When someone says the words “natural beauty”, what comes to your mind? The absence of wrinkles on a person’s face, blemish-free skin tone, a well groomed woman or a landscape of the world we live in? Unfortunately, the products that mainstream media push to achieve physical beauty cause blemishes in our environment. How does a person achieve “natural beauty” without harming the Earth?

First and foremost, drink water. Water is extremely important for our bodies and does wonders for our skin. It also doesn’t hurt the environment.

Second, protect your skin from sun damage by staying out of the sun during peak UV ray hours, wearing sun hats, using an umbrella and applying safe sunscreen. When shopping for sunscreen, be sure to check the ingredient label. The two most important ingredients to avoid are oxybenzone and octinoxate, which disrupt hormones and generate cell damaging free radicals. You also want a non-nanoparticle zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Nanoparticles are tiny particles which are known to cross the cell barrier and get into organs—even the brain.

By choosing safer sunscreen for yourself, you are also saving our coral reefs because octinoxate and oxybenzone increase bleaching of coral, thus killing it. Some states have already placed a ban on those toxic sunscreens in order to help the local coral reefs.

Finally, pay attention to what ingredients are in your personal care products. Keep in mind that those products get flushed down the drain and can go into our environment. Hair care products should be watched for harmful ingredients—especially sulfates, which are used to create suds or foam. These can cause skin rashes, may be contaminated by carcinogens and have been known to harm eyes. Not only does this ingredient affect human health, but it is toxic to our aquatic life as well. This ingredient can be derived by petroleum based products or palm oil, both of which are not environmentally friendly.

When shopping for products to aid in beautiful skin, look for these helpful ingredients.

 Aloe Vera– a natural moisturizer, gives oxygen to skin cells, increases strength and synthesis of skin tissue, helpful in removing dead skin cells, shields skin from dangerous toxins, helps cuts/bruises/burns heal faster

Rose Hip Seed Oil– aids in tissue regeneration and skin elasticity, fades sun-damaged areas of the skin

Apricot Kernel Oil– aides in skin rejuvenations, soothes and reconditions skin

Geranium Oil– helps eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots by improving blood circulation just below the surface of the skin

Pomegranate Seed Oil– aids in regeneration of cells damaged by UV light and stimulates collagen for a flawless look to skin

Sunflower Seed Oil– aids in the prevention of damage caused by UV rays and neutralizes free radicals

Calendula– has potent wound healing properties, including sunburns

Hibiscus – aids in reducing wrinkles, firms and tones the skin

Vitamin C– increases and regulates the production of collagen, protects skin from free radicals

Vitamin A– (retinyl palmitate) stimulates collagen and elastic fibers

Cucumber– great for detoxifying the skin, retaining moisture, preventing aging and deep cleansing pores

It is important to keep in mind that what is harmful to a person is most likely also harmful to the Earth. Let’s do what we can to help maintain the natural beauty of our Earth by finding safer products to help give us the “look” we desire for ourselves.

Jennifer Pacelli is a Wildlife Biologist and partner with Pure Haven. She hosts a “Women Living Toxin Free” workshop in Watertown on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm. Connect at 203-809-2078 or Facebook.com/nontoxiclivingwithjen.