Chemical and petroleum based products...what was originally meant to be an economical alternative to natural botanical ingredients is now being found to have negative implications for our future health and well- being. Ever since 1938, when the FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetics industry, such products have been marketed without government approval of ingredients, regardless of what tests have shown. As more consumers are turning to organic foods to avoid known toxins, gradually awareness about dangerous skin care chemicals is coming to light.
Unlike organic ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years as traditional remedies, synthetic and petrochemical ingredients have only been used since the 1930’s and it is only recently that the harmful effects of these ingredients are coming to light. The synthetic and petrochemical ingredients so widely used in nearly all shampoos, lotions and soaps are the very same ingredients used in oven cleaners, engine degreasers, solvents and antifreezes.
Most of the 25,000 chemicals used have not been tested for long-term toxic effects. Medical and FDA research is now investigating links between many of these synthetic compounds all the way from cancer, migraines, allergies and asthma to dermatitis and skin rashes. EPA tests conclude that ingredients in shampoos, dyes, other personal care products may be playing havoc with hormones that control reproduction and development.
We can no longer view the skin as an impermeable barrier. As nicotine patches have demonstrated, the skin is a permeable barrier subject to the toxicity of the ingredients we place upon it. For example, baby oil is 100% mineral oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. It interferes with the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. It slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging.
The good news is that the natural ingredients mimicked by synthetic and petrochemicals are still available for our use! The next time we pick up a bottle of lotion, soap or perfume, look at the ingredients – are we covering our face and bodies with synthetic toxins or with organic ingredients known to be beneficial, such as rosemary of lavender? The organic products may cost more in the short term but will help us on our path to better health and well being in the future.