I’m a girly girl. I like eyeshadow, eye liner, tons of mascara with lash enhancer underneath, lip liner, lipstick and absolutely concealer. I get my hair colored and I wear nail polish on my toes. Recently, I started to learn about the toxins that are in most makeups, shampoo, hair color, nail polish and almost every beauty product manufactured.
When you slather on that luscious lotion that is loaded with things that you cannot pronounce, did you know that your skin which is an organ swallows it up and those chemicals are absorbed directly into our bodies and blood stream and stored in our fat tissues. Our skin absorbs up to 60 percent of what we put on it. The average woman exposes herself to 515 toxins via cosmetics each day. Even if a chemical isn’t so harmful that it affects us right away, some bioaccumulate in the body, therefore taking their toll over time. When you’re dealing with chemicals that are carcinogenic, interfere with hormones (endocrine disruptors), or are even toxic to your nervous system, the goal is to minimize exposure as much as possible.
About seven years ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found lead in over half of the 33 brands of lipstick they tested. A more recent study by the FDA tested popular brands and found 400 that contained up to 7.19 ppm of lead. One in three lipsticks tested has a toxic amount of lead. I don’t know about you, but when I put on lipstick I eat it off within the hour. There is a lot of debate on “how much lipstick a woman eats” during her lifetime but for me I’d rather not have lead on my lips in the first place.
A 2013 study finds cadmium, aluminum, and other heavy metals, in lipstick too.
The use of lead, aluminum, and other toxic substances is common in most cosmetics and lotions. These types of substances can lead to very bad diseases. Most people never even consider reading the ingredients lists on their cosmetics products. The long list of chemicals that can be found inside modern cosmetics seems endless, and it is perfectly legal for companies to avoid listing some ingredients, under the guise of “trade secrets”. The FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics. You can read on their website: “Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.”
Estrogenic compounds are synthetic chemicals that are now rampant in plastic materials, cosmetics, cleaning supplies and other products we use on a day-to-day basis. The problem is these chemicals, aptly called “obesogens,” have the potential to make us sick and fat. And since these environmental toxins are almost impossible to avoid completely, they may be wreaking havoc on your body without you even realizing it.
These compounds are nasty. They stimulate hormones that can increase appetite and reduce metabolism, a dangerous one-two punch when it comes to weight gain. Moreover, these chemicals can also increase the number and size of fat cells. In other words, they can predispose you to weight gain and present a serious barrier when it comes to weight loss.
So even if you’re doing all the right things for your health, exposure to environmental toxins, as well as hormones in our food supply, can damage the body’s inherent weight-control and disease control mechanisms. Like a computer that’s been corrupted, it may still function, but its ability to function optimally has been compromised.
Even more significant, these chemicals are related to an increased risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to a variety of serious illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
A wonderful database called EWG’s Skin Deep can be used to look up many of the product that are currently on the market to determine their toxicity level.
After finding out about EWG’s database I looked up my most commonly used cosmetics, many of them expensive name brands. Not only were most of them more than 6 months old, (which is time to toss), many of them were listed as more hazardous than I would want to mess with. Cosmetics are expensive and this was a hard thing to do, but after researching more organic sources I now feel like, at least in this one area, I am making healthier choices. The good thing is that there are now, if you look for them, more organic or less toxic choices in the marketplace. You may also get adventurous and start to make some of your own!
Hopefully in this instance, an ounce of prevention will make a pound of cure. Here are a couple of the sources that I currently use:
Credits: SaraGottfried.MD, EWG’s Skin Deep, Mother Jones
Written by: Gina Palermo MacFarland