You may eat organic food, attend weekly yoga classes, meditate and be a gym bunny, but have you ever thought about the harm you could be doing to your body from the outside in? Read on to discover why it pays to go green...
Our skin is our largest organ and needs to be protected. Skin care ingredients do get absorbed into our blood stream and, already exposed to pollution, sun damage and free radicals on a daily basis, our bodies don’t need to contend with potentially harmful, synthetic chemicals, found in many regular cosmetics too.
It's easy to be attracted to the product working wonders for a celeb in the latest TV commercial or the model looking flawless on the pages of a glossy mag, but big brands can afford to market products how they like when, in reality, some synthetic products may be causing more harm than good.
So, take a moment with your favourite moisturiser or lippie and check out its ingredients list. You may get quite a shock – that is when you have been able to decipher some of the scientific names (luckily BB is is here to help with our toxic ingredients list!).
As the food we choose to eat impacts our health and wellbeing, so do the products we apply to our face. Our cosmetic choices can affect our health with many common chemicals found in every day products linked to skin irritation, allergies, respiratory problems, conjunctivitis and, worse still, hormonal imbalance and cancers, including breast cancer.*
According to The Breast Cancer Fund, cancer rates have increased dramatically since World War II which may be attributed to the increase in synthetic chemical use: “Strikingly, the increasing incidence of breast cancer over these decades paralleled the proliferation of synthetic chemicals. Approximately 85,000 synthetic chemicals are registered today in the United States, and it is estimated that 1,000 or more new chemicals are synthesised each year (EPA, 2007).”
Going green can be a welcome revelation for those of us looking to improve our health and decrease our carbon footprint. After all, natural and organic beauty products are not just good for us but also the environment, since many of the chemicals found in popular beauty products impact our surroundings too. Organic products are usually packaged in recyclable and minimal packaging as well.
A recent report by the European Environment Agency highlighted the impact of chemical waste on the environment: “Manufactured chemicals are widespread in the air, soil, water, sediments and biota of Europe’s environment, following the marketing of up to 100,000 chemicals in the EU, their use and disposal, and degradation.
"There is a serious lack of monitoring and information on these chemicals... and [their] related exposures and effects on people and ecosystems... The difficulties and costs of detecting effects, the long time lags between exposure and some effects, and the absence of relevant studies and data mean the widespread exposures to low doses of chemicals may be causing harm, possibly irreversibly, particularly to sensitive groups such as children and pregnant women, and to parts of the environment.”*
If you are money conscious, you needn’t go out with the old and in with the new all at once. Instead gradually replace your products for a green alternative as they run out, starting with the ones you most frequently use and those designed to be absorbed into the skin. Wash-off products can wait a little longer.
The Breast Cancer Fund – State of the Evidence 2010
Chemicals in the European Environment: Low Doses, High Stakes?
"Toxic Beauty" by Dawn Mellowship