title may be over the top: you won't die when you
put your lip gloss on, brush your teeth or wash
Sadly though, there are ingredients in many cosmetics
that are harmful to our health.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate for example, which is added
to shampoos is used in car washes, garage floor
cleaners and engine degreasers.
Its foaming qualities mean that it is present in
90% of products such as shampoos, toothpastes and
body washes. It is a very harsh detergent, which
can irritate the skin, leading to skin rashes, flaking,
hair loss and mouth ulceration.
Whereas we would never dream of eating these chemicals,
we don't give cosmetics more than a second thought.
Particularly as anything that is put onto the skin
is also partly absorbed and finds its way into the
Once there the body has to deal with these synthetic
Many beauty products also contain paraffin, which
is a petroleum by-product, a mineral oil that coats
the skin like plastic.
Baby oil is at least 93% mineral oil. It clogs the
pores and interferes with the skin's ability to
To 'lock in moisture' is not necessarily what our
babies need because, like the kidneys, the skin
is an important organ of elimination.
To stay healthy we need to eliminate toxins and
Mineral oils, which slow down skin function and
cell development can lead to premature ageing, acne
and other skin disorders.
In 1987 mineral oil was recognised as carcinogenic
but unlike plant oils it is extremely cheap. Other
cosmetics contain Lanolin, a natural oily substance
in sheep wool, which keeps sheep dry.
Unfortunately, the majority of lanolin found in
cosmetics is contaminated by sheep dip material,
i.e. organo-phosphate pesticides and insecticides.
Many forms of makeup contain the preservative butylhydroxyanisole
(BHA) because it absorbs easily into the skin.
However, the US National Toxicology Program labelled
it a carcinogen.
Cosmetics commonly contain moisturisers in the form
of wetting agents (propylene glycol) and humectants
Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze
and break fluid. It increases the skin's permeability
thus allowing some of the toxic compounds to be
absorbed into the body.
Liquid foundations often contain a variety of Parabens
(methyl-, propyl- or butylparaben). They inhibit
microbial growth and extend product shelf lives.
They are not only highly toxic but also oestrogen-mimics.
The most dangerous cosmetics are the ones, which
have a pearly, glittery or frosted effect.
Pure aluminium is used to achieve this effect. Aluminium
is also used in creams, lotions and deodorants.
How do we know which ingredients are safe and which
aren't? The names of most ingredients are confusing
and we assume that the safety controls are carried
out, but in fact make up manufacturers do not need
to demonstrate that their products are safe.
The best advice is to choose products that contain
the fewest ingredients. Many products labelled 'natural'
are far from that.
Alternatively, products can be home made using simple
ingredients such as honey, rolled oat, fullers earth,
the list is endless.
For more information contact Luzia on 01258 456223,
or take part in a half-day course to learn how to
make your own cosmetics - where you know what the
ingredients are! click
here for more information.