Ingredients to avoid in health and beauty

A friend once tried to explain to me why she didn't believe in facials.

"Don't get me wrong, it feels good, but I'm not convinced that massaging a few creams into my skin actually accomplishes anything."

This is a woman who gets her birth control through a patch on her hip and yet, she wasn't connecting the dots.

What we put on our skin, the body's largest organ, affects not only the way we look, but can actually affect our health as well. So, before you swipe a gloss applicator across your lips one more time, or commence that daily post-shower body lotion ritual, ask yourself if what you're putting on your body belongs in your body.

A moment on the lips

What goes on your mouth may end up in your mouth. It's been widely reported that the average woman will ingest over four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. And while these "calories" may not hit your hips, they could affect your health.

A 2004 Environmental Working Group survey examined hundreds of lipsticks and found that 28% of those tested contained ingredients associated with cancer risk. Meaning, what you don't know could hurt you. EWG's Skin Deep database aims to bring consumers out of the Dark Age, detailing the safety levels of cosmetics and comparing those products to other brands.

MundoSafety concerns are just one reason that Mundo Products has found a market for its all-natural bath and body line. The Mundo collection even boasts Vegan products like their Vegan Lip Balm ($6 at mundoproducts.com). Crafted with an organic hempseed oil base, the balm contains no artificial flavorings, petroleum, alcohol by-products or chemical sun blocks. Mundo has also signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge made by manufacturers to formulate products that do not use ingredients known or suspected to cause certain health harms.

Log on to EWG's Skin Deep database at www.cosmeticdatabase.com to research the products you use daily.

Organic beauty

The organic movement is picking up speed, with more and more consumers seeking out food that is free of chemicals and pesticides. And that demand for wholesomeness is making its way to personal care.

Simply Organic, founded by Floridian Gene Martignetti, produces a collection of bath and body products based on the simple premise of banning dangerous ingredients including chemical preservatives and lathering agents. The Simply Organic line, available at www.simplyorganicbeauty.com, includes shampoos, conditioners, styling products, skin care and more.

Juice BeautyJuice Beauty is another company serving up skin care crafted from certified organic ingredients. The company's two female founders develop products based on their belief that what we put into our bodies is as important as the products we use on our bodies. Juice Beauty's Green Apple Cleansing Gel, $26 at www.juicebeauty.com, boasts certified organic apple and lemon juices and other botanicals which promise to cleanse while renewing skin's radiance.

The bottom line? Armed with some basic knowledge about what to put on your body, and what to avoid, it's easy to look beautiful, naturally.

Top Ten Ingredients to Avoid

According to National Georgraphic's The Green Guide, there are ten top ingredients you simply must avoid in personal care products.

ANTIBACTERIALS

COAL-TAR COLORS

DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA)

FORMALDEHYDE

GLYCOL ETHERS

HEAVY METALS: LEAD AND MERCURY

PARABENS

PETROLATUM (vaseline, petroleum jelly)

PHENYLENEDIAMINE (PPD)

PHTHALATES

SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS)

TOLUENE

For more information about why to avoid these ingredients, log on to TheGreenGuide.com

 

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