Lots of us take great precautions to eat organic and healthy foods but don’t give much thought when it comes to the products we use on our skin. As someone practicing integrative health coaching in LA, this lack of awareness sometimes catches me off guard. Did you know the skin is our body’s largest organ? Slathering products on it can actually cause more damage than the things we ingest, as whatever you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream within 30 seconds.
Despite their slick advertising campaigns, well known brands of skin care products hide some pretty nasty chemicals. If you are buying and using brand name products from the drugstore aisles, you could be absorbing potentially hazardous toxins without even realizing it.
Take my word for it as a personal health coach, LA is full of people who take their health seriously. If you care about your body, you’ll want to know exactly what you are putting on your skin. Read product labels carefully before you buy. Watch out for the following seven ingredients that are commonly used in skin care products:
Used as preservatives, parabens appear in a slew of beauty creams and skin care products. The American Chemical Society estimates that 85% of personal care products contain parabens — everything from hair conditioner to shaving cream. They are used to prevent bacterial, mold and yeast growth. Their various forms include methylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, or propylparaben.
Your skin absorbs these chemicals. A 2015 study found that parabens can spur growth in certain kinds of breast cancer cells – even when used in tiny amounts.  Parabens are also known to interfere with a body’s endocrine system, which may cause neurological, immune, reproductive, and development issues.
Pronounced “THA-lates,” these substances are harmful to health. You can find them in a plethora of personal care products, such as deodorants, lotions, nail polish, and perfumes. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find phthalates listed on the label, however. Manufacturers often sneak it in under the word “fragrance.” Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and can lead to increased risks for breast cancer, developmental problems, obesity, asthma and birth defects , so positively a chemical you should avoid!
Triclosan is an antibacterial added to personal care products, such as cosmetics and hand soaps. Following recent studies that raise questions about whether triclosan can harm human health, in 2016, the FDA banned its use in liquid, foam and gel hand soaps, bar soaps and body washes. The research has indicated that triclosan:
- Alters hormone regulation in animals
- Might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs
- Might be harmful to the immune system
I tell my Los Angeles health coach clients to always be on the lookout for this toxic ingredient, which is frequently found in moisturizers, hair care products, and nail hardeners. So, why is formaldehyde an issue? First, it causes skin irritation and worsens asthma. If inhaled in excess, it can put you at risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.  The skin easily absorbs formaldehyde. Make sure to use formaldehyde containing products in a well-ventilated room, or best of all, avoid them altogether.
5. Synthetic colors
Your product label may contain D&C (for drugs and cosmetics) denoting artificial colors, followed by a number, for example D&C Red 27. Synthetic colors are routinely derived from coal tar or petroleum. Would you rub that on your skin? Synthetic colors are suspected to cause cancer , irritate the skin, and have been linked to ADHD in kids.
“Fragrance” sounds innocent enough, but actually the term was created to protect manufacturers’ “secret formulas.” These formulas can contain a concoction of ingredients that are health hazards. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) asserts that fragrance mixtures are associated with dermatitis, allergies, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system . Fragrance is found in a whole host of products from perfumes and colognes to hair care products, deodorants and moisturizers.
7. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
More than 90 percent of foaming personal care products contain this surfactant. SLS’s are known to irritate the eyes, lungs, and skin. Of grave concern, SLS has the potential to combine and interact with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. Such combinations can also lead to respiratory and kidney damage . Culprit products include shampoo, body wash, mascara and treatments for acne.
Safe Personal Care Products
What you put on your skin impacts your body just as much as the food you eat. To find safe personal care products, consult the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database where you can search for an ingredient or brand or search more than 84,000 products that EWG ranks on a scale of 1-10 from harmless to hazardous and explains why. Your body will thank you.
Wellness Coach Hollywood LA
If you are seeking:
- Integrative health coaching in LA
- Online fitness coaching in LA
- In-person or online integrative health coaching
- Functional medicine, Los Angeles
- A corporate health coach, Los Angeles
Derek Opperman of LifeUp Health Coaching offers competent, compassionate care. Whether you live outside of Los Angeles and are interested in online integrative health coaching or you live in the Hollywood, LA area and have been seeking a “health coach near me,” we invite you to reach out. Derek can help you to meet all of your personal wellness goals.