Facts you MUST know about skin care:

First and foremost:
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and at least 80% of what we apply onto our skin is absorbed into our blood stream.

Cocoa Shea Organic Model1. Always READ the Label!
Governing authorities such as the FDA and Health Canada categorize skin care products as cosmetics. The scary news is that cosmetics are not monitored by these authorities, therefore it is your responsibility to screen products by taking the time to read the label. Do not be fooled by tricky marketing slogans such as with organic shea and avocado oil. That may be true, but how much of the actual content is organic and what in the world are the rest of those unpronounceable ingredients! Unfortunately we must approach this screening process with a guilty until proven innocent attitude. Thankfully all cosmetics are required to indicate their ingredients in sequence of highest to lowest percentages. So take the time to read the list of ingredients carefully and use logic when deciding if you want any of those ingredients on your skin, and inevitably in your system. Do not take this responsibility lightly - there are even baby balms out there that contain harmful preservatives such as EDTAs and methylparabens... and you would be surprised to see which brands they are!

2. Water DRIES your skin! - Please read this. It is very important
Nobody can argue that drinking lots of water is one of the most crucial practices for good health. Water hydrates the body from the inside out. However, topical application of water on our skin produces the opposite results. The natural sebum of our skin is oily not watery - and there is a very good reason for that:
Have you ever met a professional chef, a dishwasher, or a nurse? Their hands are usually extremely dry. The reason is because their profession forces them to have their hands in water almost all day long. Certainly the chemical-laden soaps that most people use these days, make matters worse but even water alone will dry your skin. I will get to my point soon; please bare with me. Take a piece of paper, cut it in half, then dip one of the pieces in a bath of water, then leave both of the pieces out to dry in the same exact conditions. When the wet piece of paper is dry it will be hard and brittle, while the other piece of paper will maintain its original softness and flexibility. 
So now we ask ourselves WHY do the vast majority of moisturizers, creams, and lotions in the market (that are supposed to make our skin softer and healthier) contain water as their very first ingredient? Being the first ingredient listed means that the percentage of water in that product is higher than any other ingredient. 
Could it be because water is cheap so it reduces costs? Could it be because it may not be in all cosmetic companies best interest to actually make your skin healthier but rather to get you to keep buying more? One reason is achieving the desirable consistency which leads us to our next point.

3. It's not "greasy" if it can be absorbed.
The most important reason that water is added to the recipe of most cosmetics is because it gives the finished product a less "greasy" consistency. But this is where education really comes into play:
If you were to place a tiny drop of water on the back of one hand and a tiny drop of olive oil on the back of the other hand, you would notice that the oil will absorb into your skin but the water will not (the water might evaporate but it certainly will not be absorbed). Our skin's natural sebum is oil based, not water based. Everybody knows that water and oil simply do not mix so what purpose is there in applying water to your skin other than to strip your skin of its natural oils? 
We buy moisturizers in order to soften our skin and make it healthier right? So shouldn't we be looking for ways to replenish the vitamins and antioxidants in our skin by getting something to absorb into it? 
Olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, kukui nut oil and a multitude of other natural oils are very rich in these vitamins and because these are oils, they actually are able to absorb into our skin and get the job done! The above oils are noncomedogenic, meaning that they do not clog the pores of our skin but rather they penetrate right through them and nourish the inner layers of our skin. When such noncomedogenic oils are applied to our skin it is only a matter of minutes before the oily feeling is gone and our skin is left feeling soft and healthy. 
Petroleum jelly is greasy. Bacon fat is greasy. Engine oil is greasy. Hydrogenated vegetable oil is greasy. If you were to apply any of the latter to your skin you would have greasy hands until you vigorously washed them off with soap and water. Such saturated oils are not to be confused with unsaturated, noncomedogenic oils.

4. The avalanche of dangerous ingredients.
Adding water to skin care products opens up yet another can of worms. By adding water to any shelved product you are then forced to add preservatives to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. Furthermore by adding water to a product that also contains oils, you are also forced to add emulsifying agents (because as we know, oil and water do not mix).
So look at the predicament that we are faced with - all in the name of adding water to our cosmetics, we now have to tolerate an avalanche of preservatives, emulsifiers and alcohols on our skin and inevitably - into our system.

5. The naughty list.
 The table below will shine some light on what exactly certain ingredients are, why they are added, and why we shouldn't use products that contain them:

 Ingredient Why it's there How it harms Comments


 Parabens
 

Preservative (extend shelf life)


Proven hormone-disrupting effect. It is toxic to non reproductive organs in the human body and may cause cancer, skin irritation, neurotoxicity and may disrupt endocrine function.
It's always scary to discover all the "natural" and/or "organic" products that contain methylparabens.

Propylene Glycol
Humectant. Used to maintain moisture. 
Extremely toxic. Research data states that through skin contact it can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
 ...but it makes your cream feel so refreshing!



Fragrances
 


Fragrance

Fragrances can be made up of 200 different chemicals and we will never know what chemicals those are because they are considered "trade secrets".
Cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritations etc...
Don`t you just love that faux coconut smell? Seriously when was the last time you sliced open a coconut and it smelt like that?
Sodium Lauryl - Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Foaming agent 
Urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections, genital disorders, eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions.Check your soaps and shampoo products...
 

Polyethylene  Glycol (PEG)


Emulsifying agent & lubricant.

Experiments done by the National Toxicology Program showed that PEG created increased risk of leukemia and uterine, breast and brain cancers. PEG is also known to be commonly contaminated with a known carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane. It also strips the skin of its natural sebum leaving it exposed to bacteria.
Found in a very high percentage of cosmetics ranging from toothpaste to shaving cream, to moisturizing creams... 

Tetrasodium EDTA

Preservative (extend shelf life)

Toxic. Dries out our skin. Made from the known carcinogen, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide.
Sometimes used instead of parabens but certainly not a safe alternative.

Urea
Preservative (extend shelf life)
 Primary cause of contact dermatitis.
All in the name of extended shelf life (i.e - profit.)



DEA, MEA, TEA 


PH adjusting agent




Toxic and causes eye problems, and dryness of skin and hair.  DEA has been linked with kidney, liver and other organ damage.
Approximately 200 million pounds of DEA are produced annually in the U.S., most of which goes into personal care products. (USITC, 1990).

Synthetic colors (e.g FD&C Red 6)
 
Coloring
 
Research indicates that they are cancer causing agents
The price we pay to have our Lavender soap look purple?! 

Behentrimonium Chloride

Anti-static agent
Ingestion can be fatal.  Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to the eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes.Check your hair conditioner...
 

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)


Preservative (extend shelf life)
Very probable carcinogen in humans. Known to cause pigment loss of the skin. Shown to negatively affect the levels of thyroid hormones in the body, to potentially interfere with reproductive development and the production of reproductive hormones, and to cause liver damage and stomach cancers.FYI: This ingredient is banned by the European Union.


Mineral Oil


Creates a faux soft feel

Contrary to belief, this ingredient is not healthy. It coats the skin like plastic, clogging pores and interfering with the skin releasing toxins. Causing premature aging and skin irritation. Some tests have shown it may be cancer causing.
Sadly, it is often all about the "feels good" and not so much about the "does good".
 



Alcohol



Humectant and Emulsifier

There is a lot of controversy in the industry about the effects of alcohol (whether naturally derived or not) on the skin. Some of these alcohols are coconut derived and this gives them a safer "zing" but when it comes down to it, alcohol does not have any role in bettering the health of our skin. It may be a great humectant, and emulsifier but it doesn`t nourish our skin. On the contrary research shows that it inhibits the penetration of Vitamin A into our skin.
It`s entertaining when people say that something is safe because it is naturally derived... Poisonous mushrooms are naturally derived... can I eat one? 











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