Let’s talk skincare- did you participate in #selfcaresunday
It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but beautiful, glowing skin and good health do begin in your gut. So before you think about buying the latest miracle cream or speed dialing your facialist, why not invest your time and money into improving your digestive health?
Studies also show that people who have a healthier gutmicrobiota may have a healthier fatty acid profile in their skin, meaning their skin is more moisturised, hydrated and protected with less breakouts. Studies show that our gut bacteria can also influence our mood, weight, blood sugar levels and our body’s ability to fight infections.
Rosacea, acne, eczema and dry skin are all skin conditions that have the same root cause—poor gut health and gut function.
This should matter to you because your gut health affects your overall health. The US FDA law that governs the safety of cosmetic products has not been updated since 1938.😒
Everything you touch, smell, taste affect your gut health. Allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, endometriosis, fupa… it could be the very products you use daily to make yourself clean, feel good and smell good that are causing you problems. Looking after your gut will allow you to simplify your skincare routine, help you achieve a smooth, balanced and glowing complexion – and make you feel better too.
Think of how hormones when out of balance can wreak havoc on your complexion and overall health and wellbeing. If we’re not getting enough nutrients or digesting our food properly due to poor gut health, our skin won’t receive the nutrition it needs to support it. This affects skin elasticity and collagen production and will manifest in dull, lacklustre skin with poor tone. Similarly, if we are not detoxifying properly, the skin – as the body’s largest elimination organ – will suffer.
The gut is where 70% of your immune system lies, where we metabolise hormones, where we make nutrients and neurotransmitters, create detoxifying enzymes and neutralise pathogens. All of these processes can profoundly affect us if not in balance or working properly.
Clean beauty means that a product is safe, non-toxic, and has transparent labeling of ingredients. Just because a product is organic, natural, or green, doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic. The FDA doesn’t regulate or define claims often used in greenwashed products.
Here are a few things you should be aware of when looking at skincare, bath and body products and really anything you invite into your home- because your home is an incubator.
Parabens are preservatives found in everything from soap to lotion to makeup. If it has water in it, it probably has a paraben to keep it from growing bacteria. Examples include: methylparaben, proplyparaben, isopropylparaben, and isobutylparaben. If “paraben” is in the word, avoid it.
Parabens are known endocrine disruptors, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body and can lead to hormonal imbalances, and possibly even breast cancer. For example, a recent study found concentrations of parabens, specifically methylparaben, in human breast tumors. Another study found 99% of all cancerous breast tumors contained parabens.
- Artificial Fragrance/Parfum
Almost every single conventional skincare and cosmetic product (even “unscented” ones) contains artificial fragrances. Manufacturers aren’t required to reveal what’s actually in their fragrances, so you’ll simply see “Fragrance” or “Parfum” on the ingredients list when it could actually be a cocktail of carcinogens, allergens, endocrine disruptors, and irritants.
3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
SLS/SLES are foaming agents used in a slew of personal care products, including skin care and cosmetics, shampoo, and toothpaste. They are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. Additionally, chemical compounds known as “nitrosamines” are common by-products of the sulphation process. 90% of nitrosamines are believed to be carcinogenic.
Toluene is a chemical commonly found in nail polish and hair dyes. It is a volatile petrochemical solvent that can be toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects. If you’re pregnant, be especially careful and avoid nail polish containing toluene entirely.
A phthalate is a plasticizer that is added to plastic to keep it from becoming brittle. Phthalates are used in cosmetics primarily in fragrances, and can also be found in other personal care products, such as hair spray and nail polish. Examples include: DBP, DEHP, DEP and others. Like parabens, phthalates are endocrine disruptors and can cause hormonal and reproductive problems and birth defects.
6. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is used is many types of cosmetics as a thickener, especially in lotions, shampoo, and sunscreen. PEG is often contaminated with both ethylene oxide (a known carcinogen) and 1,4-Dioxane (which causes respiratory problems).
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in cosmetics. It’s a known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. It can be found in preservatives such as quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, and imidazolidinyl urea.
- Oxybenzone (and other chemical sunscreens)
Bear with me on this one—this is HUGELY important.
Sunscreens come in two different forms: chemical and mineral filters. The most common sunscreens on the market use chemical filters such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule. Oxybenzone is a known endocrine disruptor and has been shown to alter thyroid function.
Diethanolamine is a foaming agent. It’s a known carcinogen and respiratory toxin, which is why the EU has restricted its use in personal care products. Despite this, it’s still used in bubble bath, body wash, and shampoo in the US. It’s often abbreviated as DEA on cosmetic labels.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent once used in antibacterial soaps. In 2016, it was banned from soap used in health-care settings, but it is still allowed in personal cosmetics. Not only does triclosan contribute to antibiotic resistant bacteria, but it’s also an endocrine disruptor and was shown to contribute to gut inflammation and promote tumor growth in mouse studies. Not good.
How I Choose Safer Products for my family
Want to stay up to date when it comes to the clean beauty industry? Join my gut health community on this popup! I send out pretty hefty emails all about safe skin care, cosmetics, and household products.
The perfect balance to me is cleaner, safer skin care that contains both natural and organic traceable ingredients that are safe and actually work. I only support brands that are transparent, do not use any harmful or questionable ingredients, and recognize the need for safety testing of ingredients.