Research has shown that the average adult uses around ten personal care products daily on their skin. Over time, the products that we use regularly and without a second thought (such as deodorants, toothpaste, body lotions, sunscreens, cosmetics and cleansers) can expose you to thousands of chemicals.
Unfortunately, the personal care product industry is unregulated and only a fraction of ingredients are ever tested for safety. Analysis carried out by the Environmental Working Group found that just 28 out of 7500 common cosmetics and toiletries had undergone testing for all of their ingredients! As you can imagine, reading the labels and learning about what is and isn’t healthy in personal care products is becoming increasingly important.
Parabens and sulfates are commonly used as preservatives and are designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms, particularly molds and yeasts. The use of these chemicals significantly increases the shelf life of a product – often to two years or more. For many centuries, prior to the mass production of skin care products, people in different cultures had their own recipes for homemade hygiene and personal care products that were safe and natural. These did not last for very long but it was often the freshness of the ingredients that made them effective.
Recent studies suggest a connection between cancer and the use of chemical preservatives with significant levels of parabens found in the breast tissue of human breast cancer patients. There is also evidence that testosterone secretion and the male reproductive system are adversely affected by parabens, which are considered endocrine disruptors.
Some of the potentially harmful parabens that you will often see in the ingredients list of personal care products include: methyparaben; ethylparaban; propylparaben and butylparaben. Methylparaben in particular is known to react with UVB radiation on the skin where it increases skin aging and damage.
Sulfates are another class of problematic chemicals in toiletries and are usually found in products such as shampoo, bubble bath, and soaps where foaming is desirable. Again, sulfates are among the most irritating ingredients in skin care products and have been known to cause conditions like dandruff, red irritated eyes and skin rashes and even breathing difficulties. You can often find some of the most harmful sulfates on the ingredients labels of your personal care products. Look out for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and other compounds such as Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Myreth Sulfate. Essentially, look out for the word Sulfate when reading the label.
At Laser and Skin Care Medspa our mission is to help you live a healthier life. We routinely review the products you use and can advise you as to whether or not these are going to perform as you expect or if you are best to eliminate them from your body care routine.
Dr. Bakken and her staff at Laser and Skin Care Medspa pay close attention to the products available in the clinic, focusing on product lines that offer you healthy skin care choices free of these problematic chemicals. We are proud to offer Jane Iredale Makeup Line, the ZO Skin care line and Alyria.
You are welcome to check out these product lines on the companies’ websites listed below or ask us about these or other skin care products by leaving a comment here or phoning us – all our staff are product-savvy!
For more information
“Dirty dozen”, Cosmetic Chemicals to avoid- www.davidsuzuki.org-search”dirtydozen”
Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database – www.ewg.org/skindeep