“Do you get botox?”
A new friend asked me this today, to which I truthfully answered, “No, I don’t.”
The question surprised me and also got me thinking about how much awareness still needs to take place surrounding natural skincare. Being that I live in a tiny bubble of natural-minded women, I forget that most women outside of my bubble would much sooner choose chemicals over coconut oil to solve their skin issues (or what they perceive to be issues).
I shouldn’t have been that surprised by the question, since it wasn’t the first time I’ve been asked it. People are much quicker to assume that chemicals are responsible for youthful skin rather than natural or green beauty products or diet/lifestyle factors. So why does it even matter? If both accomplish the same end goal and botox (or chemical-filled creams, ointments, etc.) is easier and quicker, shouldn’t that be the obvious choice?
Maybe, but there’s so much more to the story than just picking the more convenient option. What we put on our bodies truly makes a difference in the long-term health of our skin as well as our overall health.
If at the end of this article you’d still rather have the quick fix, more power to you! But since I’ve experienced first-hand the power of natural ingredients to heal and beautify the skin, I want to share a different course of action with you.
…I forget that most women outside of my bubble would much sooner choose chemicals over coconut oil to solve their skin issues (or what they perceive to be issues).
Why go natural with green beauty?
We know the reality of toxic buildup, and that we want to put as little toxins into/onto our bodies as possible. Toxins build up because our bodies don’t know how to absorb and assimilate these foreign ingredients, so they continue to circulate and put strain on our bodies, rather than becoming food and nourishment for our cells.
Believe it or not, conventional beauty and body products can actually be one of the biggest contributors to our toxic load.
There are countless pollutants in our environment that we can’t control, so it’s important to be conscious of the choices we can make and to avoid contributing to the toxic buildup in our bodies – with what we put on our plates and apply to our skin. Our bodies can handle occasional chemicals but when exposed consistently and daily, disease and health conditions are more likely to occur.
Since the beauty industry is largely unregulated (the last legislation passed to regulate safety of cosmetics was over 80 years ago!), it’s up to you to do your own research to find the safest products. There are no legal standards for personal care products labeled as “pure,” “natural” or “organic,” so it’s time to look beyond the marketing claims and start to read labels carefully.
Just to give a few examples of some of the ingredients that women use daily and their potential repercussions….
Fragrance – I get it, we all want to smell fresh + floral! But these engineered scents can contain any combination of 3,000+ chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. That smells a little fishy to me, rather than floral.
Phtalates – These plasticizing chemicals make products pliable and fragrances stick to skin, so we can smell good all day long. But with dangers of endocrine disruption, respiratory toxicity, birth defects and infertility, we don’t want this sticking to our skin, ever. Look for these acronyms (alert!) on labels: DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP. It’s also commonly hidden under “fragrance” or “parfum” – remember, those are code words for “chemical cocktail”.
Aluminum (conventional antiperspirant being the biggest culprit on this one) – poses serious risks to our overall health as it’s carried through the bloodstream, targets the central nervous system and also settles into fatty tissue and breast tissue. With continued exposure, aluminum even has the potential to cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain. According to Frontiers in Neurology, “…an individual’s exposure to aluminum is impacting upon their health and is already contributing to, if not causing, chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
Practical Tips for Making the Transition to Green Beauty
The good news is, safe alternatives are available and there are steps you can take to detox and reduce toxic exposure on your skin and in your body. The benefits? Expect to experience a positive difference in hormone health, energy, adrenal glands, PMS symptoms and clearer skin – just to name a few!
We’re meant to put ingredients in (and on!) our body that nourish, strengthen and repair, so look for pure, simple, short ingredient lists on labels – with words you can actually pronounce and understand! We are firm believers that fewer is better. And that real and recognizable ingredients really do provide lasting results without sacrificing your health or well-being.
Here are a few easy steps you can take to get started!
Educate yourself – to find out whether your go-to products are safe or not, try Think Dirty’s Shop Clean App. This easy-to-use resource ranks the safety of specific products on a scale of 1-10.
Take it one step at a time – swap out one beauty or skincare product you use daily with a non-toxic option. Deodorant is a great place to start, as our underarms are extremely sensitive and easily absorb everything that we apply, including the dangerous chemicals in conventional deodorants!
Prioritize sleep – Getting a full night’s rest (7-9 hours) helps to restore the skin’s moisture balance, stimulate collagen (the stuff that makes our skin look plump and glowing), and fight inflammation.
Eat leafy greens (lots of them) – Leafy green veggies (spinach, kale, etc.) help to support the body’s detoxification processes, flushing out excess hormones that can cause imbalances in the skin. Aim for 2-3 cups/day of leafy greens (the equivalent of a smoothie and a salad).
Thanks for reading, and best of luck in your switch to a more holistic way of caring for your skin and whole self!
Bethany McDaniel is a mom, wife and Founder of Primally Pure. She’s passionate about health and wellness and believes that nature is smarter than science, which is what she hopes to show through her line’s all-natural and non-toxic products / results.