There’s a lot of talk these days about the toxic ingredients in beauty and skin care products – those nasties that are simply not good for you and have no place in a healthy lifestyle. While you may have the best of intentions to clean up your beauty act, it takes a little know-how and effort. The truth is, yes, it does take a minute to evaluate what you already have – but it’s not that much time and it’s so worth it. Here’s why:
Do you remember Love’s Baby Soft? It was my first fragrance and I loved how it made me feel confident, stylish and sporty. I wanted more. As the years went on, each new scent I wore sealed a monumental moment in time. My high school prom (Lauren by Ralph Lauren), my college boyfriend (Halston Z-14), my first apartment (Chanel No. 5), meeting my husband (L’Artisan Parfumeur, Fig) and my promotion to magazine publisher (Hermes Orange de’vert mixed with Kiehl’s musk oil). Each one was like an olfactory flashback.
When you think of sunscreen, it’s logical to assume that something that protects you from skin cancer would be safe to use, especially since the FDA regulates and considers sunscreen ingredients as drugs. But a closer look at the typical ingredients that go into sunscreen can reveal a slew of toxic villain ingredients with the potential to have adverse effects on your health.
Aloe Vera, listed on most skincare products as Aloe Barbadensis, is a superpower in plain sight. The clear gel harvested from the inner leaves of this desert succulent is widely loved and best known for its ability to treat minor burns and soothe sunburn-singed skin yet it is a potent anti-aging ingredient. Comprised of 99% water, its power-wielding 1% of nearly 100 phyto-nutrients, including vitamins, enzymes, sugars, amino acids and minerals, works magic in both healing and rejuvenating skin.
Pressed from the tiny, dried seeds of the lacey white flower head of wild carrot, the wildflower commonly known as Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), carrot seed oil is a powerful anti-aging ingredient. Nearly 40% of this oil is made up of carotenoids, a bright orange pigment that is an antioxidant superstar. The outermost layer of skin is especially good at absorbing carotenoids, making this ingredient that much more effective.
A new discovery in the realm of skincare, prawn sage (Salvia haenkei) may have a bright future in both beauty and medicine. Clinical research exploring the effect of certain botanical extracts eradicating cancer cells, revealed prawn sage extract’s ability to slow down cellular aging. Cellular senescence – also known as aging – means that skin cells loose their ability to divide and regenerate, an unwelcome state brought on by UV exposure and free radical damage. Prawn sage counteracts this process with an apparent ability to lengthen telomeres – the segments of DNA at the ends of our chromosomes, the shortening of which is equated with aging and some forms of cancer.
Birth defects, such as pre-term birth, low birth weight and abnormal development, have been scientifically linked to a variety of ingredients that are widely used in cosmetics. Some do their damage when applied during conception and pregnancy but it is unknown how long they remain in the body, potentially affecting long-term personal health as well as subsequent births. The relative toxicity of these ingredients depends on their concentration in the product and how much of it is applied. Knowing that the FDA does not regulate the concentration of these potentially toxic ingredients, we advocate avoiding them altogether. Why chance it?
Precious and exotic, rose oil is pressed from the blossoms of Bulgarian Rosa Damascena – or the slightly sweeter smelling Moroccan variety, Rosa Centifola. Rose oil and the hydrosol liquid released during the steam distillation process are among the most universally used skin-loving plant essences.
A neurotoxin is a substance that causes damage to your brain. These dangerous toxins can harm the central nervous system, interfering with normal brain development and neurotransmitters, among other detrimental effects. There is alarming evidence in several studies that found more than 200 neurotoxins in the umbilical cord blood of newborns, demonstrating not only how common they are but also the extent to which they’re being passed down to children. The neurotoxins studied are most commonly found in seafood polluted by mercury, flame-retardants, pesticides, many wood preservatives and varnishes, and skincare products.
Argan oil is nutrient rich golden oil that is pressed out of the hard nut that is encased in protective fruit-like pulp. Argan Oil is not only rich in Omega fatty acids; it is particularly rich in the harder to come by Omegas 6 and 9. Paired with antioxidants and an ultra-rich concentration of Vitamin-E this combination of superpowers makes it a supreme treatment for scars or skin in need of repair.