Beware of "Natural" Skin Care Products Containing Toxic Ingredients

By: Kathleen Williams

You work hard to be healthy. You eat a natural diet. You exercise regularly. You try to eat organic foods to avoid hormones and pesticides. You drink bottled water. But did you know that nasty toxins are getting into your body in ways you didnít think about?

Every time you take a shower, you breathe in more chlorine than in a glass of unfiltered water. Whenever you clean the house, your household cleaners may be putting VOCís (volatile organic compounds) in the air that can cause disease. Even if your moisturizers, shampoos, and make up seem harmless, you'll find a long list of chemical ingredients on the label, many of which could be hazardous to your health.

Though studies have shown that most people would rather use all natural body products, the skin care industryís response is to manufacture products that stretch the intent of labeling regulations. They may claim to be all-natural, but can still containing harmful chemicals and toxins. For example, sodium laureth sulfate can be made from coconuts, which sounds very natural. However, it combines with other ingredients in the product to create highly toxic chemicals!

Here's what you need to know about natural skin care to determine if the product you are using is really all natural and safe.

You have about 6 pounds of skin, giving your body a porous membrane to absorb oxygen, moisture, light and nutrients and excrete carbon dioxide and other toxins. Dirt and pollutants can enter the body even more through the skin than through food. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 884 chemicals used in personal care products and cosmetics are known to be toxic. A recent Canadian study in Pediatric Drugs found cosmetic and personal care products as the most common cause of unintentional poisonings of children under six. And recently, US Geological Survey scientists found a variety of chemicals from personal care products polluting US waterways.

If you are reading this, you probably prefer not to poison yourself and the environment with toxic chemicals and pollutants. But many products claim to be all-natural while still containing a number of harmful ingredients. Learn how to read and understand the product label to be sure that the product you're using is as natural as it claims to be.

Currently, many products claim they are using organic ingredients when in fact they aren't. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies cosmetics but doesnít regulate them. According to the FDA, ďA cosmetic manufacturer may use any ingredient or raw material and market the final product without government approval. Surprisingly, most personal care products are not even tested for safety. Though some of these ingredients may seem harmless, long-term chemical exposure causes toxins to accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body.

Marketing for cosmetics and personal care products is often based on exclusive, natural formulations with expensive vitamins, oils, and perfumes. But you canít even trust the most expensive formulas. Reading the label can work if you have a degree in chemistry, but if you donít, itís just a long list of mind-boggling chemical names.

This is where natural and organic skin care products can come in. If a product claims to be all natural, its ingredients should be easily recognizable as natural components.

Look for labels with easy-to-understand ingredients, not long chemical names, even if they say they come from natural sources. Instead of chemical names, youíll find ingredients like Eucalyptus Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Sandalwood Extract, Lemon Oil, Apricots, Aloe Vera Gel, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Green Tea. Learn to read the label on the products you use and choose those that are non-toxic and safe.

Also, ingredients are listed with the most prominent ones first. Scrutinize the first several listings in the product to be sure that they are the natural ingredients you are looking for. If a skin care product contains an ingredient that you are unsure about, ďGoogleĒ it to see if it's more suitable for cleaning your garage floor than putting on your skin.

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Kathleen Williams is the developer of the economical Dermanesse Professional Home Microdermabrasion System. She is an expert on natural skin care products.

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