Protect Your Face from 1st Holistic.com
By Judith Tovey
Your face is part of your body's largest organ--your skin
and the skin is a living, breathing organ that is constantly
renewing itself. You wouldn't expose an organ like your
heart to harsh chemicals, right? Why expose your face? You
probably didn't even know that many of the skin care
products you use on your face every day have harsh chemicals
that erode your skin.
The average turn around for skin cells is about 28 days.
A skin cell starts its life deep in the inner layers of our
skin It is round and plump and full of moisture. As it ages
it migrates to the outer layer, flattens out a bit and
eventually sloughs off naturally. While it is a part of the
outer layer it helps form a protective moisture barrier for
its younger brothers still in their infancy and adolescence.
Baby boomers are reaching middle age and are starting to
notice the signs of aging in their faces. What to do? Reach
for that miracle cream you purchased that promises you'll
look years younger. Unfortunately, as with many cosmetics,
these miracles in a jar have slipped past the rigorous
testing procedures afforded to drugs and food additives
when, in fact, if they actually did what they claimed they
should have by definition been regulated as drugs.
For example, Tretinoin (Retin-A) is a vitamin derivative.
It was used as a prescription drug for the treatment of
acne. Later it was found to plump up the skin and eliminate
small wrinkles. Several manufactures began promoting the
inclusion of vitamin A in their formulations claiming it was
producing similar effects as Retin-A. Studies in the 1980's
showed there were some subtle changes to skin with Tretinoin.
(Allure magazine, Nov. 1991, Journal of American Academy of
Dermatology, August, 1991) Others disagreed with findings
saying that the reason it seemed to work was because it
literally irritates the outer layer of the skin to such a
degree that it swells or puff's up, reducing wrinkles.
When fruit acids or Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) hit the
market, in 1990 there were 5 AHA products on the market, one
was by prescription. By 1993, there were 50 and by 1994 over
200 new products were on the market. In January and February
of 1995 alone there were 32 new products containing AHA
introduced into the marketplace.
AHA's claims that by gently removing the dead skin cells
our skin will look healthier and feel smoother. When Dr.
John Bailey, acting director of FDA's office of Cosmetics
and Colors, spoke at the Sixth Annual Spring Seminary of
Society of Cosmetic Chemists in New York, in April, 1994, he
warned that AHA had clearly stepped over the boundary line
between what is considered a drug as opposed to a cosmetic.
His concerns were with the application of the higher
percentage solutions being used today, as much as 50% by
non-professionals and people with less than adequate
As of 1993, the FDA didn't require companies to list
percentages of concentrations of fruit acids in their
products. What the AHA proponents are saying is remove the
outer layer of the skin to decrease signs of aging and to
give skin a general appearance of smoothness, right? But
what about the people that say that very same outer layer of
skin is what protects us from moisture loss and signs of
aging. If you are confused about this you're certainly not
alone. In an article in Self magazine on moisturizers and
your skin, the first part of the article states that new
moisturizers with lipids that mimic your own skin's lipids
are beneficial because they build up and bind skin together
forming a protective barrier against moisture loss. Lipids
are actually described as the "glue that holds the skin
together." Next comes a section on AHA's that say they're
beneficial because they act as an exfoliant and dissolve the
"intercellular glue" between dead cells, peeling them away
to real softer, smoother skin. (Self, August, 1995, page
107-108) Wait a minute! Isn't that the same protective
barrier we just glued together to prevent moisture loss? It
seems everywhere we look a different group is telling us to
do something different to our skin.
Some of the worst things in your moisturizer may include
petrolatum, mineral oil, isopropyl myristate, trietholamine,
glycerin and propylene glycol. All of these ingredients may
clog your pores and smother your skin's respiration: and in
no way do these ingredients benefit your skin.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL - This is the most common moisture
carrying vehicle in use in cosmetics. It's cheap and
available. It has also been suspected of causing sensitivity
reactions. It in fact absorbs moisture from your skin.
Propylene glycol is also used extensively in industry as a
component of brake fluids and anti-freeze preparations. It's
also used in the production of varnishes.
EXFOLIANTS disrupt the natural order of things when they
remove adult skin cells and leave those below open to
premature exposure to the environment. Without the adult
cells the immature cells can dry out and age more rapidly
than is natural.
The BENTONITE MINERAL AND KAOLIN CLAY in facial masks
dries out your skin and forms an impenetrable barrier. This
barrier traps toxins, including carbon dioxide, in your skin
and keeps oxygen out. If your skin can't breathe, it can't
ALCOHOL, the main ingredient in astringents and several
other facial cleansers, makes your face feel cool and
refreshed, but it is really damaging your skin. As it
cleans, it strips away the natural oils protecting your
face. After the skin's surface has been stripped, it takes
almost twenty- four hours for it to repair itself. Your face
needs moisture to stay healthy and young-looking, not harsh
Liquid foundations often contain MINERAL OIL, a substance
that suffocates and dries out your face. They usually also
have PETROLATUM AND ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE in them. Petrolatum
can't be absorbed by the skin and it clogs pores. Isopropyl
myristate is a fatty compound that has been shown to clog
pores and cause blackheads and pimples also has a more
sinister hidden danger. When it comes in contact with either
a Di-or Triethanolamine the result is a nitrate compound
such as n-nitrosodiethanolamine, a suspected carcinogen.
Moisturizers for the face and body are applied over a large
portion of the skin and remain there for several hours. This
exposure is significant. Many powder foundations have talc
and zinc stearate, both of which are carcinogenic (cause
cancer). Most blushes contain mineral oil, talc, and zinc
GLYCERIN, although this ingredient is used in
moisturizers to help the cream glide, it is detrimental in
that it draws moisture from the skin and holds it on the
surface, effectively drying the skin from the inside out.
Have you ever wondered why men seem to age more
gracefully than women. Their skin is less likely to suffer
from over cleansing and drying because they do not as a rule
buy into these skin care fads. Perhaps it is not just the
so-called thicker skin. Perhaps it is what we have been
doing to our skin that is making the biggest difference in
both its structure and ability to stay healthy and young
When it comes right down to it, the giant skin care and
cosmetic companies are charging you big bucks to ruin your
face. Don't let them keep selling you treatments for
problems their own products cause. Become aware of the
ingredients in their products and their side effects. Don't
let big business take advantage of you.
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