database was started by women that ended up with health problems connected to cosmetic ingredients. The information is compiled from studies gathered from all over the world.

Not one cosmetic product has to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration before hitting the market. The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just nine. The U.S. Congress voted to ban phthalates from toys, but they are still legal to use in personal care products.

Side Note: New nano technology being utilized by cosmetic companies should prove to any non believers that products do penetrate the skin. Nano technology alters molecules so that they penetrate deeper into the skin, sometimes into organs. If there are also chemicals in a product, it unfortunately also causes them to penetrate deeper too. This new technology would not have been invented if scientists and chemists did not believe in skin absorption.

"Everything we put in and on our bodies must be nutritious and safe", according to Horst Rechelbacher, founder and former owner of Aveda, founder and owner of Intelligent Nutrients.

Intelligent Nutrients has recently launched a line of hair care products and aromas (skin care is being launched soon) that is 100% certified organic by the USDA which means the ingredients are food grade. (This means that means they could be eaten, but that is not their purpose.)

Until Next Time!

Stay Sweet and Be Beautiful!


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