‘It’s what’s inside that counts.’ This commonly used mantra may be true on so many levels, but when it comes to the human body, we often overlook the physical wonder that is our skin. It literally holds us together, providing a protective layer that keeps our organs safe. It’s alive – breathing, feeling, expelling, sensing and absorbing. By constantly interacting with the environment around us, it’s our first line of defense against sun, pollution, wind, stress and germs. And let’s face it, being the largest organ of the body, it does provide a pretty good canvas for painting a picture of what’s going on inside the body also. Late nights, trashy food, stress…in time, the skin reveals all!
We’re bombarded with chemicals everywhere in our daily environments and without healthy skin, we’re vulnerable to the effects of everything we encounter. The skin doesn’t discriminate against substances we put on our body either. It will absorb synthetics chemicals just as readily as it will absorb natural substances. It makes sense then, knowing that chemicals we place on our skin are only going to end up in the blood stream, that we try to minimize them. So what should we look out for (or more importantly avoid) in a skin care range?
Well, there are actually very loose guidelines for skin care manufacturers about labeling their products with the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of brands are marketing their products as such, but when you have a look at the ingredients, it is often a chemical concoction with the addition of a few ‘natural’ extracts in very small quantities. Genuine natural skin care products contain only ingredients from plants and nature and are minimally processed.
Organic skin care products take natural several steps further. They are made with non-GM ingredients that have been grown, raised, harvested, manufactured and preserved without chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or antibiotics – giving you products with fewer contaminants. As a basic guide, you want to avoid products where the ingredient label makes you feel like you need a chemistry degree to decipher the meaning! Here’s a look at some of the most commonly used chemicals in the skin care industry today…
- FD&C Color Pigments
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), & TEA (triethanolamine)
- Triclosan Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol
- Mineral Oil
- Artificial Fragrances
The bottom-line? These commonly used chemicals aren’t healthy for your skin or your body! Natural organic skin care products can nourish your skin rather than stripping it of essential oils and introducing irritations such as fragrances, preservatives, harsh detergents and unnecessary chemicals. What is necessary however, is being mindful to what we put onto our bodies, as ultimately, it will end up inside our bodies. And after all, what’s inside really does count.
Article by Renée Leonard-Stainton, Naturopath & Nutritionist
Renée Naturally – www.reneenaturally.com
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