Do you know what’s in your beauty products?

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I received such an awesome article from Harmless House – a local online store that sells premium organic bath and body products – and it really got me thinking! It’s scary to think that the very same beauty products we’re using to keep our skin beautiful, can also cause so much damage in the long the run! Have a read below, this article will really open your eyes…

A supermarket aisle is the ideal place to see people’s priorities illustrated. Down the food aisles, people are reading ingredients list- checking for artificial colourants, the fat content, is this bag of lettuce organic? However, in the body product aisle someone may stop to smell a new deodorant, but otherwise they are chucking in the good ‘old faithful’s’- the shampoo, the body wash, shave gel, body cream, and deodorant. But with the average person applying 126 unique ingredients to their skin everyday- are the products we use not worth some consideration? Nobody stops to turn the bottle over- because what could possibly be in a body product that wouldn’t be good for you?

One of the most common cosmetic ingredients is parabens, an ingredient which has had a fair amount of research done on it in the last few years. Parabens are used to extend the shelf life of products as they prohibit the growth of mold and bacteria- essentially a preservative. They fall under many names, but the most common ones are: Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben and Isobutylparaben.

But, it’s only going on your skin- right? So it doesn’t really matter?

Sadly this thinking could not be further from the truth. The chemicals in the food we eat are filtered through our kidneys and liver and a percentage at least is excreted from the body. What is applied to the skin however is absorbed straight into the blood stream- this is why nicotine patches work. Chemicals from our products are often deposited and stored in fat around the body- in the case of parabens, research is suggesting that these particular chemicals often accumulate in breast tissue. Approximately 75 to 90% of products use parabens, with water being the one ingredient used more frequently.

So, what is the cost of having these chemicals in our products?

Parabens mimic oestrogen which is one of the factors in the development of breast cancer. Research is starting to show a frightening link between cancer and the products we use. Recent research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in January 2012 found parabens present in 99% of breast cancer tissues tested.

Kate Townshend, Founder of Harmless House said, “The reason these ingredients feature in almost all products and most governments do not require health studies to be conducted on body products before they are released onto the market. A lot of the ‘problem ingredients’ are still used in products today because they are the cheapest available option and manufacturers are more concerned with their bottom line than they are with the consumers safety.”

What to do from now on:

A bit of knowledge can go a long way, and almost everything you need to know is on the back of the bottle. Along with learning what to avoid and watch out for, also learn which ingredients are good. Avoiding parabens is an excellent first step, but there are many other ingredients to look out for too. A product that is ‘natural’ means very little, and holds no weight legally.  An organic certification is a good  way to know that your product contains not only natural ingredients, but organic ingredients too.

There are alternative products out there that are natural and certified organic. These products do not contain any parabens or any other chemically derived ingredients. The brands represented by Harmless House are harmless to people, animals and the environment and do not contain any parabens, chemical foaming agents or synthetic fragrances. Using natural products can contribute to healthy skin and a healthy body in the long term.

Harmless House offers a complete range of natural and certified organic bath and body products, so if you care about maintaining the integrity of your skin and keeping it beautiful while at the same time healthy and happy, check out their range on www.harmlesshouse.co.za

Shopping on their site is fabulous and if you spend over R1000, you get your products delivered free of charge! Plus, as a StyleScoop reader, you get 15% off all your products! Just enter code “STYLESCOOP” when prompted.

What’s your view on Organic Skincare?

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