For those of us who embrace conscious living as fundamental to everything we do, making conscious choices about what to put into our bodies is an important part of our lifestyle. But what about what you put on your body?
The skin is our largest organ, and it is not a solid barrier. It’s a penetrable organ that easily absorbs what is put on it – a capacity that is used effectively by delivering many lifesaving medications to the blood stream through the skin. However, the flip side of this easy absoprtion is that our skin also easily absorbs chemicals, especially with repeat exposure. One third of the cosmetics products currently on the market contain chemicals that are linked to cancer. Of the more than 10,000 ingredients used in personal care products, 89% have not undergone any safety testing. Given those statistics, doesn’t it make sense to be conscious about the products you use on your skin every day?
The European Union Cosmetics Directive, established in 1976 and revised and updated multiple times since, bans the use of chemicals that are known or strongly suspected to cause cancer, mutations and birth defects. In 2004, the directive was amended to require all companies selling cosmetics in the EU to remove these chemicals from their products. Many US companies sell their products on the European market and have been required to reformulate their products. However, just because a company sells its products in Europe does not mean that the same products you purchase here in the US meet EU standards.
Read your labels before purchasing cosmetics. Just because something is labeled “natural” and has pretty designs of wholesome ingredients on the label does not necessarily mean that it is chemical-free. Look for brands that comply with EU regulations. Some brands I like are Avalon Organics, Shikai, Weleda, and Dr. Hauschka.
Another consideration that is important to me when choosing cosmetics and personal care products is that they are not tested on animals. Look for the Leaping Bunny logo – it provides the best assurance that the products you use are cruelty-free and have not been tested on animals.