Just For Moms: Spring Cleaning for Your Skin

Does your cosmetics shelf look like your grandmother’s? It shouldn’t! Today, there are plenty of natural, organic, and green cosmetics that are readily available, so there’s no reason to stick to the chemical-filled products of yesteryear.

   Start your spring cleaning by throwing away expired and chemical-laden cosmetics, and get ready to start making purchases that reflect the health-conscious mother that you are. Treat your skin as carefully as you feed your children.

What to Avoid
   Here are four ingredients to avoid because they add no value to the skin. In fact, each one smothers or disrupts the skin’s natural processes, causing it to lose its ability to breathe, renew, and restore itself.

   1. Silicones are manmade rubberlike compounds that add glide and smoothness to cosmetics. Dimethicone is a silicone oil used at levels as high as 15 percent in some cosmetic formulas. It is designed to stay on the top of the skin and create a barrier your fingertips can feel, making it seem that the texture of your skin is soft and velvety. But actually, your skin is unable to breathe; it is only the dimethicone that your fingers feel — not your skin at all.

   2. Mineral oil, liquid petroleum, and petroleum jelly don’t work in harmony with your skin. Mineral oil and petroleum are the by-products of the distillation of petroleum in the manufacturing of gasoline. When you see it in your product, find the garbage can quickly. Petroleum jelly is often used to correct dry skin, but in fact it interrupts your skin’s ability to moisturize itself, leading to a vicious cycle of excessive dryness and chapping. Breaking the cycle will create only a few days of dry skin until your skin can rebound.

   3. Fragrance oils are the great imitators of nature. You would think that strawberry, melon and grape scents are natural, but in reality they are manufactured in labs. Read the list of ingredients: it will say “parfum,” “perfume,” or “fragrance” if it is lab-created, and “essential oils” if it is nature-created. Why does it matter? For one thing, fragrance oils use phthalates, which are plasticizers, to hold the product onto the body. There is a mountain of research on the safety hazards of phthalates, especially during pregnancy and with young babies. And fragrance oils are a major cause of allergies. Many people don’t realize that it is their cosmetics that may be causing their headaches, asthma, or skin rash until they stop using the products and find that they feel better.

   4. Aluminum is the active ingredient in antiperspirants. However, there are several reasons to avoid aluminum in your cosmetics. Researchers have found a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, and a possible connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer. The scientific data isn’t conclusive, but the red flag raised is enough to suggest caution about the use of a questionable ingredient in an area of the body that easily absorbs ingredients and was designed to sweat. Sweating is an important function, allowing the body to remove toxins and regulate itself.

   Your skin is the largest organ and the packaging you are wrapped in. Even if you don’t have problem skin today, ill treatment of your skin now will cost you dearly in premature wrinkles and fine lines later in life. So leave manmade and risky chemicals behind, and start a healthier skin regimen today.

KAYLA FIORAVANTI, RA, is the chief formulator and co-founder of Essential Wholesale, Essential Labs, and von Natur. www.essentialwholesale.com.