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Skin Care and pH Balance: What Big Pharma Isn't Telling You

Guest Blogger: Nia Spicer, pHembiotics ™

It's breast cancer awareness month! I reconnected with pHembiotics ™ to have Nia give us the lowdown on the big C and and some ways we can prevent it. To your surprise, you may be increasing your risk of many cancers just by going through your normal beauty routine every day -- and we want to help you lower that risk!

The Deets

Our skin is our largest organ! It absorbs 60-70 percent of what we put on it. That was so key -- let me repeat that so you don’t miss it! Up to 70% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream! It only takes about 30 seconds for anything applied to the skin to enter the bloodstream!!!

That’s a huge deal because the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) doesn’t require companies to list every ingredient in skincare and beauty products. They actually only limit some color additives and very few substances.

Additionally, if there’s a problem with a particular product or ingredient, the company isn’t required to tell anyone. You didn’t know that, did you? So it’s really hard to know exactly what’s in your cosmetics. A good rule of thumb to implement is, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin! And if you can’t understand or pronounce the ingredient list, then put it back!

Here you’ll find a compiled a list of harmful agents and common chemicals found in cosmetics and their adverse effects found in many skincare, hair care, and makeup products. This list includes but is not limited to the following:

• Aluminum- commonly found in anti-antiperspirant deodorants, has been clinically linked to the development of breast cancer

• Dimethicone – A silicone-based polymer that interferes with the skin’s natural processes like sweating and being able to remove dead skin cells.

• Phthalates – Usually added to improve longevity of colors and scents.

• Carbon black – Found in mascaras and eyeliners and shown to increase risk association with the development of cancer.

• Fragrance – Often it’s just chemicals and can disrupt your vaginal pH

• Lead and other heavy metals – Can cause reproductive, immune and nervous system toxicity.

• Titanium dioxide – Possible carcinogen.

• Formaldehyde - A suspected carcinogen, can cause DNA damage, irritate the eyes, upper respiratory tract and mucous membrane. It can also cause asthma and headaches.

• Parabens - Commonly listed as alkyl parahydroxy benzoates - butyll methyl/ethyl/ propyllisobutyl paraben. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed that parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption; they compete with estrogen for binding sites thereby potentially affecting hormonal balance. According to the Journal of Applied Toxicology, research also suggests parabens may contribute to the development of breast cancer.

• Mineral oil- A Carcinogen. The World Health Organization considers mineral oil a carcinogen, the EWG reports that it can be contaminated with cancer-causing hydrocarbons during the refining process, and research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reveals that the oil is linked with tumors in mice exposed to UVB. Mineral oil clogs pores, hindering the skin’s ability to shed debris and excrete toxins.

• Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)/Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (SLES) - A soap sudsing agent that irritates skin, stops hair growth, can cause cataracts in adults, damaged children’s eye development and can cause urinary tract infections and other vaginal infections. According to the EPA, is also a probable carcinogen, neurotoxicant, kidney, and respiratory toxicant.

• Toluene - Damages the liver, disrupts the endocrine system and can cause asthma.

• Propylene Glycol - Used in industrial antifreeze. Although the manufacturer states to avoid skin contact and to wear respiratory masks and rubber gloves this is a major ingredient in most moisturizers.

This is just a small portion of the toxic ingredients found in makeup and skincare. Cosmetics labeled as natural or organic can still contain synthetic chemicals. In fact, it’s possible that they only contain as little as 10% organic ingredients. There isn’t even a specific definition for the word “natural” by the FDA when it comes to cosmetics. You have to do your own research and know what to look for. Know what each ingredient truly is and how it can affect you.

Now For Some Good News!

A study of teenage girls conducted by the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health showed that after just three days of using products free of hormone-disrupting chemicals, toxin levels dropped by as much as 45 percent.

Safe alternatives are available and there are steps you can take to detox + reduce toxic exposure on your skin and in your body. We’re meant to put ingredients in (and on!) our body that nourish, strengthen and repair.

  • Natural skin care companies: Sheaology, Shea Tribe, Bomb’d Aestethics

  • Natural Hair Care Company Spotlight: Mielle Organics, Alikay Naturals, Shea Moisture, TGIN

  • Natural Make-up Companies: Crunchi, Beauty Counter, 100% Pure

  • Natural Deodorants: Naturally Fresh, Schmidt’s, Native, Rainforest Beauty Care

  • Natural Dental Care: Hello, Dr. Bronner’s, Tom’s Maine, Jason

Detox Challenge:

Start by swapping out beauty, skincare, and hair products for natural non-toxic options from companies like those listed above. Then, complete a 30 day detox diet by eating as many organic fruits, veggies, grass fed lean meats, and wild-caught sustainably sourced seafood as possible!

Shop at places like Aldi’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Albertson’s who are committed to providing you with optimally sourced food and other household items. Last but not least, finish your detox cleanse with pHembiotics ™ Organic Detox Tea!