SECRET #2 ~ Your Skin: Barrier Or Sponge?

Barrier To Environmental Elements

Secret # 2
Your Skin: Barrier Or Sponge?

Our Skin
The Body’s Largest Organ

Your Prehistoric Side Rebels at Your Diet!

One misconception we have about our skin — our body’s largest organ — is the fundamental function it plays in our bodies. Many of us think of skin as a barrier. (I did, too, and for the longest time.)

Skin keeps environmental toxins from entering our body. It protects us in the winter from the effects of the cold. It guards us in the summer from the ravages of the sun’s UV rays. Clean Face

This is a misconception we need to correct. Your skin acts more like a sponge, soaking up everything it comes in contact with. If you put cosmetics on your skin that have less than healthy — even toxic — ingredients, guess what happens?

Absolutely! All the potentially toxic items soak directly into your skin and into your system. There must be a better way to make you look and feel better without putting your health on the line everyday!

But surely, you say, there are very few toxic ingredients being used in the market today. With all the government regulations, stringent quality standards, oversight committees, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you can feel comfortable knowing that your cosmetics regimen won’t harm you…. Can’t you?

What is Propylene Glycol? In a word: trouble. It’s another ingredient that is both ubiquitous and dangerous. More dangerous than you may guess. And just as with the sodium lauryl sulfate, there’s an irony to this chemical as well. Look at just about any skin care treatment at your local drug store or grocery store. You’ll see propylene glycol listed on a myriad of types of products: beauty creams, cleansers, makeup, and more!

It might give you a start to think that this same substance is also used in other industries as well. It’s an ingredient in anti-freeze, airplane de-icer, and brake fluid. Hmm.

Here’s the kicker. Every chemical comes with information that’s commonly called a Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS. And one of the cautions listed on this sheet for propylene glycol is simply: “Avoid skin contact.” Hmm. How can a small amount of this chemical possibly affect your health? You’ve probably been using this “small amount” of the chemical for most of your life. It was first added to many cosmetics more than 30 years ago!

This substance has been linked with not only contact dermatitis, but kidney damage and liver abnormalities in the latest research. Not only that, but propylene glycol has been linked to triggering seizures in epileptics and to cardio-respiratory arrest.

Propylene glycol is also associated with premature aging of the skin. Scientists estimate that for every decade you actually use this product, your skin is aging 13 years! The very products you’re depending on to help retain your youthful skin are causing it to age beyond its years.

Phthalates: Unpronounceable? Not quite, they’re pronounced as THAY-lates. (Yes, both the initial “P” and “h” are silent!) This is a group of synthetic chemicals used to stabilize fragrances. These chemicals are also said to make plastic more pliable.

This substance has been linked to kidney damage, problems with the liver, and problems with the lungs. The sad statistic is that approximately 5 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 40 carry more than 45 times more phthalates in their bodies than previous thought. This statistic comes directly from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Ureas: These are preservatives and there are a variety of them lurking in your skin care treatments. They come in the form of diazolidninyl urea and imidazolidinyl urea. These preservatives can potentially release formaldehyde in small amounts. Researchers cite ureas as the major cause of contact dermatitis.

But more than that, high concentrations can produce joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, and ear infections as well as chronic fatigue, dizziness, and sleep problems. Some health experts estimate that up to 20 percent of individuals exposed to ureas experience some type of allergic reaction.

Petrochemicals: These, as the name implies, are derivatives of crude oil. They can come labeled as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin. These petrochemicals basically suffocate your skin, not allowing it to breathe. The effect is the clogging of your pores.

MEA/DEA/TEA: These amines, or ammonia compounds, sound harmless in their abbreviated forms. But they’re nothing of the sort. Once in your body, they have the potential to create harmful nitrosamines. This occurs when they meet a nitrate. These ingredients are used as foaming agents and synthetic stabilizers. They are also used to adjust the pH level of many cosmetics.

So just how dangerous are they? They not only cause allergic reactions and eye irritation, but they can also dry out your hair and skin. I’m sure the irony isn’t lost on you. Products you buy to soften your skin only end up drying it out more!

Chemical sunscreens: When you read the label on your cosmetics, you’ll see these listed as oxybenzone and octylmethoxycinnamate. They’re known to disturb your body’s endocrine activity — the functioning of your hormones!

Quats: Yes, it is a strange name. The name would even be funny, if the substances weren’t so dangerous to your body! Examples of quats include benzalkonium choloride, steardimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and cetrimononium. Whew! These substances are definitely a mouthful. They are added to cosmetics to prevent static.

The chemical compounds can cause a spectrum of health problems, from skin and respiratory irritation to severe caustic burns on your skin and gastrointestinal lining.

Antibacterial compounds: These compounds include triclosan and chlorphenesin. There are two major problems with them. First, they don’t break down in the environment. And second, continued use of these are known to contribute to the growing resistance of bacteria to treatment with antibiotics.

Coal tar: Coal tar? Even the name sounds bad! Why in the world would they be in cosmetics. They’re needed in commercial cosmetics to help create synthetic colors. Coal tar contains heavy metal salts that can be deposited into your skin. The result can be skin sensitivity and irritation. Studies on animals show that they can be carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.

You probably won’t see the word coal tar on the label of your store-bought skin care product, but you’ll know, without a doubt, it’s included if you find “FD&C” or “D&C” followed by a color and a number on the label!

Yes, you’ll even find some of these ingredients in so-called natural products. So what are you supposed to do? Why not make your own skin care products. It’s much easier than you think.

Next: Secret #3 ~ What The Government Doesn’t Want You To Know
Previous: Secret #1 ~ Commercial Skin Care Products

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