Toxic Additives in Skin and Haircare Products

How many of us in the name of beauty, slather our faces, bodies or hair with creams, lotions and potions that may be harmful to our health? The visible signs of aging and having beautiful skin depends on many factors, some of which we can partially control to help gain a more healthy and youthful appearance. Skin damage can take some time to reverse or change, but it is well worth it and your general health will benefit also.

To begin, read the labels on your skin, body or hair products and avoid the following:

Parabens are widely used preservatives in the cosmetic industry.  Research has shown that their hormone-disrupting qualities mimic estrogen and could disrupt your body’s endocrine system.

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum. Petroleum products coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging.

Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
Found in over 90% of personal care products! They break down your skin’s moisture barrier, potentially leading to dry skin with premature aging. SLS combined with other chemicals may become a “nitrosamine” – a potent carcinogen.

Acrylamide is found in many facial creams. Research has shown has found this is linked to mammary tumors.

Propylene glycol is a common cosmetic moisturizer and carrier for fragrance oils. May cause dermatitis and skin irritation. May inhibit skin cell growth. Research has linked this chemical to kidney and liver problems.

Phenol carbolic acid is found in many lotions and skin creams is a potentially dangerous chemical that  may  cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death from respiratory failure.

Dioxane is hidden in ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols are common in personal care products. These chemicals are often contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane that’s easily absorbed through the skin. Its carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965, and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978.

Toluene, made from petroleum and coal tar and is found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure may be linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage.

Source: Dr. Mercola at

A few simple hints to help your skin avoid damage and premature aging:

  • Chlorine causes oxidative damage and hot water may cause your skin to age faster. If you use hot water to wash your face, the chemical reactions from chlorine in our water supply increases with the temperature of the water. Hot water or heat also may cause the small blood vessels just below the skin to rupture. Adjust the temperature of the water you bathe or washe in and, if possible, invest in a water purifier to attach to your shower or household supply that removes chlorine.
  • Use gentle and safe skin care products that are organic if possible. It is important to remember that our skin absorbs everything we put on it!  So take steps not to compromise the health of your skin and body by using potentially dangerous chemical poisons.
  • Remove makeup and the buildup of dirt before retiring to bed. Skin needs to breathe and heal during the night, so take a couple of minutes to thoroughly cleanse your face before you go to sleep.
  • Avoid applying heavy moisturisers .. if you need to apply creams or oils to your skin at night, make sure they are light and quickly absorbed. Do not use anything that leaves a ‘greasy’ film as your skin needs to breathe and replenish natural oils whilst you are sleeping.
  • Try to sleep on your back. Pressing your face into a pillow may cause small lines or wrinkles to develop.
  • Watch your diet! Everything we put into our bodies also results in the way our skin looks and ages. Artificial chemical additives and too much sugar, coffee or alcohol contain free-radicals and cause oxidative stress and eventually makes our skin appear lifeless or prematurely aged. Remember what we are on the ‘inside’ reflects what you see on the ‘outside’. Eat or juice plenty of fresh, raw fruit and vegetables. Read ‘Juicing your way to health and vitality’.
  • Drink plenty of pure, filtered fresh water every day to keep your body and your skin hydrated.
  • If you smoke, get some help in giving up. Smoking causes free radical damage, which has been proven to be contribute to the premature signs of aging and of course is also harmful to your general health.
  • Sunburn is dangerous and aging to the skin. Avoid being in the hot, summer sun for extended periods of time – 10 minutes is generally all the skin can tolerate without being damaged. Always cover up or use a sunscreen with safe ingredients such a zinc and natural carrier oils if you intend being in the sun for longer periods.
  • Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week with a natural exfoliator as this removes dead skin cells to reveal the new skin beneath.
  • Gently apply all your skin products, including your exfoliator. Rubbing your skin vigorously may damage the small blood vessels just below the skin’s surface.

Use only all-natural substances on your skin:

Organic, virgin coconut oil/butter is easily absorbed through the skin. It is ideal to soften dry, rough or wrinkled skin and for the damag caused by over-exposure to the sun.

Aloe vera gel contains amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and proteins to help rehydrate, and soothe the skin, particularly if you have sunburn. Its polysaccarides contain hydrogen and ormus (click here to read about ormus) which increase hydration of the skin cells.

Rosehip Oil is both nourishing and rejuvenating, particularly as it contains 80% essential fatty acids and is rich in vitamin C – the vitamin essential for the production of collagen. It is beneficial for sunburn and assists in the rehydration of dry or aging skin.

Vitamin E, because of its antioxidant activity, is vital in protecting skin cells from ultra violet light, pollution and other elements that produce cell damaging free radicals. The oil may be applied to the skin before applying suntan cream. As vitamin E oil is generally thick, it can be mixed with other oils such as rosehip, sweet almond, hemp seed etc.

Use a pure clay to cleanse and detoxify your skin a few times a week. Ran Knishinsky writes in his book ‘The Clay Cure’ .. “The clay facial mask deep-cleanses pores, exfoliates dead cells, and leaves the skin feeling soft and clean. It stimulates skin circulation and has an astringent action on sagging tissues. The facial muscles become toned from the application of the clay mask”. Calcium Bentonite Clay may be used in a bath, as a body or face mask, or as a body ‘wash’ to both cleanse and detoxify the skin of the entire body.

Raw, organic honey has natural anti-oxidant properties and protects the skin from premature aging and may help with the damage caused by ultraviolet light. Try adding half a cup of honey to your bath water to moisturise and smooth skin after spending time in the sun.

Hemp seed oil used in cosmetics and skin care products, contains a high amount of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic acids), which makes it an important ingredient in anti-inflammatory skin care formulations. It helps balance dry skin and fight skin inflammation, it is a non-greasy and moisturizing compound with excellent anti-aging and moisture balancing properties.

A few other organic, cold pressed oils to use on the skin: Camellia, Avocado, Sweet Almond, Olive and Apricot Kernel.

Essential Oils to benefit the skin:

Orange Oil is considered an excellent skin tonic and helps with skin rejuvenation.
Calendula Oil is widely used to moisturise, soften and rejuvenate the skin and reduce the appearance of the natural signs of aging.
Lavender is the most popular and widely-used essential oil.
Lemon Oil helps fade age spots.

Remember to love the skin you are in! It took a long time for your skin to begin to show signs of damage or aging, so be patient. Damage can be reversed slowly.