Naturally Clean

Many people stay fresh by showering once or twice a day. They may smell sweet but are they really clean? Every day that you shower and wash your hair you breathe in chlorine gas. Most people proceed to lather on deodorant and skin cream and by now you probably have a layer of synthetic chemicals and mineral oils being slowly absorbed by your skin. Imagine what this leads to if you do it every morning! Transitioning to skin care products without harmful chemicals can lower your environmental risk directly. 
Skin care without harm
Skin, our sheath, is porous. A skin cream or deodoramt contains many ingredients that are absorbed via the skin into the blood stream and circulate round the whole body. In the end they are deposited in our tissues. Some ingredients aren't dangerous, but they do all raise the burden or unnatural substances our body has to deal with daily.
It's hard to know which products are safe to use. Paula Begoun, journalist and make-up artist, analyzes and evaluates cosmetics. In her book ”Don’t go to the cosmetic counter without me” she lists all current cosmetic products for women and men. She has uppdated the book regularly but has now come to the conclusion that it is no longer possible. The last book weighed 1,3 kilos! She has instead developed a website www.CosmeticsCop.com where you can check out the products you use and assess their safety and worth.
Begoun exposes secrets behind exclusive patented ingredients and tells the truth. All her opinions are based on research and facts. A veritable goldmine for those who want to avoid covering themselves with harmful chemicals daily.
Phthalates

Phathalates are plasticizers, the chemicals that make PVS and plastics plyable. But believe it or not, phthalates are also used to keep your skin soft, creams homogenous and in nail polish. Of all the chemicals found in skin care products, phthalates are among the most dangerous.
In Sweden and England over 80 percent of all cosmetics contained phthalates. If you want to read about this go to the Environmental Working Groups website, and click your way to lists with hair care products that contain phthalates.
Already in 1980 researchers noticed the toxic effects that phthalates had on reproduction in animals. But it has even been seen to effect the fetus or newborn animals exposed to phthalates after birth. But does it affect human health?

In September 2000 researchers at USA:s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested 289 people who had unusually high levels of phthalates in their tissues. This is the first reliable measurement of human exposure to phthalates, and researchers came to the conclusion that : “when it comes to public health, exposure to phthalates is both greater and more common than previously thought.” The tests showed that women of childbearing age have the highest levels of phthalates. CDC reckons that the main cause is likely to be exposure via skin care products and not as much the plastics used in the home or in hospitals.

Parabens

Another group of chemicals are methyl, ethyl and butyl parabens. These are common preservatives that are used in 57,3% of 7 500 skin care products.
Traces of parabens have been found in the breast cancer tissue in 20 women. Out of the 20 cancer tisses tested parabens were found in every single one. Parabens are similar to estrogen in structure. Because of the health risks related to chemicals that mimic estrogen in structure, there may be a link between these preservatives and cancer.
”There is no proof that parabens cause cancer, but it's high time to find out” says Dr Philippa Darbre who carried out the research at the University of Reading, UK. 

Safe cosmetics

There are laws in many countries restricting the use of synthetic colors in food, but most women paint themselves with synthetic colors every day. Many of these colors are carcinogenic. 
A single cosmetic product can be safe on its own, but the sum of the many different products you combine daily may create what can be considered a serious risk.

Avoid cosmetic toxins

Choose your cosmetics with care. If you lead a life that is free from toxins, well chosen cosmetics will not cause serious harm. But if you want to minimize the risks in your life you would be wise to follow this advice:

  • Beauty comes from within – a nutritious diet, clean water, sufficient rest and relaxation are the cornerstones of inner beauty.
  • Scrutinize labels – don't trust statements like "natural", "organic" or "no animal testing”. These statements are superficial. It's the ingredients that are most important. Create a list of the chemicals you want to avoid and keep it in your wallet so you can check ingredients before you leave the store.
  • Lipstick – often contains lead, a carcinogen (28) which many leading brands use in lipstick. Brands that use lead are for instance Christian Dior, Lancôme, Clinique, Y.S.L., Estee Lauder, Shiseidoa, Red Earth lip gloss, Chanel lip conditioner, Market America – motives lipstick. Y.S.L. contained the greatest amount of lead. Avoid lipsticks that last a long time!
Natural skin care
If you want natural oils, look for beeswax, canuaba, avocado, jojoba, apricot, vegetable oils, Vitamin E and wheat germ oil. When looking for natural powders, look for those that are based on corn starch, caolin and silk. These products should form the basis of your choice of cosmetics.
There are several manufacturers who use safe ingredients, but even here you may find toxic substances, so scrutinize the labels. The Swedish book Kanariefåglarna ryter has a pull-out sheet of harmful ingredients to tuck into your wallet and check out every time you buy cosmetics and toiletries. But as this book doesn't exist in English yet, go to the Link for skin care and you will find a lot of helpful ideas.