Skincare: the bad and the ugly.
There's a lot to take into consideration when it comes to what we're putting in and on our bodies. Personally, I want to be conscious of both the environment in ensuring a sustainable future for all of us here on earth, but almost equally as important, I want consumers to be adequately educated when it comes to what's going on their bodies.
As our bodies largest organ, it's no surprise that our skin has a big job. Unfortunately, that means that in trying to protect our insides, it certainly takes a toll on the outside, especially today as our air quality worsens and environmental toxins continue to rise. Not only that, but since our skin is porous, it absorbs whatever we put on it. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin's absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage.
So what are we putting on our skin? Mostly crude oil if you're using modern beauty products. Petroleum, that is--a fossil fuel. Which, is considered an "occlusive" agents—meaning it seals off the skin from air, water or anything else getting in (or out), forming an invisible film on the surface that blocks the pores and the skin's natural respiration process. Yuck. How bad is it really, though? Goop.com (You know, with the founder and fellow earth-lover Gwyneth Paltrow) recently answered this for their readers:
"How pervasive is petroleum in beauty products, and why is it problematic? "
A: Petrochemicals are incredibly pervasive in beauty products; so many common ingredients are derived from them. A huge health concern with petroleum products is that they can generate 1,4-dioxane, a substance known to potentially contribute to some cancers. It’s also a kidney toxin, neurotoxin, and a respiratory toxin, not to mention a leading groundwater contaminant. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that an alarming 22 percent of all conventional personal care products contain unsafe levels of 1,4-dioxane. EWG also found that “these trace contaminants in petroleum-based ingredients often readily penetrate the skin…and their presence in products is not restricted by government safety standards. Some of the common ingredients in beauty products that are petrochemical-derived include: