Why use food-grade Certified Organic Skincare Products
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it is very porous. Whatever you apply on your skin, it will be absorbed all the way into your blood stream and ultimately have an effect on all other organs. That is why you should pay attention to the products that you use on your skin.
In the American Journal of Public Health is a study published on the skin’s absorption rate of the chemicals often found in drinking water. From the study, the skin had an absorption rate of about 64% of the total adulteration dosage. Other parts of the body such as the genitalia and underarms indicated a 100% absorption rate. A separate study showed that the skin absorbs fragrance ingredients at a 100% rate.
So don’t be deceived; what you apply on your skin, will end up in your body. When was the last time you paid attention to the ingredients used in your skin products? Many cosmetic skin care products contain toxic, harsh chemicals, fragrances, and colours that make their way into your lymphatic system and blood. Most of them contain a concoction of allergens, carcinogenic chemicals, and irritants.
To best way to stay clear of these harsh chemicals that could eventually cause severe damage to your body, is by choosing to use certified organic skincare products.
What is Food-Grade Certified Organic Skincare?
The term “food grade” is used to define skincare products made from ingredients that are 100% safe to eat. While cosmetic grade skincare products are made from chemicals that should never be ingested; some are actually poisonous, food grade skincare products are made from products that are safe to eat.
Why use organic skincare? Your skin is a living breathing organ. Aren’t you better off applying fresh organic ingredients to protect, heal and maintain a youthful supple skin surface? Because organic skincare products don’t contain harsh chemicals, when absorbed into the blood and lymphatic system, they will never pose a risk to your health. Instead, they may help maintain and improve your internal health.
When buying skin care products that are labelled organic, you must be vigilant because sometimes manufacturers claim to be selling food grade or organic skin care products yet they are actually referring to only a few of the many ingredients and often these in such minimal amounts that they make no difference to the overall toxicity level. What your looking for is recognised certification logos and not the companies own made up stamps. Unfortunately, green wash is rife in this industry.
Why Choose Food-grade Organic Skincare Products?
Price won’t tell you and much of the labelling can be misleading. Ultimately, the quality of skincare products is down to the ingredients contained in them. There are many high priced brands that contain a huge array of toxic ingredients but the marketing will only refer to the natural beneficial ingredients.
The FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) can prohibit the use of particular ingredients in skin care products, foods, and drugs as well as erroneous labelling. They, however, leave some ingredients used in sprays and creams to the discretion of companies that manufacture your skin care products. Technically, a single cosmetic product cannot contain enough of one toxin to harm you. However, this doesn’t take into account the effects of the mixing of different chemicals within the product OR with other products you may use particularly over the long term. For many oh-to-common ingredients you stand the risk of developing cancers, most common being ovarian and cervical cancer. Other concerns include the heightened risk of developing skin irritation or dermatitis, birth defects for expecting mothers, and disrupting hormones in adolescents and children.
The Story of Cosmetics is a nice little introduction to the concerns many have of the state of the toxic-laden cosmetics and skincare industry.
Ingredients to Watch Out For
As earlier mentioned, sometimes manufacturers label skincare products as being organic yet add in cosmetic ingredients that could be harmful to your health. Below are some of the ingredients you should watch out for when buying your skin care products.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) & Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
These two chemicals are added to cosmetics for preservation, to add fragrance, stabilise the product and act as antioxidants. They can, however, cause skin irritation as well as hormone disruption. They are commonly found in eyeshadow, lipsticks, and certain petroleum based products. There is a reasonable amount of research to suggest that BHA is a human carcinogen, as well, according to the Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program.
This chemical acts as a pH adjuster and is what they call a “wetting” agent and is primarily used in shampoos and lotions to provide lather and also in makeup. It can also be found in brake fluid, degreasers and antifreeze, so perhaps this is really something to avoid in our personal skincare. There are concerns of skin irritation and possible organ system poisoning with long-term use. It reacts none-too-nicely with other chemicals in our products and can create a very potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), which is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.
Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Diethyl phthalate (DEP) and Dimethyl phthalate (DMP))
These chemicals are used for their solvent properties, plasticiser (to create a more consumer friendly texture) and as fragrance ingredients. Nail polish is a common product containing phthalates. There are concerns that they could cause damage to the male reproductive system. The European Union classifies DBP as a suspected endocrine disruptor on the basis of evidence that it interferes with hormone function, and as toxic to reproduction on the basis that it may cause harm to the unborn child and impair fertility. There is also concern of liver and kidney damage to young children when sucking and chewing objects containing phthalates, plastic toys and such and so it stands to reason that applying directly onto highly permeable skin is something to avoid.
Formaldehyde Releasers – DMDM hydantoin, Bronopol, Diazolidynul Urea, Quaternium-15, and Imidazolidinyl Urea
They are used for preservation and are a cheap way to increase shelf life and to enable consumers to store personal care products in areas of high humidity, i.e the bathroom. After much press around the dangers of carcinogenic formaldehyde forced many companies to re-think it’s use, they came up with formaldehyde releasers which in fact, do break down to formaldehyde when in formulation. So, same same but different, cloaked by a different name. They can cause the onset of eczema as well as irritate the throat, eyes and nose.
Fragrance (parfum, aroma, perfume, essential oil blend)
There can be over 3000 ingredients blended together to create scents in cosmetics. There is concern that the chemical combination in fragrance can cause irritation, reproductive toxicity, and allergic reactions long term. There are no regulations for fragrance ingredients to be disclosed on packaging or by the companies when asked as they are classed as ‘trade secret’. Simply put, there could be just about anything in these cover-all terms and many ingredients have never been tested as safe for human use.
These are used as preservatives for longer shelf life and to prevent bacterial growth. These have been hugely hyped in the last few years with the major concern that they cause hormone disruption. Parabens are potential endocrine disruptors due to their ability to mimic estrogen and bound to estrogen receptors. Applying personal care product containing parabens—especially methylparaben—can lead to UV-induced damage of skin cells and disruption of cell proliferation aka skin cancer. The crazy thing is that many sunscreens actually contain parabens. They are also found in deodorants and anti perspirants. Most breast cancers develop in the upper outer quadrant of breast tissue containing the lymph nodes most exposed to these products. 99% of this breast cancer contained traces of parabens. There are many types, all with different potential negative effects so look for all ingredients ending with paraben.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
The purpose of these ingredients is to clean and emulsify. There are concerns of impurity contamination as well as skin irritation. You will likely find them in shampoo, toothpaste and hand soap creating the comforting frothing we all associate with cleaning. This is a big change to get used to when you switch to natural toothpaste for example, as it does feel very different but you soon get used to it and the cleaning still occurs without the froth.
Siloxane or Methicone
Look out for ingredients ending with the word methicone or siloxane. These are used for smoothing, softening and moisturizing. It’s often found in deodorants and hair products. There is a concern that it causes hormone disruption. Siloxane stops the skin from carrying out its normal functions and causes skin irritation in many users.
Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent associated with disruption of the thyroid and reproductive hormones. It could also cause bacterial resistance. There are many essential oils that are antibacterial but of course they are a lot more expensive then something that can be chemically created in a factory. Real food-grade skincare and cosmetics rely on the natural healing properties of plants instead.
The truth is unless you’re a chemical expert, it is extremely difficult to be 100% sure that the ingredients in your regular skincare products are safe. The good news is that EWG (Environment Working Group), has got your back. They conduct trailblazing research on skin care products so as to empower you to make an informed choice when buying your products.
EWG’s Skin Deep helps you determine the potential health implications associated with particular products and ingredients. When you go shopping, look out for the EWG VERIFIED mark on products that have been verified for safe use by EWG. You could also research the product you’re interested in from Skin Deep at home.
Certified food-grade organic skincare products obviously are one step above this mark as this certification is harder to get as each ingredient needs to be safe to eat. Saying that, generally the switch to organic products is a gradual one as we use up what we have left of older familiar products. I would recommend checking the ingredients on the products you use daily, particularly those you use on your children. That way you can make informed choices about stopping use straight away if any really potent nasties show up
For more information visit http://www.ewg.org/
Changing habits and our way of thinking
As you can see many of these additives are done to improve the feel, give a certain experience (i.e foaming) or improve shelf life. If we are prepared to except a different way of using our cosmetics and skincare and a different feel then we can eliminate many of these harmful ingredients from our systems. The hardest thing within the industry is the preservatives needed.
The big companies produce a lot of product, which gets shipped around the world ending up with a lot of different distributors and stores. They want as long a shelf life as possible as they have no control on how quickly the retailers sell the products or in what conditions they are kept during transit and storage. If they used no preservatives then they would probably get a lot of returns from consumers buying product one year after formulation and being disappointed by a product past its best. So it’s a tricky situation and this when teamed with producers trying to under-cut other producers with similar products, they are prone to choose the cheapest, most toxic preservatives rather then more expensive essential oils for example.
Another option- fresh from the manufacturer
A simply strategy to adopt is to buy smaller quantities of freshly made cosmetics direct from the company. This way you can avoid all these potentially harmful chemicals and know you have a freshly made, potent product. I have been using Miessence products for the past year and really value the freshness and power of there products. They make the products fresh each month in small batches, only producing what they need to meet customer orders. There are no chemical preservatives so I do not advise leaving them in your car in the middle of the day in Las Vegas which I did and learnt the hard way and am now a lot more careful about how I store my products.
When I started using the range I went for the dry-skin range named rejuvenating. After a couple of months I was surprised to realise that my skin was no longer dry and actually this range was providing more moisture then I needed. I now use the balancing range for normal-combination skin. What a breakthrough to actually change my entire skin type after such a short time. I have had dry skin all my life and a history of allergies and eczema so I’m glad that my health and wellness is still improving and evolving.
To learn more about food grade organic skincare please get in touch or let me know if you would like to receive a sample pack.
I hope this information can help you decipher your skincare ingredients and make more informed choices for you and your family,
Many blessings on your journey to optimum health and wellness through holistic living!