Your skin is THE largest organ in your body. Your skin has a surface area of about 2,800 square inches! To visualize that, tape out a square on the floor that is 4 feet by 4 feet ... that's how much skin you've got!
Did you know that your skin absorbs about 60 to 70% of everything we put on it.
60 to 70%!!! That's is hard to believe, isn't it!
That's why it's so important to be aware of what we are slathering on our skin and what's in the makeup we use every day. Our skin is a direct access to our body.
You may not know, but there are a LOT of toxic chemicals found in skincare. Ones that can cause cancer. Ones that can disrupt your hormones. Ones that can cause stress to your cells. As a pharmacist working in cancer care, I think that cancer-causing toxins should be highest on your priority list to eliminate from your skincare, your food, and your home.
I implore you to head to your your makeup bag or bathroom drawer right now and pull our your favorite skincare product. Look at the list of ingredients.
Are the ingredients easily pronounceable? Or is the list a whole bunch of hulabaloo?
If you are new on your journey to switching to non-toxic clean skincare, you probably have no idea which ingredients you should LOVE and which ones you should RUN scared from.
So today, let's chat about 10 ingredients you should NEVER have in your skincare.
Our journey to becoming farmers & to making non-toxic skincare with nutrient-rich animal fats (grassfed beef tallow & outdoor pork lard) all started more than a decade ago when our girls were babies. As new parents we bought the "usual" baby gear including diapers, wipes, and baby bum cream. I was more than shocked when my babies bums seemed to always be red, even raw at times. And then I started to notice skin irritations in other places on their bodies from their clothing. I was horrified that whatever was touching their baby soft skin was irritating them.
That's when I started digging into what's in those diapers, wipes, bum creams, AND the laundry soap we were using. We made swaps to cloth diapers, cloth baby wipes (we wet them with warm water), and to a homemade laundry soap right away. Over the next 15 years, we've slowly been learning more and swapping out everything we use in our home - skincare, makeup, cleaning products, dish soap. You name it. It's been a slow process but so worth it!
And you can do it too! I encourage you to switch out one product at a time for something safer & non-toxic. Over time, you'll have a whole new approach to clean living and you're health will thank you for it.
Where to start?
Let's go through the TOP 10 ingredients you will want to BOOT out of your skincare lineup today. These are the ones you really don't want to be putting on your skin.
1 - Fragrance or Parfum
Almost every skincare, personal care, and household product you pick up at the store will contain at least one fragrance or a combination of fragrances. There are likely more than 3500 different chemical fragrances in use these days.
Some fragrances come from nature, while others are synthetically created. The actual components of a fragrance is not required to be disclosed on the ingredient labels. Instead, you will often see "fragrance", "parfum", "perfume" or "aroma" on the label.
The use of fragrances in skincare is not regulated. There is no official process for a fragrance to be "approved" for use before it is added to a product.
Fragrances can be harmful to our bodies & the environment. Some fragrances contain phthalates or styrenes, which can cause hormone disruption or cancer. Others are volatile organic compounds that can be harmful to the earth.
What can you do to minimize exposure to synthetic fragrances?
- always read the product label to know what ingredients are in the product
- you can choose products that contain no fragrance or that are scented with essential oils alternately
- check the ingredients on the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep ingredients list to check their risk rating
Here at Lazuli Farms, we don't use any synthetic fragrances in our products. The only scent you will smell is from pure essential oils.
2 - Sodium Laurel Sulfate
Sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient in shampoos, body washes, cleaning products, toothpaste, and more. It lathers well and helps to remove oil & residue making it an obvious ingredient for cleaning products, both for our home & bodies.
SLS itself can strip the skin & hair of a lot of their natural oils. Our natural oils provide a barrier to the outside world. The stripping of natural oils can lead to dryness and irritation.
SLS is not flagged as a toxic ingredient on it's own (read more here
) but there are some concerns about contaminants left in the SLS during the manufacturing process. These contaminants are ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which have been shown to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) and potentially carcinogenic, respectively.
There are much safer alternatives to SLS that can be used as cleansers for both your body & your home.
Consider solid bar soaps made with sustainable-sourced fats (such as lard, tallow, olive oil, and coconut oil) for washing your hands & body.
Lazuli Farms solid soap
bars are formulated to provide gentle cleansing (ie. get your hands & body clean) while keeping your skin hydrated (by not stripping the natural oils & with the hydrating ingredients).
3 - BHA & BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are preservatives used in skincare and personal care products, and even foods. Preservatives function to prevent and slow the growth of bacteria and other harmful pathogens in the product.
BHA has been tagged as a potential cancer-causing agent while BHT may interfere with hormonal function. Both can cause irritation and potential allergic reactions as well.
Did you know that it is the addition of water to cosmetics that makes the risk of bacterial & mold growth more common? Body butters & balms from Lazuli Farms are formulated with 100% fat & oil based ingredients. This makes them more hydrating than a lotion product which is often 70% water/30% fats & oils. It also makes balms & butters less susceptible to pathogenic growth thus lessening the need for preservative use.
4 - Petrolatum
Petrolatum is refined from crude oil production. It is used as a lubricant for machinery and appears commonly in body lotions, lipsticks, and other skincare. Petrolatum itself appears to have no health risks but there is a potential that contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. PAHs carry a risk of causing cancer.
Secondly, crude oil is a non-renewable resource that it's refining process has environmental impact. It makes sense to choose alternative moisturizing ingredients that have less impact on the earth.
Animal fats obtained from regenerative farms that aim to leave the earth better than they found it, are a great option for skincare.
5 - Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
Formaldehyde and, more often, preservatives that release formaldehyde as they sit on the shelf, are added to skincare products to keep them shelf-safe longer. Watch for quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, bromopol and glyoxal as these ingredients can release formaldehyde as they sit in the product.
Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing agent and is highly irritant.
6 - Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are synthetic (man-made) petrochemicals (derived from petroleum) that are used in skincare for a variety of purposes such as thickening, softening, or as a solvent (to dissolve other ingredients).
Polyethylene glycol may contain contaminants such as ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. These two substances are known carcinogens and lung irritants.
7 - Siloxanes
Siloxanes are compounds that are made from silicone and are used for their smoothing, softening, and moisturizing properties. Watch for cyclopentasiloxane and cyclohexasiloxane. These siloxanes have the potential to be hormone disruptors and impact fertility.
8 - Parabens
Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics.
Parabens are easily absorbable through the skin and are known to simulate estrogen in the body. There is risk of hormonal disruption and a potential risk of impacting breast cancer.
Watch for ingredients that end in "paraben" such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.
9 - Triclosan
Triclosan is used as a preservative due to its anti-bacterial properties. It has potential hormone disrupting properties. Triclosan may appear under the following names: 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol, trichloro-2'-hydroxydiphenylether, and 2,4,4'-trichloro-2'-hydroxydiphenyl ether.
10 - DEA (diethanolamine) & DEA- compounds
DEA and DEA-compounds are used in skincare to make the product more creamy or to lather better.
DEA and DEA-compounds can react with nitrogen (which is formed when some other ingredients breakdown) to form nitrosamines. These nitrosamines can potentially increase the risk for cancer. In addition, they have been shown to linger on the skin after being rinsed off (for example, in hair dye). DEA has the potential to impact male reproduction.
Watch for triethanolamine, diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, Lauramide DEA, Linoleamide MEA, Myristamide DEA, Oleamide DEA, Stearamide MEA, and TEA-lauryl sulfate.
Thanks for reading today all about the top ten skincare ingredients to KICK right out of your skincare routine right now! A list like this is part of the impetus behind the development of the Lazuli Farms skincare lineup. It shouldn't be so hard to decipher all the ingredients on the label ... that's why we formulate every product so that you don't have to worry about what's in it. We take the guesswork out of reading skincare labels.
Head on over to the Lazuli Farms online store to check out all the options for non-toxic, natural, and nourishing skincare from our farm to your skin.