Do Beauty Products Affect Health?
Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and so naturally we want to care for and protect it. We're continuously breaking down chemicals that we're exposed to.
The first barrier of defense against toxins is our skin, aside from our eyes, mouths, and noses. As we continue to learn more, many of us are making what we intentionally use on our skin a high-priority.
Nowadays, we see many stores offering clean products from skincare to household cleaners. Additionally, several companies have created a cleaner version of their original one like Coppertone's Pure and Simple Sunscreen.
Why is this of any concern? Experts claim that what our bodies do not excrete can cause premature aging, skin conditions, and/or diseases. Therefore, it's best to address what it is you are in control of when choosing products for your daily use.
The epidermis is the outermost layer that acts as armor for the body; and consists of five layers. Underneath them is the dermis that has two layers. It's fused by the protein, collagen which creates skin's elasticity and structure. Lastly, is the deepest layer, the hypodermis comprised of fatty tissue.
With all of these layers to protect our insides, can everything that touches our skin absorb into our bodies? Some people have claimed that up to 60% of ingredients enter your bloodstream. However, no confirmed science reports have stated this number.
Many experts are at crossroads when it comes to what and exactly how much is absorbed into our systems.
RMS Beauty founder Rose-Marie Swift told The Cut, “Many think the skin doesn’t absorb anything. But nanoparticles and other gender-bender chemicals are able to penetrate into the body. With the skin being your biggest organ, why not choose things that are safer and healthier for you?”
Gender-bending chemicals are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), particularly those that mimic the female hormone, estrogen. A four-year study on EDCs was conducted at the University of Exeter in Devon, England.
"EDCs have been tentatively linked with human health impacts too, including, falling sperm counts and cardiovascular disease. These findings remain more controversial," explains Professor Tyler, University of Exeter.
Some dermatologists believe that a few ingredients carry a bad rep, but are more of a benefit in small doses. One controversial ingredient is a preservative known as a paraben, which is used to prevent a product from mold and bacteria. For the most part, the majority of people fall somewhere in between with their opinions.
“Science requires clinical research for it to have any religion. Absorption rate has never been shown. My gold standard to any statement is to show me the data... No parabens, sulfates, and phthalates — that’s what I recommend to my wife and kids. The FDA does evaluate scientific evidence. But if you have other choices, then why take a chance. It’s that simple,” Dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross stated in The Cut.
Even if it takes extra time, it's best to fact-check for reassurance. An excellent resource for looking deeper into beauty ingredients is the non-profit organization, Environmental Working Group. If pollutants and UV rays can be absorbed through the skin, it's suspected there's a higher likelihood that toxic elements can, too.
Every ingredient should have a purposeful role; a brand should be transparent about each one. For instance, before using Rescue Skin serum, I read the research and checked every single ingredient through EWG and by reviewing scientific studies. While many beauty products claim to be natural, some have been found to contain toxic components. So, it's in our hands to make an informed decision.
These are a few toxic elements found in most beauty products, according to EWG.
- Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
- Paraformaldehyde, a type of formaldehyde.
- Methylene glycol, a type of formaldehyde.
- Quaternium 15, which releases formaldehyde.
- Mercury, which can damage the kidneys and nervous system.
- Dibutyl and diethylhexyl phthalates, which disrupt hormones and damage the reproductive system.
- Isobutyl and isopropyl parabens, which disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system.
- The long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, which have been linked to cancer.
- M- and o-phenylenediamine, used in hair dyes, which irritate and sensitize the skin, damage DNA and can cause cancer.
The fight for awareness of the possible effects of toxic components is strong. On August 12, 2020, California passed the California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act in hopes that other states will, too.
"California is acting to fix the law regulating personal care products to make it closer to the regulations of the European Union. This crucial legislation brings Californians one step closer to access of the safer personal care products available to European consumers." EWG
BrainMD states, "The average American woman uses about 12 personal care and cosmetic products daily. The average man uses about 6. The chemicals in these products are easily absorbed into your skin and transported to every organ in your body. That means that while you’re trying to look good on the outside, you may be poisoning yourself on the inside."
Of course, we can't avoid everything by living in a bubble. It's all too overwhelming! Just being more conscientious of what we feed our skin every day can make a tremendous difference with health and skin damage. This is why using products with quality, clean ingredients, and backed by science like Rescue Skin serum can ease our mind, body, and skin.