Many years ago, we were less likely to question if lead in paint or asbestos in products were safe. Yet, years later, many are suffering from various diseases resulting from past exposure to products that society assumed were safe.
We all risk being dangerously exposed to ingredients that have raised eyebrows within various scientific studies. Hopefully, reading more about the ingredients will inspire you to make more informed and intelligent choices when it come to products that you use on your body.Toxic chemicals are everywhere, from chemicals in cleaning products to toxic sunscreens and harmful skin care, the air we breathe, water and foods.
When was the last time you read the label on the back of a product that you put on your skin? Did you ever question what the ingredients were, or if they were safe for your body? Could you even read the label—or did you not bother—since the print was so small that you needed a magnifying glass? More than likely, you couldn’t even pronounce the ingredients when you were reading them.
Maybe you really were concerned with finding a safe, healthy product, so you bought something with “natural and organic” ingredients advertised on the front label and
assumed the product was safe. Did you read and fully understand the label on the back? It’s important to learn why you need to make a conscious effort to not assume a product is safe or good for you because you were seduced by deceptive advertising that marketers may use.
We use various products on our skin every day—from deodorant, to moisturizer, soap, perfume, aftershave and sunscreen. Before a typical person has had their breakfast in the morning, they often expose themselves to over 200 various chemicals from the products they use on their bodies.
We tend to think that products we put on the surface of our skin stay on the exterior of our body. The skin that protects us also absorbs what we put on our body. Therefore, our body can be nourished through the skin with healthy ingredients or harmed by exposure to damaging chemical ingredients. We would never think of taking these questionable ingredients orally; by putting them on our skin, we are taking them in nevertheless.
Our skin is the largest organ in the human body. This organ that protects us is permeable and absorbs many substances that it comes in contact with. Like a trojan horse, chemicals invade the body secretly every time we expose our skin to products that have harmful chemicals. There is rising concern that many of the chemicals that are contained in skin care products are linked to health concerns such as hormonal imbalances, genetic mutations, birth defects, neurological disorders, immune system diseases, cardiovascular diseases, prostate and breast cancers and childhood health problems.
It is known that products and drugs applied to the skin can be absorbed directly into the body. The process is called transdermal absorption. This process is driven through diffusion from higher concentration of the drug in “the patch” and the zero concentration prevailing in the skin—commonly known as osmosis.
Exposure of these chemicals can come from various sources. Some may come from air pollution or pesticides in the fruits and vegetables that you eat. Others can originate from certain meats or fish or from constant absorption into the body via transdermal absorption. This collective absorption of carcinogens is stored in fat cells in the body.
There has been research in the field of environmental oncology that suggests chemicals in our daily environment may significantly contribute to our risk of breast cancer, says Gena Carter, M.D., an American Cancer Society spokesperson and a diagnostic radiologist who specializes in breast imaging. This research confirms chemical compounds (xeno-estrogens)—however they enter the body—act like estrogen when they enter the bloodstream, which may further increase our risk. Most skin creams and beauty products contain parabens in the form of propyl, methyl and butyl.
Parabens are known to be xeno-estrogens, yet your body recognizes it as estrogen. They have been investigated by the European Union as a contributor to breast cancer. The European Union bans over 1,300 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects, according to a 2013 SafeCosmetics.org report. In comparison, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) does not authorize the FDA to approve cosmetic ingredients, with the exception of the color additives. There is limited regulation on the ingredients compared to the European Union. The FDA only regulates the claims that the product advertises.
Although some research concerning these dangerous chemicals indicate that small doses are harmless, other recent research indicated that chemicals build up in our bodies over time and can react with other dangerous chemicals accumulated over time. A small dose of certain dangerous chemicals years ago can become a big dose if your exposure is continuous. It’s the collective long-term exposure that may set the stage for cancer and other illnesses.
It is important to use discretion in what you expose your body to and make decisions based on your own knowledge.