The skincare industry exposed – how to safely care for your skin without harmful chemicals

Our skin is the largest organ (not counting the liver) in the body, covering and protecting us from the environment every day. It is a system unto itself, eliminating toxins, secreting sweat to cool us down and regulate our body temperature, and absorbing the substances we put on it.

Look at the back of the bottles of hair care and body care products sold in stores, and you will find yourself having to Google many if not most of the ingredients you find.

If I don’t recognize an ingredient immediately as something occurring in nature then I don’t buy it. If the ingredients are plant/vegetable-based, then I do. Aloe Vera, olive oil, coconut oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter, essential oils such as lavender and chamomile, I know what those are and where they come from, and their moisturizing, nourishing properties.

Any term that ends in “paraben” is a chemical preservative that extends the shelf life of skin care products and has been linked to breast cancer. Phtalates such as dibutylphtalate (also DBP, DEP and butyl ester) increase the absorption rate of other chemicals and ingredients into the skin. Yuck, no thanks!

Artificial colors listed as FD and C blue #1 and anything listed as “chloride” are toxic compounds and suspected carcinogens. Artificial fragrances often listed as “fragrance” are made from petroleum or coal, and try to copy the natural aroma of products like lavender, sweet orange, or mint that exist in nature. They are cheaper than using essential oils, and can often irritate nasal passages and cause negative reactions from, “I can’t stand lavender” to allergies, and difficulty breathing.

What are the alternatives? I love to use organic olive oil and aloe vera gel and apply them topically. (Read my earlier posts on olive oil and aloe vera for more information). Other oils you may have on your pantry shelves will work well too, like coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil. The smell may seem strange at first, but I found myself preferring it to the chemical scents of commercial products.

**I also make my own organic body balms – see my post about this to learn more!

I also found that naturally occurring oils, gels, and butters do what they are supposed to do – that is, moisturize the skin. How many times have you applied a commercial product, only to reapply after washing your hands, or finding yourself having to apply it several times a day?

My skin looks more radiant and glowing, smoother, and my skin tone is more even. (I am careful to use less than a dime-sized amount of oil on my face to avoid a greasy appearance).

Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!