New Year, New Approach to Skincare: Why embrace natural skincare in 2019
New Year, New Approach to Skincare.
— Natalie Earles explains why embracing natural skincare in 2019 is more important than ever. Let’s make it your best year yet…
Our skin is our bodies largest organ and what we put on it really does matter. A percentage of everything we place on our skin is either absorbed into our bloodstream or penetrates within the layers of our skin and certain chemicals have the ability to disrupt the way our body naturally functions.
On average we use 9 personal care products a day being exposed to 126 unique chemical ingredients, all that before we may even walking out our front door in the morning. The most frightening of these chemicals are ones we refer to as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
So, what exactly does an EDC do I hear you ask? Exactly what the name suggests - it has the ability to interact with our endocrine system and cause disruption to its normal function. Our endocrine system is responsible for our bodies hormone production, it helps to regulate our metabolism, growth and development, sleep and mood as well sexual and reproductive function (all of the important things).
EDC’s are found commonly in personal care products and there is an increasing level of concern around their adverse health effects, particularly during foetal, neonatal and childhood development. These chemicals are able to mimic our natural hormones and disrupt their normal function, they have been linked to things such increased risk and proliferation of certain cancers, reproductive issues and birth defects. New evidence also suggests that when pregnant women are exposed to chemicals such as phthalates, parabens and phenols found in personal care products their daughters are more likely to enter puberty earlier, highlighting the hormonal health effects these chemicals can have.
Although EDCs aren’t the only reason to think about swapping to natural skin care, there are also certain chemicals that can exacerbate reactions to conditions such as dermatitis and asthma. Most mainstream personal care products are a combination of chemicals you definitely wouldn’t want to be eating so we need to start thinking if we really want to be absorbing them into our body through our skin.
Swapping to natural skincare may seem a little daunting at first especially if this is the first time you’ve looked into it but I’m here to make the transition a little easier for you. Below are some of my top ingredients to ditch as well as some suggestions to help you welcome a healthier 2019.
The ingredients to avoid
Parabens are used as a preservative in skin care products and have been shown to have oestrogenic activity, their use has been linked to and can proliferate some breast cancer cells.
Phthalates are used to moisturise or soften the skin and create flexibility in plastics, they are serious endocrine disruptors and prenatal exposure to these chemicals has been linked to birth defects.
Sodium lauryl sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate (sls)
SLS is one that I often recommend is avoided for anyone with sensitive skin or conditions such as dermatitis and eczema, there is an increased risk of chemical sensitivity reaction in people with these conditions. SLS causes disruption to our skin barrier function and allows the absorption of other nasty ingredients more readily into our blood stream.
In Australia you need to declare in your products if you have used a fragrance, however it is up to the individual companies if they wish to list what the fragrance is actually made from. These are often made with a concoction of chemicals that can have varying detrimental health effects, they may also irritate those with pre-existing skin conditions or make them worse. It may be listed as either fragrance, fragrances, parfum or parfums.
For those with sensitive skin or dermatitis I always recommend avoiding any products with fragrances unless it is noted that they are exclusively derived from natural essential oils.
Whilst this one isn’t an ‘unnatural’ ingredient so to speak when we are talking about swapping to natural skincare looking at the antiperspirants you use hits pretty close to the top of my list.
Aluminium salts are the active ingredient in most antiperspirants, they are known to have the ability to cause DNS alterations, being a metalloestrogen they can also affect the gene expression of cells responding to oestrogen. For these reasons it has been linked to being a likely contributing factor to conditions such as breast cancer and breast cysts.
Some other notable ingredients to avoid include Triclosan, Formaldehyde, PEG compounds and Petroleum.
Easy ways to make the switch
Swap your antiperspirant for a natural alternative
First off make sure you swap to an aluminium free option.
If you’re ready to go full natural - crystal, bi carb or essential oil-based deodorants are a great option. If you are worried you won’t get enough odour control using a natural deodorant using a crystal spray and essential oil roll on together is a great option.
Swap your make up wipe for a skin friendly oil and cotton round
Ditching conventional make up wipes can see you swapping from using a product that contains on average 24 ingredients to just one. I like to use an oil like sweet almond oil and remove make up by using this an a cotton round. For those with oilier or acne prone skin I suggest trying jojoba oil instead.
Swap your body moisturiser for an oil
Again, by ditching the conventional body moisturisers for a simple oil you are reducing the amount of chemicals you are exposed to significantly. My favourite oils for the body include Coconut oil and sweet almond oil.
Make your own products
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