Propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates (pronounced thigh-lates), sodium lauryl (SLS) or laureth (SLES) sulphates… These names do no easily roll off the tongue; however they do roll of the ingredients list on the back of our skin care, makeup and bath products (as well as our cleaning products).
These synthetic scientist made chemicals are cheap and have excellent stabilising properties. Which means when added to skin care, beauty and cleaning products they have the power to keep the products preserved for a great length of time. Majority of these chemicals came into play around the 1940’s, left over from the war. Once it was discovered what these chemicals could do they were added to mainstream products and used to stabilise and revolutionise the cosmetic and beauty industry. Now products such as soap, cold creams and lipsticks could be shipped out world wide, in hot or cold weather, and still be in ‘good’ condition upon arrival to a new and foreign land. This meant an increase in world wide sales and global occupation for cosmetic companies who soon became so large they now dominate cosmetic consumption.
Before the use of these chemicals skin care was rustic and pure, it was made in relatively small batches in a ‘supply on demand’, ‘made to order’ fashion. It was not made in exponentially vast quantities in a ‘consume more’ fashion and shipped world wide, sitting on supermarket shelves for long periods of time, as it is done today.
Aside from how the use of these and many many other chemicals, have revolutionised the cosmetic industry, their use has a number of down sides.
Numerous chemicals have hormone disrupting properties causing young girls who are exposed to the chemicals to reach puberty at a younger age. Hormones found in hair care products have strong hormone disrupting symptoms and has been found to cause young girls to develop breast buds… that disappear when they cease use of the product.
Studies of blood in adults and teens as well as blood of newborn baby’s shows that these chemicals are building up in our systems. Newborn babies are being found to have parabens and other fetal-developmental toxins in their blood streams, before they have ever been near any skin care product.
Cancerous tissues has been tested and found to contain parabens. It is not yet know if the parabens cause the cancer or if they are merely drawn to the cancerous tissue, however it does show parabens are definitely building up in our systems. Keep in mind, these chemicals are hazardous and are designed to kill (bacteria and the like).
One of the more sadder parts to this chemical warfare… the thousands of animals that have been tested on over the years so that scientists can try to determine at what ‘safe’ level these chemicals can be added to our skin care, beauty and cleaning products (cleaning products have higher levels of the chemicals).
People who clean a LOT and do not use gloves are developing dangerous levels of toxins in their bodies. More and more of the population are suffering from over-exposure to the constant chemical bombardment in our daily lives. It is no wonder that eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis are all on the rise, as is asthma.
All this seems a bit ‘doom and gloom’, but rest assured there are organisations and companies working towards cleaning up our skin care, beauty and cleaning products. One such organisation, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org) has set up a database where companies are ask to sign a pledge to eliminate the use of chemicals in their products. Companies on the database have their products listed with safety/hazard ratings so consumers can make informed choices about their skin care and it notes whether companies Do or Do Not conduct animal testing. See also Choose Cruelty Free to find companies that are accredited for No Animal Testing.
There ARE safe alternatives to synthetic preservatives and ingredients!
This is the driving force behind JOLI Natural Skin Care (www.jolinatural.com.au). To get ‘back to basics’ when it comes to skin care and being dedicated to making fresh ‘supply on demand’, ‘made to order’ quality skin care. A company which does NOT test on animals and is dedicated to not using ingredients that require animals testing. Who have signed the compact for safe cosmetics and currently have a safety rating of 0-4 (a very low hazard rating).
JOLI Natural was started by a mother of three boys, all of whom have had severe skin reactions when using mainstream products (in particular the products in the goodie bags handed out by hospitals during pregnancy for use when baby is born). Upon learning about chemicals in skin care JOLI Natural set about creating natural skin care for body, beauty, bath and baby that is safe, gentle and effective. Safe and gentle for use on newborn babies, as well as children and adults.
For further reading and for more information on chemicals in skin care the book Not Just a Pretty Face gives reference to action being taken and the types of things the public can do, such as contacting companies who use these chemicals and demanding they STOP! As well as moving away from companies who continue to use chemicals in their products and move TOWARDS companies who are dedicated to supplying YOU chemical free skin care.