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Tag: ewg

Almond Oil: A Good, Safe Skin Moisturizer

Hello, I’m Elizabeth and I used to be a Johnson’s Baby Oil junkie.

All through my teens I slathered my freshly showered skin with mineral oil before toweling off every day, and each summer I covered myself in the oil to bake in the sun on a lawn chair in the yard. I cringe now to think of myself back then.

Those were in the days before I realized that Johnson’s Baby Oil is actually mineral oil, a byproduct of refining petroleum linked to organ system toxicity. Even worse, the fragrance added to Johnson’s Baby Oil is considered highly hazardous and can lead to immunotoxicity. I shudder to think of how much toxic petroleum I’ve absorbed through my skin and added to my toxic load just from my mineral oil addiction. Maybe it’s not such a surprise that I developed an auto-immune disorder at thirty.

Our state is known for its dry air, and going without daily moisturizer makes me start to itch, but now I am aware enough to choose safe, natural skin care products that enrich my skin rather than the petroleum industry. Mineral oil is simply not safe to use on skin for adults, or for babies, either.

Lately, I’ve been splashing pure sweet almond oil on my wet skin after showering and am loving the smooth, silky feeling it is leaving me with all day. Unless you are allergic or sensitive to almonds, almond oil can be a good choice to moisturize skin and hair, particularly curly hair. Pure sweet almond oil has a toxicity rating of zero in the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep database of personal care products and cosmetics, but beware of blended products as they may also contain other more toxic ingredients.

The Safest Sunscreen

Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes its list of the safest sunscreens on the market. Why is this important to know? Because the majority of sunscreen products in the country actually contain cancer-causing ingredients. It’s insidious that products claiming to prevent skin cancer contain known carcinogens, but the onus is on us, the consumers, to know better.

This year Ken Cook at the EWG had some good news to share about sunscreens:

Remarkable things can happen when you shed light on sunscreen (pun intended). Seven years ago, every single Coppertone sunscreen we analyzed failed. Now, we can recommend four Coppertone products – products with good UV protection and fewer toxicity concerns. Now, that’s what I call market change.

See the EWG’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens here.

How Safe Are Your Personal Care Products?

If you’re an average woman, between skin care, hair care, and cosmetics you probably use around twelve products each day. These twelve products likely contain around 168 ingredients. If you’re not aware and alert, many common cosmetic and skin care products that you use every day may be full of carcinogens, hormone disruptors, irritants,  and toxins.

Many of these items are designed to penetrate into your skin. And they do.

Don’t assume that just because a product carries a brand name or is available for sale means it is safe for your body; you must read the label.

What ingredients should you avoid in make up, hair care and skin care products?

Here’s a short list of body care ingredients to avoid:

  • Phthalates
  • Parabens
  • Sodium laureth sulphate, or sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES)
  • Triclosan
  • Lead
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • Hydroquinone
  • Fragrance

Where to Find Safe and Natural Cosmetics and Skin Care Products

Where do you look for make-up and skin care that you can feel safe using? Try Natural Solutions: Holistic Beauty, Body, & Bath, a healthy-minded collection of products free of chemicals, parabens, phthalates, petrolateum and other nasty ingredients found  in most standard make-up products.Safe and healthy cosmetics and skin care.

What’s the problem with all these chemicals in your cosmetics and skin-care products?

Don’t forget that our skin is our largest and most absorbent organ. These dirty ingredients are scientifically proven to be carcinogenic as well as to disrupt hormones and mess with the endocrine system. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics continues to ask the giant cosmetic companies, particularly those “pink ribbon” companies that support breast cancer research, to pledge to remove these chemicals in their products that have been so linked to breast cancer. So far, none have agreed to put the safety of their customers above the hassle of reformulating their products to be safe to use.

Not only can you trust every single product Natural Solutions carries to be as safe as possible (and many of the items show off their low ratings from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database as proof!), but most of the cosmetics are available to try in sample sizes that cost only $1-3. What a brilliant idea! It makes it easy to try out a few colors of a new foundation or eyeshadow without committing to a full product.

Natural Solutions has a brick-and-mortar store in Salem, Ohio, but their extensive catalog is available online everywhere.

The Non-GMO Project and GMO Labeling

The Environmental Working Group estimates that the average American now consumes more than his or her own body weight in Genetically Modified foods (GMOs) – 193 lbs. – every year. Since the EWG only took into account corn, soybean oil, and sugar beet consumption and there are many other GMO crops infiltrating our food supply, this is probably a low-ball estimate of how much exposure to GMOs we are actually getting as unwitting subjects in this massive biochemical experiment on the public health.the non gmo project

Because GMOs are not required to be labeled, much of the food you are eating regularly likely contains GMO ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or corn in any form. Since more than 88% of our corn is now GMO corn, we have to assume that most corn-based foods and additives are GMOs unless otherwise labeled.

Not only are GMO foods messing with our bodies and those of our future descendents, but they are wreaking havoc on the environment. According to the EWG’s report on GMOs: “The evidence of environmental harm of GE crops and associated pesticides is compelling. The planting of GE crops has increased overall pesticide use by more than 300 million pounds and has led to the proliferation of pesticide-resistant superweeds and superbugs.”

Right now, the Non-GMO Project is the only way short of organic that you can be sure that the food you are eating is not a genetically modified chemistry experiment with long-term effects on your body. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit that offers the only third-party verification seal on products not using GMOs. Look for their seal on products at the grocery store to be sure you are keeping your family safe.

If you need any other reasons why it’s important to label GMO foods, watch “Genetic Roulette,” a compelling documentary about GMOs in America. Right now, GMO labeling is on the ballot in California, so if you live in California be sure to vote YES on Prop 37 and help labeling laws spread across the land to allow each of us to protect ourselves and opt out of the experiment.