For many generations, women have gone to considerable lengths to choose skin care products that appear to reduce signs of aging. Moisturizers, cleansers, anti-aging treatments, anti-wrinkle creams, acne products, organic skincare, microdermabrasion treatments – the list goes on. With hundreds of products on the market, how do you know which one will work for you? And the most important question, one that many people fail to ask themselves – what EXACTLY am I putting on my face?
These days, most women, and a rapidly increasing number of men are doing their best to defeat the aging process. Everyone wants a clear, youthful looking complexion and clean skin. Everyone wants to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, or have refreshed, renewed and invigorated skin. But at what cost? Many researchers are becoming desperately concerned about the long term safety of the ingredients that companies use in skin care moisturizers and other cosmetics. We must remember that what we are hoping to do to the skin on our faces is completely un-natural, and not what our evolutionary history has intended. Other than for cosmetic purposes, keeping the skin on our faces looking young makes no sense at all.
So what are the magic ingredients? The vast majority of skincare products contain parabens – synthetic preservatives. Any consumer can check labels and see their extensive usage. Parabens, phthalates and other chemicals act like estrogen and the effect on the human endocrine system cause changes in breast and prostate tissues that predispose the cells to cancer. It is ‘leave-on’ products such as facial makeup and skin lotions that are causing the most concern, due to the long exposure time, and opportunity for migration via the skin into the bloodstream. In truth, there is no real reason for companies to use these chemicals, either in production or as a preservative. But we all know why they continue to do so.
It is because they are cheap. Cosmetics and personal care products require preservatives or they will become contaminated with bacteria, and it would be irresponsible for companies not to use preservatives.The choice of which ones to use is especially important because this family of ingredients is, like fragrances, one of the leading causes on contact dermatitis – and, we now suspect, could potentially cause long term health problems. Furthermore, cosmetics are not required to be tested for safety prior to being put into commerce.
If they decided to spend a little less on advertising and expensive packaging, they could spend far more on safe, natural ingredients. Skin does rejuvenate naturally, but if we need to help it, we should also do so naturally. Avoid the parabens, and check labels for grapefruit seed extract, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, tocopherol (vitamin E), vitamin A (retinyl), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). These are the ingredients that are safest, and while people are completely sold by expensive TV advertising, they should really take a little time and effort in their pursuit of the perfect skin care product.