bp, Your Skin, and You.

Remember grade school? (good times, yeah?) Do you remember learning about your skin? It protects you from the environment, it’s made of three basic layers, and it’s porous. Somewhere after grade school most of us forget that last part. At least, we did for awhile.

We LOVE putting stuff on our skin: make-up, lip balm, lotion, sunscreen, cologne, perfume, moisturizers, scrubs, shaving cream/gel, after shave, deodorant .. you get the idea. Naturally, there is always some new product on the market that’s guaranteed to do just what you need it to do. Like any ordinary consumer, we usually add them to our list. We are always waiting to see whether or not the results match the promise.

Now back up. Remember the grade school lesson mentioned in the first paragraph? The one about your skin and everyone’s favorite absorbent and yellow cartoon character’s common characteristic?

It’s porous! Just like other porous substances, our skin will absorb anything that we put on it. Now when we remembered this, we started looking at our own endless sea of skin care and hygiene products. What we found surprised and frustrated us.

We’re so careful about what we put in our bodies, but what about what we put on them? It turns out that oil (like in the bp spill) is found in almost every can, jar, and bottle in our arsenal of skin care products. Well that’s just terrific.

So, what did we find?  Here are a few common ingredients:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Triclosan
  • Pthalates
  • Petroletum
  • “fragrance”

Most of these are derived from oil.  All of them are on several internet lists of ingredients to avoid.

Just how is this affecting our health, anyway? What we’ve been learning is that most of these substances are carcinogenic. What’s more, most of them negatively affect the hormone balance in adults and kids.

Now, from our research, we also know that manufacturers claim that these products are safe. They say that they don’t contain enough of these substances to have any negative impact on your body. We also know that we have a whole list of products (not just one) that contain these chemicals. We’re not scientists, but we’re pretty sure that the daily combined chemical use from all of our various products is NOT below the limits of causing harm.

So, being us, we decided that there has to be a better way. Whether we’re right or not, we feel more comfortable playing it safe. We’ve pretty much cut out all of these chemicals from our lives, and we are VERY happy with our alternatives. In most cases, they actually perform better than the products that we were using before.

We found a great book on the topic while wondering into a book store on a trip to New Mexico a few months ago.

The Green Beauty Guide.  We highly recommend it.  (click to order from Amazon)

We continue to check food ingredients lists, but now we also check the ingredients lists on our personal care products. If we don’t recognize an ingredient, we generally assume that we don’t want it.

Here’s a little flash video on the topic from http://www.safecosmetics.org/. We hope you enjoy The Story of Stuff as much as we did.


3 thoughts on “bp, Your Skin, and You.

  1. Erin

    Woo! Love this. Totally agree. I’ve been working on changing over all my products little by little…it’s tough. I’d love to know some of your faves!


  2. WE ❤ Dr. Bronner's Castille soap.

    It's good for just about everything. Just ignore the crazy scripts on the bottle. Dr. Bronner WAS crazy. His children (who now run the business) are not. The crazy jibberish is a tribute to him, and is a carryover from when he was running things.

    There are others. Remember the post on reading labels?

    We do a lot of that for these kinds of products.

    Knowing WHAT to avoid, however, can be tricky.


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