Avoiding harmful cosmetic ingredients

Avoiding harmful cosmetic ingredients

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SALT LAKE CITY — With the focus on beauty and the need for a more youthful appearance in our society, the market for beauty products is just about saturated. With so many different types of concoctions promising natural and anti-aging beauty, how do we know which products hold the test of time?

With a little effort and some basic pointers, it’s easy to recognize what natural products would be best to use. Here are a few tips for adopting a more natural beauty routine.

Know the effects of what you take into your body. According to realage.com, how old your body really thinks you are is based on your health and your habits of what you choose to do to your body, whether good or bad. Smoking, overexposure to the sun, ingesting harmful drugs and eating sugary foods will have great effect on your natural beauty. In short, you can't look good on the outside if you fill your body with trash on the inside. Drinking lots of water, getting enough regular sleep and eating healthy foods are among the first steps to a natural beauty routine. Doctors recommend drinking enough water (at least eight cups a day) to remove free radicals that get into your skin. Eating enough fiber every day will keep your body clear as well.

What to avoid:
  • Butyl Acetate
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Coal Tar
  • Cocamide DEA/Lauramide DEA
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrance
  • Parabens
  • Petrolatum (petroleum jelly)
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Laureth
  • Talc Toluene
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)

Know which ingredients will harm your skin. When choosing skin care products, read the label. Ingredients you cannot read or understand will not necessarily help your skin. By the same token, just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it will agree with your skin. "Almost all (beauty product companies) use many, many plant extracts, from apples and mint to cactus and soy. However, a lot of plants can be irritating," says Amy Wechsler in her book "The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin and a Whole New You." "Think of poison ivy. ... It’s completely natural and organic. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but even aloe, which everyone thinks of as the ultimate smoother, is an irritant for some people.” If possible, when choosing a product, ask for a sample to try and use it for a few days to see if the product feels good on your skin. Harsh chemicals are not good for your skin. Anything with a fragrance can be harmful as well. So how can we choose? What is non-toxic to our skin yet helps keep it young and youthful? With a little study, knowing what not to buy because of the ingredients will help you on your way to a more natural beauty routine.

According to glamology.com, these are the most toxic ingredients in skin care products: Butyl Acetate, Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Coal Tar, Cocamide DEA/Lauramide DEA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethyl Acetate, Formaldehyde, Fragrance, Parabens, Petrolatum (petroleum jelly), Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth, Talc Toluene and Triethanolamine (TEA).

Know which ingredients are safe. There are some ingredients familiar in many of the natural skin care products which are proven safe and effective. Your skin absorbs a good percentage of what you use, so look for these ingredients in natural beauty products and it will help your skin and body look good and feel good. Thegreenbeautyguide .com recommends the following:

  • Acai oil from acai berries, which contain high concentrations of antioxidants.
  • Vitamin A is a naturally-sourced vitamin and a powerful skin care product. It can be applied externally, and it should also be taken orally. Natural sources include dairy, eggs, fish, carrots, spinach, leafy greens and mango.
  • Vitamin C has been shown to help minimize wrinkles and fine lines in the skin. It works best when taken orally, but it can also be applied topically. Sources include citrus, guava, cabbage and cauliflower.
  • Green tea is also high in antioxidants. It helps fight off infections and can improve the cardiovascular system. It can be ingested, or it can be applied topically in an extract form.

The benefits of using natural beauty products have been phenomenal in many women’s lives. Remember what Coco Channel said: “Nature gives you the face you have at 20; it’s up to you to merit the face you have at 50.”

Valerie Steimle is the mother of nine children living in Alabama and is the author of four books including "Of One Heart: Being Single in the LDS World."

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