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When natural isn't really natural

There are potentially harmful ingredients in the majority of the personal care products on the market for example: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, sunscreen, deodorant etc. Many people have changed to healthier eating and are avoiding chemicals like additives and preservatives in their food. Although many of todays consumers are aware that there are artificial or chemical ingredients in the personal care products they use, most people simply dont have the knowledge to know how to identify them on ingredients lists, and indeed what harm such chemicals can do.

The Natural Health Practice philosophy is that if you wouldnt eat it, you shouldnt put it on your skin as the skin is extremely porous which is why nicotine patches work so well.

Get to know the Nasties

Formaldehyde
Preservative. Found in Nail Polish, nail hardeners and other cosmetics. Commonly associated with adverse skin reactions.

Imidazolidinyl Urea
Preservative. Commonly associated with adverse skin reactions

Artificial Fragrance
Synthetic fragrances, parfum, used in cosmetics can consist of many ingredients and these ingredients do not have to be listed separately from other ingredients. 19% of children with eczema are fragrance sensitive. Many other studies link rising levels of dermatitis in recent years with an increased use of fragrance chemicals. Phthalates (pronounced THAL-aytes) are allergens found in certain fragrance chemicals and nail varnishes; many are now restricted in use by the EU.

Parabens
Preservative. Widely used. Known as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben. Associated with skin irritation. Some possibility that there may be a xenoestrogen and linked to a risk of breast cancer.

Isopropyl alcohol
Anti-bacterial agent obtained from petroleum (sometimes used in anti-freeze). Prolonged contact with Isopropyl will result in dry, split skin, headaches, dizziness, depression and nausea.

Methylisothiazolinone
Preservative. Associated with allergic reactions and irritation.

Paraffin
Used in cold creams, hair removers, eyebrow pencils and other cosmetics. Derived from petroleum or coal.

Propylene glycol
Moisture carrying agent used in cosmetics. Usually derived from petroleum, although it is possible to derive it from vegetable glycerine.

DEA (di-enthyloamine), MEA (mono-ethylolamine), TEA (methylolamine)
Look out for names such as Cocamide DEA or MEA or Lauramide DEA. These are hormone disrupters and are known to form cancer-causing nitrates in the body. They are almost always found in products that foam.

Mineral Oil
This is used in many body lotions (baby oil is 100% mineral oil) and coats the skin like a plastic wrap, disrupting the skins immunity and not allowing the skin to breathe or release toxins. The skin is the largest organ of toxic elimination. Allowing toxins to accumulate results in abnormal cell development, premature skin ageing, acne and other skin disorders.

Polythylene glycol (PEG)
This is a preservative, surfactant and skin conditioning agent that actually alters and reduces the skins moisture levels. PEG increases the appearance of ageing, and allows the skin to be more vulnerable to bacteria.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
Strong detergents are found in most foaming bathroom products. They are also the main ingredients found in car wash cleaners, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. SLS and SLES are thought to be the most dangerous of all ingredients in toiletries. Research has shown that if SLS combines with certain other chemicals used in the manufacture of toiletries, they can produce carcinogens that stay in the boy for up to five days and leave residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain. This potentially could lead to cancers of all these organs. SLS and SLES have been connected to skin irritation, diarrhea, breathing problems, depression and eye damage (especially in small children where SLS has dissolved eye protein and the eyes have not developed properly).

*This is not an exhaustive list but works as an introduction to the ingredients in commercial beauty products that may cause health problems.

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