Once upon a time... I used whatever I wanted on my skin. I thought that if an ingredient was harmful, surely it would not be allowed into our skincare... Right...?
Surprisingly, skincare is a largely unregulated industry, meaning that it's up to the consumer to make informed choices.
Years ago, when I was diagnosed with endometriosis by my wonderful doctor, I was advised that it was worth looking into, and cleaning up my skincare. The reason for this is that there are harmful ingredients that can seep into our bloodstream via our skin.
Once in our bloodstream, ingredients can then make their way into our organs and studies have linked some of these harmful ingredients to health issues such as hormonal disruptions (sometimes leading to infertility) and even cancer.
The best way to protect yourself is to read the ingredients and then make an informed choice. (Or of course just purchase from a small business like me who makes skincare safe for us all!)
Here's a list of what I choose to avoid (and of course what you will not find in Seven Islands Skincare):
1. Parabens Parabens are a group of synthetic ingredients that prevent the growth of bacteria, mould and fungi. While this is very important, I believe it's more important to use a preservative that doesn't cause harm. There are plenty of natural preservatives out there... yes, they're more expensive but worth it in every way.
Parabens can mimic the effect of estrogen on the body with links to cancerous tumours and reproductive toxicity. Scarily, research has even found parabens present in breast cancer tissue. Add to this the many skin rashes and allergies that parabens can cause, why not look for something safer?
When trying to identify parabens, look for ingredients such as propylparaben, methylparaben and butylparaben or anything with a 'paraben' on the end of it. To be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to look for and buy paraben-free products (like Seven Islands Skincare of course!). Parabens are still widely used, so it's good to be aware. Yes, even in products that say organic and natural - remember it's a largely unregulated industry.
2. Artificial Fragrances Headaches, allergies, asthma and rashes are just some of the common side effects of artificial fragrances. Many artificial fragrances also contain another harmful group of ingredients known as phthalates, which I'll expand on below.
Your best bet would be to choose fragrance free... but I like my skincare to be an beautiful experience and I also like nice smelling things! It's for this reason that I prefer to look for products with essential oils or naturally derived ingredients. I'm only human!
3. Phthalates Phthalates, mentioned briefly above, are tied to serious health issues that include liver and kidney damage as well as hormone disruption, even making it as far as the placenta in pregnant women. Phthalates have also been linked to cancer and lung damage.
And if that's not concerning enough, phthalates are not required for labelling purposes if they are contained within a fragrance... making it crucially important to avoid synthetic fragrances as well as anything else with a phthalate listed. You'll find phthalates in skincare, perfumes, nail polish, air fresheners and so on.
4. Mineral Oil This petroleum by-product is found in many moisturisers and while cosmetic grade is understood to be relatively safe... mineral oil sits on top of the skin, creating a barrier. While this can prevent moisture loss, it's also inhibiting the skin from releasing toxins and causing clogged skin that can start to build up in the form of clogged pores.
The skin is a wonderful detoxifying organ, so why would we want to inhibit this gloriously natural process?
5. Petrolatum/Petroleum As the name suggests, this is a petroleum product. It is found in many moisturisers, skin and hair products. Again while cosmetic grade is available, it's still been linked to a higher risk of cancer according to scientists, and that's a good enough reason for me to choose to steer clear.
While this list does not cover everything, it covers my top ingredients to avoid.
I also want to be clear about something – this is not about scare mongering. So if you're about to clear out your house and home and spend a fortune replacing everything...
Just take a moment...
And keep reading...
Research shows that it's a build up of ingredients in our system that does the most harm.
You're aware now, and that puts you ahead of most people.
My advice is to replace things as they run out. Trust me, your bank balance will thank you for this one and it reduces wastage.
So... now that you are more informed about safe skincare, you can start developing a natural skincare routine... that works for you.