I’m not a lover of Christmas for reasons I’ll go into in another article. However, I used to appreciate all the toiletries I generally received as presents.
I also used to like the after Christmas and New Year sales when everything was reduced and there were some real bargains to be had. Gift boxes containing a variety of “smellies” were often dramatically reduced in price and often found their way into my shopping basket.
So what’s changed? Well, I’m older, wiser and I’ve learned through bitter experience that the only person who will look after my health is me.
Having spent the last few years feeling decidedly off colour and suffering from an increasing amount of inexplicable and increasingly worrying health issues, I discovered I was being poisoned by the mercury amalgam fillings in my teeth.
The result was my immune system became compromised and I couldn’t easily get rid of all the toxic chemicals which I was unknowingly being exposed to on a daily basis.
Unquestionably the chemical revolution since the 1940’s has resulted in many wonderful improvements to our lives. However there’s always a price to pay and it isn’t always financial.
Take for instance the beauty industry.
Did you know that there are over 10,500 different synthetic chemicals used in the creams, potions and lotions we put on our skin each day?
Whilst these chemicals have been tested on animals at some stage, they have never been tested for long term health effects either individually or in combination. Even those that have been tested and carry a health hazard warning label can still be used.
According to the FDA – “Cosmetics and their ingredients are not required to undergo approval before they are sold. Manufacturers can use any ingredient except for ten prohibited substances without government review”
Don’t you find that worrying? I know I do especially as your skin will absorb 60% of whatever you put on it.
I used to love adding a particular brand of almond milk to my evening bath. Not only did it make a lot of bubbles but the smell was beautiful.
Advertised as Naturals Bath Milk, the description was of a gentle formula suitable for even sensitive skin. Supposedly it contained natural almond milk known for its soothing properties to clean and care for the skin leaving it feeling soft and pampered.
It sounded great but then I learned how to read the labels on toiletries and suddenly it lost its appeal.
By law the ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products must be listed in descending order by quantity. Generally speaking the top third will make up 90 – 95% of the product, the middle third will be 5 – 8%, and the final third will be about 1 – 3%.
Water or Aqua usually makes up about 70% of the product.
Bearing that in mind I checked the ingredients in my almond bath milk and was both mystified and horrified with the results.
Listed on the back, with Aqua at the top, were eighteen ingredients. Most of them were impossible to pronounce but I was able to look them up and discovered at least eight of them were listed as having the International Chemical Hazard Symbol.
For those of you who don’t know this symbol is an indication that the ingredient has a known health risk. It could either be
- A mild irritant
- Potentially toxic
- Potentially carcinogenic
Or it could cause
- Allergic reaction
- Adverse skin reaction
There could also be risk of contamination with harmful by products formed during manufacture and some ingredients have restrictions on their use. That is a bit confusing though because the restrictions only apply when a chemical is used for a specific product.
Even the omission of the symbol for certain chemicals does not necessarily imply the ingredient is safe for all individuals so even those ingredients in my bath milk without it could have been detrimental to my health.
Now the manufacturers claim they use synthetic chemicals in such small quantities that they are safe. However, it is the toxic build up over time and the chemicals created when ingredients react together which is the problem.
In 2006 it was reported the average woman puts between 126 and 175 chemicals on her skin DAILY and 60% of them will be absorbed.
It was also reported that there are 200 different types of cancer and most scientists agree 80% of them are caused by toxic synthetic chemicals.
Makes you think doesn’t it?
Now back to my natural bath milk and the list of ingredients. Right at the very bottom and definitely in the 1 – 3% third was listed:
- Prunus Dulcis
- Sine Adipe Lac
- C1 16255
- C1 47005
The last two C numbers are yellow and red colourings. The Sine Adipe Lac is semi skimmed milk powder and the Prunus Dulcis is extract of almond.
If you then take into consideration that Aqua (water) probably made up a further 70% of the product, then I used to bathe in approximately 27% synthetic chemicals , many or all of which could be a potential health risk.
So much for my natural almond milk!