When I completely overhauled my diet over five years ago to a grain-free/paleo style of eating I thought that was enough to improve my health. I was eating healthy, exercising, studying hard to become a doctor, and enjoying life. And I definitely noticed a huge improvement in so many of my health problems. My chronic diarrhea resolved, my headaches stopped, I no longer got heat rashes, I started sleeping better and had more energy. However, I still struggled with severe keratosis pilaris (KP) and adult acne. So I started doing more and more research into these skin conditions, and the underlying factors that can cause them. Because I don't believe in simply putting bandaid solutions on these issues. I believe in getting to the root cause and treating those.
Through my research I started to learn just how significant the effects that our environmental exposures can be on our bodies. In the past I never thought that what I was putting on my skin could actually be making my skin conditions worse or potentially causing even more devastating health consequences. I followed my doctor's advice for treatments but neither of my skin conditions really improved. That's when I really started researching just what I was putting on my skin. And the information I found was not pretty. Actually pretty scary, if not terrifying. Since then I have been on a mission to clean up my skin care and beauty routine and to educate others about this topic as well. I have completely healed my keratosis pilaris in doing so (you can read how I did that in this post) and my acne is slowly healing as well. So I decided it was finally time that I share some of these scary skincare facts with you as well. Because knowledge is power. And this knowledge is particularly horrifying.
1. The last time a law was passed regulating the personal care industry in the United States was in 1938 (Yes that is almost 100 years ago!).
2. The laws in the US do not provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the power to ask cosmetic companies for safety data or to issue recalls of cosmetics found to be unsafe. In other words, the FDA really has no power to regulate the skincare industry at all, which means that you really can’t trust “FDA approved” products.
3. Only 20% of the skincare ingredients that are used today have actually been tested for safety.
4. In Canada, the Auditor General recently announced that Health Canada does not regularly test cosmetic products to verify the accuracy of product labels, or to check for the presence of prohibited substances, contaminants, or heavy metals.”
5. Companies are not required to disclose all of the ingredients in their skincare or beauty products on the labels.
6. Terms like "fragrance" and "scent" are considered to be trade secrets, meaning that
companies don’t have to tell you what these ingredients contain, and it's known that there are over 3000 chemicals that can be used to make a fragrance.
7. The European Union has banned 1400 ingredients from their skincare products while the US has banned only 11 and Canada only 600.
8. There are no regulations for using the terms “natural,” “organic,” or “botanical” on product labels.
9. Many chemicals used in the skincare industry can cause hormone imbalances, and these ingredients are often not listed on labels. Phthalates and parabens are some of the most common hormone disrupting ingredients, and they are also linked to cancers as well as birth defects and infertility.
10. Ingredients that are known to cause cancer, neurological problems, behavioral problems, allergies, and infertility are all allowed in products marketed to children and babies.
11. The rates of cancer continue to rise, and it’s known that 1 in 5 skincare and beauty products on the market contain ingredients that are linked to cancer.
12. Our newborns are already being contaminated with toxic chemicals before they are even born. It has been shown that the umbilical cord blood of new born babies contains over 200 industrial chemicals at the time of birth.
13. Women use an average of 12 personal care products containing 168 ingredients daily; men use an average of 6 personal care products containing 85 unique ingredients daily, and teenage girls use an average of 17 personal care products daily.
14. In Canada, if a company wants to introduce a new skincare or beauty product, it doesn’t need to inform Health Canada until 10 days AFTER that product has been on the market.
15. 95% of lipsticks on the market contain lead, and companies are not required to test for this contaminant, or to disclose it on the label. Lead is a known neurotoxin and has been banned from almost every other industry because it is so dangerous to human health.
Aren't those facts horrifying? When I first learned about those statistics I wanted to be sick. We are basically being used as one giant science experiment. It's no wonder we are becoming sicker and sicker as a society. The rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, allergies, cancers, skin conditions, autoimmune diseases etc. continue to rise each day. And our genetics cannot explain it. This increased prevalence of disease is all due to environmental exposures, with our skincare and beauty products being just one piece of that puzzle. And while we can't control many of the things we are exposed to on a daily basis, you can control what you are putting on your body. So why not choose brands that only use ingredients that are known to be safe? I personally have switched all of my skincare and beauty products to safer brands. It took some time, but over the past year I have rid my bathroom of all my old toxin containing products. So far, the best brands that I have discovered, and that I personally use include Beautycounter, Om Organics, Primally Pure and Neal's Yard Remedies.
If you would like some specific skincare recommendations please send me a message and I will do my best to try and help. Or if you use and love other brands please let me know what they are. I am always looking for new products and brands to try.
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DISCLAIMERS: The statements made on this website have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. You assume full responsibility for how you use this information. Always consult with your physician or other health professionals before making any diet or lifestyle changes.
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