You’re Putting WHAT on Your Face?!

9 Sep

Extra Random Fact of the Day:  The average woman consumes 4 lbs of lipstick in her lifetime. Unless you’re me, in which case the number is probably closer to 8.

graphic

I know, I’m full of ’em. Wondering how I know that fascinating little tidbit? Over the weekend I was talking to one of my best friends, who just happens to sell 100% botanical vegan skin products. When I asked her if she liked the product line, she unknowingly took the opportunity to completely freak me out.

“Well yeah, your skin is your largest organ, so everything you put on it is absorbed into your body. Why would you want nasty ass chemicals absorbed into your blood stream?”

And then a legitimate moment of awakening hit me.

I painstakingly refrain (95% of the time) from taking the can of Reddi Whip that has taken permanent residence in my mom’s fridge and putting it directly into my mouth because what the hell is Polysorbate 80? Yet I’ve never really worried about what exactly I scrub my body with or smear all over my face before I go to sleep. So I’m feeling slightly ridiculous.

I then proceeded to grill my friend interrogation-style and followed up with some fact checking. It turns out that most cosmetic products are full of some nasty crap called parabens. Parabens are the most commonly used preservative in personal care products, yet more and more studies are beginning to link parabens absorbed through the skin to breast cancer.  Another delightful additive to your beauty products are phthalates (try pronouncing that out loud), found in artificial fragrances and are a class of hormone disruptor that can cause birth defects, sperm damage, and infertility.

Yummy.

On average, women absorb 126 chemicals a day from beauty products via the skin. WTH.  I don’t care what anyone wants to tell me about how the FDA has deemed them harmless, I don’t like the idea of any chemicals in my body, let alone 126 of them all at once.

If 126 chemicals a day only skeeves you out slightly, let me seal the deal.

My first job out of college was in a city called Vernon, near downtown Los Angeles. Vernon is sick (not in a good way, bros)  because it smells like disgusting, foul, nasty shit that literally makes you want to gag upon inhaling. Why? Because lovely downtown Vernon is the home of the Farmer John Rendering Plant, which is where dead animals go to die a second time. 24/7 (literally), heaps of maggoty fly-covered animal carcasses and bones are burned down and boiled into a nasty 90 degree soup, days and days after being stripped of edible meat.  (I’m describing this in the most non-gross way possible. For a real reality check, do a little research online about what actually happens at a rendering plant). The yellow tallow rises to the top of the liquid, is skimmed off, and then sold to cosmetic companies who use the fat in their products.  Almost all rendering plants in the US sell this biproduct and the FDA allows it to be listed in the ingredients under the guise of “fragrance.” WTF.

I really can’t even deal with this realty.

You couldn’t freaking pay me to drink a Diet Coke, so why do I want to put a bunch of mystery crap into my body via my skin? I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but here’s the fact: I wouldn’t put these products in my mouth, ever. So I believe that it makes perfectly logical sense to begin the process of phasing out my old chemically products and replacing them with new all-natural products effective like,  yesterday.

And for my fellow skincare snobs who refuse to buy moisturizer from CVS, you can find lists of the best natural skin products here, here, and here.

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