Here are ten facts everyone should know about the skin and how and why the skin should be treated daily with safe cosmetic products.
Fact: the skin is the largest organ of the body;
Fact: over 70% of what is placed on the skin manages to seep into the body and our bloodstreams;
Fact: women, on average, apply over 5 pounds of lotions and creams to their skin annually;
Fact: there are over 10,500 chemicals used to manufacture cosmetic products;
Fact: many of these ingredients are toxic (poisonous);
Fact: like tobacco, before regulation, no one currently knows the cumulative effect these toxic ingredients have on a person when used for decades;
Fact: some of these toxic ingredients have been directly linked to cancer, birth defects, respiratory problems, liver and kidney disease, and much more;
Fact: recent clinical studies on pregnant women have shown the same toxins at the same levels are in the bloodstreams of the fetuses and enter through the umbilical cord;
Fact: the European Union (EU) has banned over 1,100 toxic ingredients in the manufacture of safe cosmetic products;
Fact: the US has banned 10.
Now lets look at some of this intelligence in greater detail.
Yes, the skin is the largest organ of the body and it is also very porous. Plus there is direct absorption and that absorption is unfiltered by the liver or kidneys. It bypasses those organs and proof of this can be found in the form of patches, like nicotine patches, and other medicinal patches that are so effective. The skin, in effect, becomes the unfiltered gateway into the bloodstream.
Much of what is placed on the skin is toxic and even though we know through scientific studies that 50% to 70% can and will be absorbed into the body, the Cosmetic Industry claims that small exposures to these toxic ingredients cause no harm. They actually say that it is safe to use toxic (poison) chemicals linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, and other health problems, because the amount in each product is so small. The problem is twofold. No one uses just one product in a single day and no one knows the cumulative effect when these toxic ingredients have been used for decades. Just think about the products one uses every day, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorants, body lotions, shaving creams, cleansers, moisturizers, and on and on the list goes. This exposes each person to literally hundreds of these toxic chemicals daily and this will have a negative effect over time.
Of the 10,500 ingredients in cosmetic products, only 11% have been tested for safety, and this over a 30 year period of self-policing. The Cosmetic Industry is self-regulated. There is no government agency that tests products, pre or post-market. What that should tell you is that the industry is unregulated, or a better term might be self-regulated. And, because it is unregulated, it has been discovered that thirty-three percent of personal care products contain at least one chemical linked to cancer. Forty-five percent contain ingredients that can effect the reproductive system and development of an infant. Sixty percent of products contain chemicals that can disrupt hormones. All of this information can be found on the website for The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics.
Here are some additional statistics that are shocking.
Women that use hair dye have a 50% higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (results can be found in a study by The national Cancer Institute); the FDA released a study of talcum powder and found that of the 40 powders tested, 39 contained asbestos, a known carcinogen; for years cosmetologists have complained of unusual numbers of headaches, memory loss, respiratory problems, nervousness, and so on, and as a result, the government tested and evaluated 2983 chemicals used in the manufacture of cosmetic products and found:
1.884 were toxic;
2.376 were connected to skin and eye irritation;
3.314 could cause biological mutations;
4.778 chemicals related to acute toxicity;
5.214 could effect the reproductive system.
There is a chemical known as 1,4-Dioxane. It is a carcinogen and the Environmental Working Group, an advocate organization dedicated to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the cosmetic industry to phase out the use of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and other serious health concerns, tested and found this toxic chemical in 28% of all personal care products. Taking the study one step further, the EWG investigation came up with the following statistics finding 1,4-Dioxane in::
57% of baby shampoos;
55% of baby soaps and bubble baths;
43% of all body firming lotions;
37% of all anti-aging lotions tested;
35% of eye-creams.
Further to this point, every day, babies are exposed to an average of 27 ingredients in personal care product that studies indicate are not safe for children. Children are more susceptible to chemicals than are adults. Their skin is 30% thinner than an adult skin, and it can absorb larger amounts of chemicals.
So, one might ask, what are the risks? How does one assure themselves of using safe cosmetic products? A short, succinct answer might be, if you would not drink a poison, why would you use poison on the largest organ of the body and the recognized gateway to the bloodstream? Why would anyone subject their baby to this, knowing their skin is thinner and more absorbent? Those questions could be referred to as the laymen logic. But, one might ask, what is the scientific logic behind all of this and what are the risks? Well, scientists readily admit they know very little about what repeated exposure to small amounts of poisons in cosmetics can do to the human body. However, what they do know is that in rodent studies, Pthalates (synthetic fragrances found in a large percentage of cosmetic products), cause testicular injury, liver injury and liver cancer. Pthalates are also carcinogens, allergens, and very toxic, having the highest level of toxicity of 10, as rated by the Cosmetic Database, the largest database of cosmetic ingredients in the world.
The European Union has banned Pthalates along with over 1,100 other toxic ingredients in cosmetic products if they are to be sold in Europe. The US has banned a grand total of only 10. The solution is up to every consumer, because the government is not regulating this industry. One must check the ingredients before they buy and a very simple step that everyone can take is to look for certification labels and logos on cosmetic products. Do not accept what the manufacturer may claim to be a natural and/or organic safe cosmetic product, because there is no one watching, and as a result, they can make any claim they want to make in order to sell more products.
The Cosmetic Industry is very large, over 50 billion and highly profitable and everyone must remember that a very large percentage of the money spent by the manufacturer goes into the packaging and the marketing, while pennies go into the product itself. In the truly organic and/or natural cosmetic product just the reverse is true. The large dollars go into research, development and manufacturing, while very little goes into packaging and marketing. To verify this simply look at the packaging of a well known branded product versus the packaging of a truly organic product.
Lastly, be aware, be smart, buy only certified organic to be sure you are using toxin-free, safe cosmetic products for both yourself and your children.