UH, OH GIRLS…

Most women I know, myself included, love make-up. It makes us feel put together and gives us a little boost before we head out into the world. Part of me really didn’t want to know that the average woman absorbs close to five pounds of chemicals through her daily beauty routine. Five pounds!

According the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, almost 900 of these chemicals are known toxins. Parabens, for example, have health wellness massagersbeen found in trace amounts in breast tumor samples. Sulfates, in particular sodium lauryl sulfate, have been linked to skin irritations and allergies. The scariest part is, as bad as these substances are on their own, there has been no testing done to determine the effects when they are combined in our bodies.

In truth, applying these chemicals to our skin is worse for us than if we ate them. If they were ingested our natural digestive enzymes would start to break down the compounds making them easier for the body to flush out. When absorbed through the skin, they directly enter the blood stream without being filtered.

I feel a bit better knowing that I use organic and natural cosmetics. Luckily these are more readily available than ever and they work beautifully. Beware of false advertising, though. There are some companies that will add a miniscule amount of organic chamomile or lavender to a cosmetic just so they can use the “organic” and “natural” buzz words on their labels – despite the fact that the rest of the product is laden with chemicals.

I also found out about a wonderful tool developed by the Environmental Working Group that makes shopping a breeze. Called SkinDeep, this online program allows you to search a database of nearly 25,000 products that have been rated for their toxicity. Just enter in the brand of your toothpaste, eye shadow or deodorant and within seconds you’ll be able to see the rating. There’s also a nifty tool which helps you to create a customized shopping list of safe products. You can find SkinDeep (and a lot of great information) at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/.

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