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What Are You Feeding Your Skin?

Posted by on in Skin Care Education
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          Paleo. Gluten-free. Locavore. Traditional. Vegan. All hot button words in the world of diet.  Although these diets greatly vary, each reflects modern consumers’ desire to be conscious of what they’re eating and how it’s affecting them. People are no longer taking the claims on the front of the box at face value. We’re educating ourselves on ingredients and reading labels and taking responsibility for what we’re putting into our bodies.

          But are we questioning what we’re putting onto our bodies?


          Ten years ago if I walked into a store to buy moisturizer, my selection process consisted of popping the cap on each bottle and lightly squeezing to see if it smelled nice (and sometimes getting an embarrassing bit of moisturizer on my nose.) A more in-depth selection process meant that I read the claims on the front of the bottle to see if it was right for my skin type.

          I never thought to ask the one question I should have been asking all along: Is it safe to put on my skin?

          If someone had asked me at the time if my personal care products were “safe”, I would have looked at them like they had a third eye. Of course it’s safe. They can’t sell it if it isn’t safe…right?

          Contrary to popular belief, there is no governing body that regulates the safety of all cosmetics. It is up to the consumers to educate themselves on the products they choose to purchase.  From the FDA website: With the important exception of color additives that are not coal-tar hair dyes, cosmetic ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority.”  This means that, except for a handful of toxic ingredients that the FDA outright bans in cosmetics, anything else is game. 

          What is the FDA banning? Not much. As of 2003, the FDA had 11 cosmetic ingredients on their banned or restricted list.  The European Union had 1,328 toxic chemicals banned.

What about those claims on the front of the bottle that used to be my purchasing guide? There are no standards or requirement for these claims.  The ingredients are the most honest thing on the label.


I started flipping my bottles around and reading the unpronounceable words in the ingredient list. At first I felt overwhelmed, but then I turned to my trusty computer and just started typing in words like paraben and polyethylene glycol and seemingly harmless ones like fragrance. I found that conventional cosmetics are made up of a cocktail of chemicals that at best are allergens and at worst carcinogens and hormone disruptors.


What we put onto our bodies ultimately ends up being what we put into our bodies. We've made great strides in being more vigilant about what we eat.  We need to start educating ourselves on what we’re feeding our skin.




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Nicole i's passionate about natural living, real food, community, books and cafe au laits. She can be contacted at nicole@hosienaturals.com


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