Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Choose Skincare Products

This month at Pasture Living, we are doing a series on how to take care of our skin naturally. The skin is the body’s largest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it directly into the body’s bloodstream; bypassing the organs that would filter out harmful ingredients. This is why it is so important to know what we put on our skin. 

Today we will be discussing on how to choose natural and safe skincare products.

I read this article a few months back about cancer-causing formaldehyde being in baby products and it is a concern! We think that baby products are mild, safe, and as natural as they can be. But it is not the case. In fact, there are so many questionable ingredients in skincare products that we do not want for our bodies, what more little babies? Our skin is the largest organ of the body and it absorbs everything that we put on it. So what we put on our skin is as important as what we eat. 

If you think about it, we apply skincare products to our babies from the day they are born. Their perfect skin right away is exposed to chemicals that are not meant for their skin. Continuous use of unsafe and (generally) cheap skincare products will lead to skin problems, allergies, and even hormonal issues, both for children and adults. 

So, What Can We Do?

There are plenty of recipes online that you can make to nourish your skin naturally. But if you have to buy them, here are some suggestions to buying good and safe skincare products:

- Read ingredient labels. Just like food products, there are preservatives such as parabens, phenoxyethanol, and benzyl alcohol and additives added to skincare to make the products marketable and extend their shelf life. Even some naturally-derived ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphate and cocamidopropyl betaine, both derived from coconut oil, are known to cause allergies and skin irritations. Read here on ingredients to avoid in skincare products.

- Learn the marketing terms on skincare products. "Natural" and "organic" don't mean much anymore. Claims such as "no-tears formula" or "hypoallergenic" are also, well, they are just that - they are claims, for which no governing bodies regulate. 

- Buy higher quality natural skincare products. Even though they are generally more expensive, your skin will thank you and you will likely save money from treating or reversing the harmful effects on your skin later on. They are also generally more environmentally friendly.

- Go fragrance-free. Many skincare products contain synthetic fragrance that is not good for our health. Inhaling them may lead to headaches, migraines, runny nose and eyes, and sinus problems. There is really no good reason for fragrance on our skin. They are meant for marketability. 

- Check the EWG database for ratings on skincare products. The better the rating, the better it is for your skin (and also for the environment).

There will always be something in the ingredient labels that we don't like. We really can't always avoid all exposure but we can minimize it as much as we can.

What are your favorite natural skincare products?

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