You may not realize this because you see it every day, but your skin is your body’s largest organ. Just as we care for our hearts, brains, and lungs, we need to also look after our skin with the same care and precision. Our skin may seem indestructible because we’re used to it (hey, we’ve seen it heal from scrapes and bruises since we were kids!), but the fact is, skin ages over time, heals slower, produces less collagen, and, with each passing day, needs more and more love.
Just as we know not to inhale, ingest, and inject certain things, we also need to refrain from using harmful chemicals from everyday products such as makeup, sunscreen, and skin creams.
Skin is like a sponge and absorbs 60% of what we put on it — so the synthetic ingredients from these dangerous products are being soaked into our bloodstreams, causing not only skin irritation, but also damaging long-term effects. In fact, the US is considerably behind in prohibiting the use of toxic ingredients in the cosmetic and skincare industries — while the EU has banned over 1,300 chemicals, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only outlawed 11!
Unfortunately, it is up to the consumer to search for the products they feel comfortable using. When shopping for skin-safe and clean solutions, it’s important to look for those that use naturally-derived organic ingredients that are plant-based, vegetarian, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and silicone-free. Brands that stick to utilizing the most effective and high-quality ingredients are the companies that actually care about what you’re doing to your skin — and who truly want to see their clients achieve the results they are searching for.
The biggest advantage of using natural/organic over synthetic ingredients in bath and body products is that they enhance the skin’s natural function; working in synergy with the skin by utilizing active ingredients that help optimize skin regeneration. Think of naturally-based ingredients in topical products very similarly to foods – we all strive to eat “organic” and fast-food free. It’s the same in topical products.
Avoid Chemically-Based Ingredients: by avoiding these harmful ingredients (Mercury, alcohol and ammonium laureth sulfate) found in regular skincare products you will help decrease your chances of redness, irritation and breakouts, along with severe allergic reactions. In addition, you are putting fewer toxic chemicals into the environment and water, contributing to a safer and cleaner environment. Artificial fragrances in many products often tend to cause headaches and sensitivity, while parabens can alter the function of the endocrine system in your body.
Ingredients to avoid:
Parabens: Preservatives commonly used in makeup products. Talc: A cheap bulking agent that is dry, chalky and related to asbestos. It’s used in many mainstream mineral brands as a filler to lower manufacturing costs.
Artificial fragrances: Can cause skin allergies and skin reaction to light (photo allergy). Commonly used in pressed powders and causes irritation and clogged pores.
Lead: A known neurotoxin. Exposure to lead may result in brain damage, cancer, miscarriage and infertility. Often found in lipsticks — don’t poison your pucker!
Phthalates: Manmade substances that mimic the female sex hormone estrogen. Past studies have linked them to birth defects, kidney problems and infertility. Trace elements are being absorbed through the skin and, because the body doesn’t know what to do with them, they accumulate over time. Commonly found in plastic but also present in perfumes and lip glosses.
Dimethicone: A manmade toxic synthetic pigment and silicone-based polymer. Dimethicone sits on the surface of the skin and doesn’t allow it to breathe, causing irritation. Using Silicone-based skincare products also inhibit the actives from penetrating into the skin which reduces the treatment amount in the actives.
Manganese: A byproduct of lead and copper refining and almost chemically identical to toxic arsenic, manganese is used as a filler because it gives a pearlescent shimmer. Can cause itching and clogged pores.
Chemical dyes: Link directly to skin allergies. Studies have found a breast cancer link to red 04 dye.
Mineral oil: Petroleum-derived oil that suffocates the skin and clogs pores.
In addition to the basics — keeping good hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding the sun, and staying hydrated, skin needs to be maintained through healthy daily and nightly regimens. Brands like Goldfaden MD offer full lines of products (including cleansers, moisturizers (Bright Eyes), scrubs (Doctor’s Scrub), mists, and masks (Wake Up Call) where you can be comfortable in knowing that you’re taking the best care possible for your skin. Using ingredients like apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, soy peptides, and seaweed extract, in addition to the ultra-lubricating and hydrating hyaluronic acid, your skin will not only be on the safe track, but also on a direct path to more hydrated, brighter, and healthy-looking skin.