Posted on August 2, 2017 by Alanna Hinds
Conscious consumerism is about educating yourself beyond companies’ marketing practices – the practices followed by the cosmetic and personal product industry can be especially dangerous and misleading. As you’ll see, the current regulations simply don’t protect us enough and it’s time you take a proactive role in your health and give serious thought about what you put on your skin.
One of the main ways your body acquires nutrients other than eating is through the skin, your body’s largest organ. Your skin covers around 20 square feet, and 60% of the substances you put on it get absorbed into the bloodstream. Our semipermeable membrane allow us to absorb things we need, like vitamins and minerals, but it also allows us to take in harmful chemicals… When your skin absorbs these substances, their toxins can lodge into your cells, tissues, and muscles – and can eventually overwhelm your entire immune system.
Now, I don’t think you would intentionally expose yourself to toxins; but unfortunately, if you reside in the United States, you probably slather on hundreds of these harmful chemicals everyday through the use of your personal care products. This includes the primary one we use to clean ourselves – soap.
Mass produced store bought soaps are laced with chemical ingredients and, if we are washing our bodies with soap that contains harmful ingredients every single day, this adds up over a lifetime to negatively impact our health. Let’s avoid them together.
Fragrance. The ingredient is vague for a reason. The FDA doesn’t require companies to disclose the breakdown of a fragrance’s ingredients to consumers because the chemicals are considered trade secrets, company’s secret formulas. Synthetic chemicals and cancer-causing toxins, like phthalates, (used to make fragrances last longer) are disguised beneath that one term. Constant exposure to fragrances has been shown to negatively impact the central nervous system and can trigger allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms.
Concerns with fragrance is also why I recommend very minimal use of perfumes – and would suggest spraying them on clothing as opposed to directly onto your skin.
What can be disguised beneath “fragrance?”
Benzaldehyde: Depresses the nervous system, brings on dizziness, vomiting, and sudden drops in blood pressure if inhaled. Benzaldehyde is an oily, colorless liquid sometimes referred to as bitter almond oil. In cosmetics and personal care products, Benzaldehyde is used as a denaturant, a flavoring agent and as a fragrance and can be found in perfumes, shampoo and bath products.
Benzyl Acetate: Eye and lung irritant, and known carcinogen that has been associated with pancreatic cancer.
Linalool: A very fragrant component of various herbs such as lavender, mint and coriander that can be a potent skin irritant. It also appears to become an allergen or sensitiser once it becomes exposed to oxygen in the air. It’s a narcotic substance that can harm your respiratory system and motor activity. Can also attract bees, so if you’re allergic to bees, please be advised!
Parabens. These ingredients are estrogen mimickers—meaning that once applied to the skin, they enter the bloodstream, and the body mistakes them for estrogen. When the body thinks there is an abnormally high amount of estrogen present in the bloodstream, it reacts in various ways: decreasing muscle mass, increasing fat deposits, causing early onset of puberty and spurring reproductive difficulties in both men and women.
Sulfates. These chemicals are used to produce lather and bubbles in soap. Some common sulfates are SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate). Sulfates strip the skin of its natural oils and increase penetration of the skin’s surface. They are also irritants for people with sensitive skin or eczema.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS): Breaks down fats, and impairs the skin’s ability to maintain moisture. Classified as a “mutagen” meaning it can alter genetic material in cells.
Triclosan. This chemical is most often found in antibacterial soap. Recent studies have found that triclosan actually promotes the emergence and growth of bacteria resistant to antibiotic cleansers. It also creates dioxin, a carcinogen that has been found in high levels in human breast milk. Dioxins have disruptive effects on the endocrine system and negatively affect thyroid functions (dioxin is the primary toxic component of Agent Orange).
This is just a short list to give you an idea, so what can you replace your soap with to take preventative steps in your health? All natural soaps – and as the hemp spokesperson that I am, I highly recommend one with hemp seed oil.
No toxic additives, chemical-free, and eco-friendly. Hemp soaps and cosmetics even help the environment by not polluting the natural water course with chemical toxins as you rinse them away. Hemp soaps also have benefits specific to the seed oil’s qualities.
Why Use Hemp Soaps?
It’s highly moisturizing. Unlike antibacterial soaps, hemp bath soap doesn’t contain triclosan, which dries out the skin. You can even use it on your face and you won’t experience that uncomfortable, tight feeling after cleansing. This is because soaps infused with hemp oil do not strip the skin of its natural oils.
It contains essential fatty acids. If you’re suffering from skin woes such as eczema or rosacea, hemp’s fatty acid content can help. This is because it provides anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe or calm irritated skin. EFAs can also help with breakouts by reducing redness and swelling.
◊ Hemp seed oil has been dubbed “Nature’s most perfectly balanced oil”, due to the fact that it contains the perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 (linoleic/ LA) to Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic/ LNA) essential fatty acids, determined to be the optimum requirement for long-term healthy human nutrition. In addition, it also contains smaller amounts of 3 other polyunsaturated fatty acids in Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), oleic acid and stearidonic acid. This EFA combination is unique among edible oil seeds.
Any skin type can use hemp soap. Oily, dry, or combination. Hemp’s fatty acid profile mimics that of our skin. It’s also considered an anti-aging product, capable of slowing down oxidation caused by free radicals.
It helps with sunburns. As I’ve mentioned before, hemp has an SPF of 6. Hemp seed oil can soothe sunburns, if you’ve ever had a sunburn, you know how that first shower could be painful. Instead of using a harsh soap, hemp bath soap will not aggravate the burn and can actually help your skin heal faster.
I’m clearly a hemp advocate for a reason – all natural hemp soaps don’t just cleanse the body. They’re great for locking in moisture and providing relief for skin issues like eczema and for soothing sunburns. Anyone of any age or skin type can use hemp soaps, it doesn’t matter if you have oily, dry, or combination skin – hemp bath soap is loaded with EFAs that will keep your skin healthy.
The one I’m currently using is the Bay Rum and Hemp Handcrafted Soap with Witch Hazel from Saavy Naturals
It’s made without any parabens, phenoxyethanol, SLS, PEGs, propylene glycol, petroleum products, artificial colors, or synthetic fragrances. All of their products are made with only pure and natural ingredients. Vegan. Gluten-free. Soy-free. Not to mention super hydrating and smells lovely 🙂
If you prefer one without hemp, I suggest trying Sundara an organic, sulfate-and-paraben-free soap company whose proceeds are used to fund hygiene projects for children in underserved areas of Haiti, India, and Ghana.
About the author: Alanna Hinds is a millennial entrepreneur in the legal cannabis/hemp space whose passion is to promote conscious consumerism in her readers.
She has published numerous articles on the benefits of the cannabis plant family and offers her content as a means to increase student involvement in the building of the green economy in the United States.
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