Over the last few years, "clean beauty" and taking care of your skin has really transformed the way we look at skin care and our overall well being. Below I discuss why its so important to know where your skin care is coming from and how it can affect our bodies.
We hear the terms "clean beauty", "natural", "pure", "organic", "synthetic free", "paraben free" and the list goes on! But what does all of that really mean? And how does all of this play a role in our overall health and bodies, especially as women?
What we put into our body matters. As women, our hormones and health can fluctuate simply by what we use on our skin. Crazy right?
As Modern Women we have so much information available to us in order to research what skin care products really benefit our skin. The truth is, there are A LOT of brands (in fact, most brands) that will say they are all natural, organic, blah, blah, blah... but how do you really know if these brands are being honest? The sad thing is that the cosmetics and beauty industry as a whole has very few regulations when it comes to packaging and labeling, so they can pretty much say whatever they want and get away with it, so it's up to us to determine the truth.
Getting The Nitty Gritty So how do you know if a company is actually using non-toxic ingredients? In comes my FAVORITE resource when it comes to looking up ingredients... the EWG Skin Deep Database. This is an incredible resource if you are wanting to know what certain ingredients are, what they do, where they're derived from. They are also rated on a scale from 1 through 5 to show toxicity levels, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.
For example, phenoxyethanol is often listed in the majority of "clean beauty" product ingredient lists and I started noticing it in literally EVERYTHING when I was looking for a non-toxic hyaluronic acid serum. When I looked phenoxyethanol up on EWG Skin Deep, it said that it is used as a preservative and rates on a scale between 2-4 for toxicity (I typically don't use anything unless it rates as a 1). This is how they broke it down: Use restrictions (moderate), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (moderate), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) (high), and Occupational hazards (high). So why the heck would I want to use a product that contains even the smallest amount of this ingredient in it on my skin???
Ingredients and Women's Hormones
We often hear things like "60% of what you put on your body is absorbed into your bloodstream" and while I haven't found any specific research stating that exact amount, our skin definitely has the ability to let things in that can do some harm over time and that's why it's so important to use products that have your health in mind! Our skin is supposed to be an impenetrable barrier, and while it does a pretty incredible job, it doesn't keep everything we want to out.
Fragrances themselves have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they can impact hormones. Oh, and did you know that if fragrance or parfum is listed in the ingredients that the company legally does not have to disclose what's included in that fragrance? Yup, so it could have 150 ingredients in that fragrance and you'd never even know what those ingredients are! If I see fragrance listed at the end of an ingredient list, I tend to stay far far away.
Fragrances and other ingredients can also contain phthalates, these have been shown to directly impact female fertility. So what are phthalates? They are used as plasticizers to help plastic become more flexible. When I learned this I said to myself, "...and why would they need to put that in our skin care?" and I'm still wondering this! Phthalates themselves have been shown to end up airborne, so even if they aren't being absorbed through the skin, they can be inhaled straight into our lungs, yuck!
"Our results support the hypothesis that phthalates are widespread in the environment and may well have an adverse effect on female fertility, particularly when tested in the model of IVF," says study author Irene Souter, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It would therefore be preferable to minimize exposure—if at all possible. However, it is extremely difficult to do so since they are found in so many products."
Be Your Own Advocate and Do Your Research
When looking for a skin care product, look at the ingredient list, reviews on the product, what the company stands for and where they source their ingredients, you can also email the company directly if you have specific questions. Use resources like Google and EWG Skin Deep to dig deeper into what you're putting onto your skin and potentially into your body! Your health matters and your skin deserves to be treated with love & respect, just like you!
I hope this gives you a little more insight into skin care as a whole.
Take care, xo
The Holistica Hive
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