Safe Skincare: Do You Know What You’re Putting on Your Body?
Sometimes we choose to remain ignorant. We hear something, read something or see something, but making a change feels too hard or too inconvenient. You know how there’s that thing you hear about that you kind of think you should pay attention to, but something inside you tells you to shrug it off? That it’s not really all that important? For many, this may occur with a food choice. Take Diet Coke; an example of something many people consume that can’t have anyone rallying for it’s health benefits, the way they might over other drinks or foodstuffs, which some claim are healthy, while others disagree…like eating whole grains, for example. We read how there could be link between artificial sugars and cancer, or how something in a can of soda can dissolve rust off your car’s bumper, yet we still drink it, thinking it’s not really all that bad. (I get it- I did the same during my college years! It was the 90s, and Diet Coke had no calories, it ‘gave you energy’ and it ‘filled up your belly’, making it a winning combo for anyone trying to keep lean… yikes!) But then, you really, really dive in and expose yourself to how toxic it truly is, and then you finally get it…and cut it out of your life, once and for all. For me, on a far worse level than the Diet Coke scenario, in which I was harming myself by drinking absolute garbage, it’s time to come clean about something else: my recommendations for what to use on our skin, because it affects others. “What do you recommend for skincare, Nell?”, is a question I have been asked many a time from blog readers, clients and at workshops, to which I always replied based on whichever line I may have been using at the time. For years, I’ve loved my deliciously-scented Neroli Serum, from a line of “Aromatherapy and phytotherapy natural skincare, beauty treatments and cosmetics based on essential oils and plant extracts manufactured in Paris”, the essential cleansing solution, developed by The International Dermal Institute and the top notch ‘Intense Eye Balm’, which “guarantees visibly diminished wrinkles and makes skin appear firmer and more lifted eye cream”. If an aesthetician would recommend it, I’d give it a try. Often, I wouldn’t even look at the product label as if not doing so would keep me from recognizing that what it contained might be harmful and I’d somehow not think about the fact that I really didn’t know what I was putting on my body. Which is absolutely crazy and unacceptable, given that this is the antithesis of what I do, and what I teach, with regard to what we eat and drink! When I’d read the words aromatherapy, organic or natural, or buy a bottle of lotion from the mom and pop health food store, I’d feel certain that the product was safe to use, and didn’t even give anything in that category a second thought. Which is also completely nuts, given how much I don’t trust what the FDA calls safe in terms of eating. So there I was, using these things on my skin, telling others that I used them and even going as far as to recommend them! And then, just recently, I was literally stopped in my tracks. A very close friend of mine mentioned that she was going to a “Beautycounter Social”. To be completely honest, I think she mentioned it once or twice before but I thought nothing of it; I heard Beautycounter and thought she was going shopping for cosmetics at Barney’s, which sounded fun. Then she mentioned it again and I asked, what is Beautycounter? And then she told me all about it. She shared a link to a video in which the founder of the company explains the mission, “To get safer products into the hands of everyone” and it’s so far beyond what you could imagine that after you watch it, you’re not going to be able to use many of the products you use now. Think ‘Food Inc.’ for skincare and makeup. Yes, it will, pardon my French, scare the c*$p out of you. Why? Here are some facts that will help paint the picture:
- Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including, but not limited to asthma, learning disabilities, cancer and infertility) are on the rise, and due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.
- There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.
- Only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products have safety data.
- What’s worse is the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful (lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates) in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids every single day, day after day. (Anyone surprised here, given what they approve in terms of ‘food’?) Oh, and by the way, this applies to skincare, sunscreen and shampoo we’re putting on our children!
- The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938; in contrast, The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients, the US has only banned 11 to date.
- Beautycounter has banned more than 1,500 ingredients, setting a new health and safety standard.
I didn’t know what to do next other than decide not to make any more purchases of what I’d been using for so long. I asked my friend about it and she explained how I could get involved. At a bare minimum I knew I needed to help get the word about about how we’re literally poisoning ourselves…not to mention our kids! The most important first step was to test out the products, and learn about the line. Five weeks later, I’m hooked; they’re safe, they’re clean and they perform. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to go with skincare that’s been exhaustively tested, and continues to be on the cutting edge of safe products that perform, rather than a product that’s slipped through any kind of safety testing nearly 80 years ago! I had to share this; not doing so would be the equivalent of doing what I realized I was doing up until now: choosing to remain ignorant about what I was putting on my body. If you’re on my site, my social media or reading my blog, you clearly place some importance on what you’re putting in your body. What makes more sense than to compliment it with what you’re putting on it? Learn more here and share this with everyone you know; men, women and children alike all need to be aware of what they’re exposing themselves to on a daily basis in order to make educated decisions. We can’t chose to remain blind to this after we know too much!