There are times when I'm travelling so much that I'm thankful all the under-eye baggage I have is at least carry-on! Wan wan...
Joking aside, don't we all just want to look good?
Cosmetic and personal care is a billion dollar industry that caters to our need to smell good, look good, and feel good.
On average women are directly exposed to 515 different chemicals daily in everything from cosmetics to lotions, fragrances, and styling products.
While there isn't anything inherently wrong with wanting to give our appearances a boost, the long-term consequences of using many conventional health and beauty products may have you feeling less than attractive.
'Toxins' can be used to describe any synthetic or non-synthetic molecule that has the potential to negatively affect your health.
Our bodies are designed to handle daily toxic exposures though our elimination organs, including the liver, kidney, and lungs. Luckily, there are many toxins we come into daily contact with that has little immediate effect on our health. But what about toxic accumulation over your lifetime?
It's the things that we consume on a regular basis that raise the biggest concerns because of toxic accumulation.
Anything that enters our bodies through direct contact with our mucosal membranes, inhaled into our lungs or touches our skin for long periods of time have the highest chance of entering our blood stream and altering our physiology, for good or bad.
So, even though regular contact with these toxins may not immediately influence our health, over time this exposure can produce significant negative effects, such as:
• Immune dysfunction
• Thyroid dysfunction
• Skin conditions
• Poor libido
• Sexual performance issues
Toxic chemicals are NOT the sole reasons for these diseases, but they are potential triggers for a person who is predisposed (ie. genetics) or have other unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices.
While it is near impossible to avoid all toxins, all the time, minimizing your toxic exposure and accumulation when possible is essential to your health, and a great place to start is with your personal care products.
Be sure to check the ingredients for what is known as the "dirty dozen" in personal care by taking the list below with you when making personal care product choices:
1. Bisphenol-A (BPA)
A common xenoestrogen found in plastics, but also used in moisturizers and make-up as a preservative. BPA is associated with tumor growth, hormone dysfunction, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease, while also harms the environment when it leaches into the ground.
2. Coal Tar Dyes
Common in hair dyes. It appears as "p-phenylenediamine" or colours listed as "Cl" followed by five digits. Also contains heavy metals which are toxic and linked to cancer.
Diethanolamine (DEA) makes products soapy and sudsy but irritates the skin. It can cause negative effects to the immune and nervous systems.
4. Dibutyl phthalate
Found in nail polishes and plastics. Studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, obesity, diabetes, thyroid irregularities and can enhances genetic mutations.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing AgentsThese chemicals irritate the skin and eyes, while harming marine life when flushed into water systems. Examples are chemicals such as:
- DMDM hydantoin
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
Fragrances are considered "trade secrets" and many contain toxic chemicals. If a company is not willing to disclose their ingredients, I'd consider avoiding their use.
These common preservative found in make-up, toothpaste, and deodorants are linked to breast cancer & hormone disruption.
8. PEG compounds
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) compounds open skin pores, which allows harmful chemicals to penetrate. They are often found in creams and have been linked to cancer.
Petrolatum is also known as mineral oil jelly. This chemical caracinogen is common in moisturizers.
Used to soften, smooth and moisten skin, however it can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs.
11. Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS)
This is a very common ingredient added to shampoos, soaps and toothpastes to create a foaming effect. SLS may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, both of which can cause cancer.
Found in antiperspirants, deodorants, cleansers and hand sanitizers as a preservative and anti-bacterial agent, which interferes with hormone function.
- Green Beaver
- Kiss My Face
- Earth Science
- Burt's Bees
- Pure + Simple
- Living Libation
- Dr. Bronner's Magic soap
Better yet, there are many different ways to formulate your own health care products with natural ingredients such as olive oil, coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oils, where YOU control what you put on, and consequently in, your body.
Looking good inside and out should go hand in hand. When we take care of our bodies it will show.
Eating well, exercising, getting enough water, and limiting our toxic exposures will help to ensure our health now and in the future.
After all, we all know that beauty really isn't only skin deep... it's what's inside that counts!
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ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
Let's face it, sleep deprivation looks good on NO one -- no matter how much makeup you wear. Just one sleepless night can dramatically impact your appearance. So start scheduling in those eight hours!
Get your blood pumping in the morning with a light jog, workout or yoga. Everyone looks healthier and more alert with that rosy post-workout glow.
When you make your morning cup of black tea, don't toss the bags. Put them in the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to cool down. Next, place them over your eyes for about 10 minutes to transform your peepers from sleepy and puffy to bright and alert.
For bright glowing skin, be sure to exfoliate at least once a week. Try using an exfoliating brush that will leave your skin extra clean, smooth and radiant. Don't forget to exfoliate your lips as well (you can use your toothbrush) for a smooth and plump pout. Try: Clarisonic Smart Profile Face and Body ($299 at Sephora)
Krystin Goodwin of Buzz60 recommends using witch hazel as a natural toner. It will cleanse your skin, tighten your pores and reduce oil. Find more natural skincare tips here.
Well shaped and groomed eyebrows can frame your face and eyes, and polish your look. Clean up your brows and brush them upward before heading out. If your brows are sparse you can always try brow extensions as you wait for them to grow in (no makeup required!).
Moisturize your face with a brightening cream for a smooth, glowing complexion. You can also use an eye brightening cream to reduce puffiness and brighten beneath your eyes. Try: Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Serum by Peter Thomas Roth ($102 at Sephora) Try: Eye Duty Triple Remedy: Brighten, Depuff and Smooth ($45 at Sephora)
No one enjoys the look of a bright red sunburn. And too much sun exposure can speed up the aging process causing wrinkles, dark spots and scaly patches. So to maintain your skin's youthful appearance, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily that’s at least SPF 30.
For long and curly eyelashes that will open up your eyes without mascara, simply give them a pinch of your eyelash curler. Makeup artist Sona Gasparian also suggests applying a little Aquaphor on your eyelash to make them appear wet and darker as though you're wearing mascara. She also adds it to the high points of her cheeks in place of highlighter for a dewy glow.
To naturally plump up your pout, apply peppermint oil or cinnamon oil to your lips. Try: Cinnamon Plumping Lip Oil by Bite Beauty ($25 at Sephora).
For rosy cheeks without blush, just pinch or pat your cheeks to get your get your circulation flowing. Unfortunately, the rosiness won't last all day as with blush, so you will have to repeat.
Wearing light-coloured earrings or a statement necklace with gems will reflect more light on your face to fill in shadows and make your eyes sparkle.
Wearing the right colour for your skin tone will help to brighten your complexion. Watch this video to learn the most flattering colours for your tone.
Styling your hair is, of course, the perfect way to polish off your look. Try out these braided styles that are great for hot weather, or these styling products that will come in handy for taming frizzy hair.
Follow Dr. Alison Chen, ND on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrAlisonChenND