Since 1930, more than 75,000 synthetic chemicals have been introduced into our environment (How to survive on a toxic planet, Dr Steve Nugent). Ok, there is no denying that many of these have revolutionised our lives but just what else are they doing to us? When you consider that our skin can absorb around 60% of what we put on it, it is quite a scary thought when you look at the never ending lists of unpronounceable, quite possibly toxic ingredients in some of our skincare and make-up products.
There are lots of new brands coming onto the market claiming to be 'clean' skincare, in that they don't contain certain chemicals and preservatives. Likewise lots of already established brands are deciding to remove these ingredients from their lines. There is much debate surrounding these so called nasties and it can be confusing in knowing what to believe.
One of the most talked about is the infamous paraben family, these chemicals are used as preservatives in many beauty products and food. They get a lot of bad press, including possible links to breast cancer and low sperm counts due to their ability to disrupt hormones. In various studies, parabens have been found in human tissue and many people believe this is due to the use of beauty products containing them being applied to the skin. However, none of this has been proven and many reports claim that the amounts used are insignificant to us. The European Union allows the use of parabens in cosmetics and food but only in amounts that are considered to be safe, and many companies continue to use them. There are also many companies who have decided not to use them, and have seeked out and are using alternatives, making them much easier to avoid.
We seem to be living in a toxic world, if we can eliminate some of those toxins by choosing our beauty products wisely it's a start.
For more reading on parabens check out The Organic Pharmacy's website, they have some some great (eye-opening) factsheets.