We are all used to reading the claims made by manufacturers of skincare products who inevitably promise us youthful, glowing, blemish-free, radiant and beautifully soft complexions, but have you ever wondered what exactly goes into making these skincare products?
If you have ever taken the time to read the list of ingredients on the packaging on your skincare products, you will probably have found a lengthy list of unpronounceable man-made synthetic chemicals, parabens (synthetic preservatives), emulsifiers (substances used to stabilise products), colourants and fragrances displayed there. Do we really need to be putting all this onto our skin?
Why does it matter?
Let's think about it for a moment. Our skin is our body's largest organ. It absorbs about 60% of what we put onto it. The things we put on our skin make their way into our blood, tissues and internal organs, which means they have an impact on our health too, just as much as anything we eat, drink or breathe in.
In the last few decades, we have seen increases in allergic reactions, sensitivities, hormone imbalances, infertility problems, asthma and many other health issues linked to the harmful substances found in beauty products. In addition to them, air pollution, UV rays, smoking, drinking and bad diets all come knocking to inflict damage to our skin on a daily basis.
In addition to being potentially harmful to our own health, these toxic man-made substances are also a threat to the environment and the planet's natural eco-system. Plastic microbeads recently hit the headlines, as they wash up on our beaches and are ingested by fish and other maritime creatures, which eventually may make their way back to our dinner plates, but there are many other horror stories linked to other substances. Two such examples are BHA and BHT, popular preservatives often used in moisturisers and makeup. In addition to being suspected hormone disruptors, they are both linked to potential environmental harm.
What can I do about it?
Reversing this trend, and forcing manufacturers to be more careful about what they are putting in their products, and on our skin, is down to us. If each of us makes a small change by rejecting products with harmful components, and replace it with a natural, eco-friendly product, we will start to see a difference. There are many better options available, but we need to be more conscious of the choices we make. Next time you need to replace one of your skincare products, instead of buying what you have always bought, take some time to read the label and try a natural and environmentally-friendly product in its place.
Not all 'Natural" products are safe
Many people are unaware that the term 'Natural" is completely unregulated by the authorities. Any company can put this term on their label, even if only 10% of the product is made up of natural ingredients. When looking for a new skincare or beauty product, always read the label and try choosing one with a short list of natural ingredients such as plants and oils (plants are usually identified by their Latin name).
A natural skincare brand to try is Natural Instinct, one of Australia's original skincare pioneers. Their range of natural beauty products are formulated with high quality plant-derived ingredients, certified organic extracts & pure essential oils. Their natural facecare, bodycare and haircare ranges are free from sulphates (SLS and SLES), propylene glycol, parabens or PEGs, artificial colours or fragrances, harsh detergents, silicones, preservatives (like BHA and BHT) and mineral oils. The Natural Instinct skincare is affordable and can be purchased from Priceline Pharmacy, Chemist Warehouse and select pharmacies Australia-wide. The Natural Instinct skincare range is not tested on animals, and if you want to delve a little deeper into what goes into making up their products, you can download the Natural Instinct Ingredient Standard which lists over 400 man-made synthetic chemicals they choose to exclude from their natural skincare range.