For many of us, the desire to maintain young and healthy looking skin often leads straight to the pharmacy. Aisles upon aisles of cleansers, moisturizers, eye creams, wrinkle-reducers, dark-spot-removers and more promise to wash away the grit and grease or take years off our faces. Yet with every application, you are bombarding your skin with a hefty dose of unsafe chemicals.
The average woman uses 12 cosmetic products daily, exposing herself to over 168 chemical ingredients. The average man uses 6 cosmetic products daily, exposing himself to over 85 chemical ingredients and the average child is exposed to 27 personal care product ingredients that are not even considered safe for growing bodies. Furthermore 77 percent of the ingredients in the over 1,700 products marketed specifically for children have yet to be assessed for safety.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the FDA does not review or approve a majority of the ingredients before they hit the market. This is somewhat disconcerting considering many of these ingredients are known carcinogens and yet are hidden under the guise of vague terms such as “fragrance” which can encompass thousands of different harmful ingredients.
So how do you keep your skin healthy without exposing it to an onslaught of dangerous chemicals?
First, evaluate the safety of your products via the Environmental Working Group’s skin deep website. They’ve evaluated thousands of products on the market and put together helpful lists of harmful chemicals to be on the lookout for. You can see just how your favorites stack up and find safer alternatives. They’ve also decoded the chemical-lingo so you’ll know just what terms are code-words for carcinogens.
Second, cut back on the use of products altogether and turn to truly natural ingredients such as mint for the treatment of acne or papaya for its antimicrobial properties. There’s a reason so many lotions are marketed with cucumbers on the label, it’s because actual cucumbers are effective at reducing puffiness and preventing breakouts. Utilize natural ingredients like coconut oil as a moisturizer or apple cider vinegar as a cleanser. Remember, if you wouldn’t want to put it in your body, then you probably shouldn’t put it on your body!
Third, work from the inside out. Eat a healthy diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables and avoid wheat and soy-based products. Don’t skimp on healthy fats that provide your body with essential oils and nutrients that keep skin glowing. Rather cut out the processed stuff like sodas and sugary snacks. Your skin has a lot to say about what’s going on internally so by keeping healthy on the inside, you’ll be looking healthy on the outside.
Finally, limit your sun exposure during peak hours. While a little sun exposure is beneficial, too much is damaging to the skin. Many of the sunscreens on the market contain harsh chemicals such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone, which should be avoided. So keep a hat on if you go outside and avoid tanning beds at all costs. You won’t have to worry about buying an anti-wrinkle cream if you don’t wrinkle in the first place!
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