'No' to chemicals

Say ‘no’ to chemicals: the shocking truth about most skincare, toiletry and laundry products

With very, very few exceptions – and despite what the manufacturers may have you believe – the vast majority of skincare, toiletry, beauty and cleaning products contain a high percentage of potentially dangerous, manmade, synthetic chemicals.

Most of the research being done in this area is American, but its application is universal. To offer just two examples:

  • Newborn babies may have as many as 287 (or more) chemicals from pesticides, consumer products, packaging etc. in their bodies of which 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests (1).

  • Tests suggest that women can absorb five pounds of chemicals each year from their daily makeup routines alone. On average, women apply 126 different ingredients to their skin daily and 90 percent of them have never been evaluated for safety (2).

    Wild & Precious No ChemicalsWild & Precious No Chemicals

    Of course, the body doesn’t absorb everything it comes into contact with. For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage (3). Other studies found the face to be several times more permeable than broad body surfaces and an absorption rate of 100% for underarms and – ahem – genitalia (4). And another peer-reviewed study showed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients (5).

    Many relatively innocent ingredients can carry hidden dangers. Take ethanol (a type of alcohol), for instance, which is often found in skincare products. It has the effect of increasing the absorption rates of other chemicals that are present, both because it breaks down the skin’s natural barriers and because it tends to pull apart chemicals into their individual constituents so that they are small enough to absorb (6). (Please note there are good alcohols and bad alcohols… we can provide more information if you are interested.)

    There is ample evidence to show that many (if not most) of the mass-produced products we use every day to wash our hair, clean our teeth, moisturise our skin, launder our clothes and so forth may be exposing us to terrible health risks. One of the biggest concerns is how all the synthetic chemicals we have absorbed into our bodies are interacting. Could this, for example, be one of the reasons why cancer is becoming so prevalent?

    If you are interested in learning more about this subject, then a good place to start your research is to visit the Environmental Working Group website: www.ewg.org You will also find lots of information and links in our Blog and on our Facebook page.

    1 EWG
    2 EWG
    3 Brown et al. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. Am J Public Health. 1984 May; 74(5): 479–484.
    4 Kasting and Kretsos. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2005;18:55-74.
    5 The Importance of Exposure Estimation in the Assessment of Skin Sensitization Risk. Contact Dermatitis 2000; 42:251-259.