Sadly choosing natural products is not as easy as it should be - but here is why it is worth the effort.
I think its fair to say that most people are aware of the foods that they are eating and its now common place that we try to choose foods that aren't packed full of chemicals and toxins. However, it would appear that many of us don't feel the same when it comes to the 'stuff' we slather on our bodies.
60% of anything that you put on your skin will be absorbed, and (scary fact) it has been estimated that some of the chemicals that are found in the toiletries that you use everyday can reach your organs in less than 30 seconds ! Now I urge you to think about the number of products that you use on a daily basis ... and, please don't tell me you aren't a product person because I'm pretty sure you shower and wash your hair and clean your teeth and wear deodorant - you get the idea ! Studies have found that the average British woman absorbs 2kg of cosmetic ingredients every single year.
Talking scary stats... a woman's daily routine will put her into contact with between 168 and 515 chemicals on a daily basis! The thought of that is just terrifying. I think reality of what we are doing is finally sinking in and we are starting to change which brands we are using. We are looking for healthier options, we want natural and organic products and I for one won't accept products that are packed full of carcinogenic ingredients.
The issue we have now is one of trust, and this is because the beauty industry has long since made its money from pedalling false promises, and the increased demand for 'cleaner' products has led to widespread greenwashing by the companies that are competing for our business.
So What's In Our Beauty Products?
Did you know that most (not all) moisturisers available, including ones that you think of as natural, contain an ingredient called mineral oil (or petrolatum). Yes, it may sound like its packed full of goodness, but actually its a byproduct of the petroleum industry. When used it acts like slathering a layer of cling film over your skin which stops your skin being able to work properly - it actually suffocates it. Also, these byproducts may trap chemicals and sweat under its waterproof barrier and degrade the skins natural defences.
Then there are parabens. These are synthetically produced preservatives that are used in many toiletries. In the EU 18 different parabens are currently permitted in our cosmetics. The most common ones used are: ethyl-paraben, methyl-paraben, butyl-paraben and propyl paraben .... have a look on some of your cosmetic labels and see if they are there.
In 2004. Dabre et al undertook some research and discovered that concentrations of parabens were found in the breast tumours that they examined. Based on this and other research, Breast Cancer UK supports that parabens should be phased out of use in any products that are to be used directly on our skin or in our food.
And then there are nitrosamines. In 1998 the Department for Trade and Industry said that "it had been demonstrated that nitrosamines and carcinogenic in more animal species than any other category of chemical carcinogen." Yet they are commonly used in many cosmetics. The worst thing about this is that you will have no idea that they are there as they don't have to be listed on the ingredients label as they are only considered as an impurity.
Looking to Go Natural, Then Start By Avoiding these Ingredients
Consumer in Charge
The great thing is as the customer you can choose which products you wish to buy and which you'd rather not. However, we aren't able to make informed decisions if we aren't given all the information at the point of sale. Hopefully things will improve in the future - but for now I urge you to label watch and make the best choices you can with the information you have.
Find Out More:
Watch STINK! - this is the movie that the chemical industry really doesn't want to you to see. www.stinkmovie.com
Check out Arbonne ... www.arbonne.com - for fantastic products that are botanically based and without the nasties!
What are your thoughts on this ?