Skin Deep

It’s February. AKA the month when new year’s resolutions become a distant memory.

I’ve been thinking a lot about lifestyle and how the little choices we make every minute of every day are what truly matter.

It’s exciting and grand to declare some big goals, and if they are reached, congratulations! Seeing progress or making noticeable change is the best way to stick to resolutions. It feels good, and no one wants to “go back.”

But even with tangible results, it’s easy to slip back into old habits. I think of Oprah wheeling out 67 pounds of fat in a wagon onto her stage and declaring- “I will not let this happen again!”

Most of us know how that story continues- she did in fact gain all that weight back, and lost it and gained it a few more times until she decided she was happy with her size.

It’s even more difficult to stick to practices that don’t offer any immediate results. This is true of many of the things we do as prevention- whether it’s avoiding certain toxins in the food supply such as trans fat or only eating organically grown food.

Recently I’ve been thinking specifically of personal care products. There are numerous studies that show the ingredients in lotions, shampoo, deodorant, tooth paste,  etc. on drug store shelves in the US contribute to everything from birth defects to cancer.   In fact, only 11% of the 10,000+ ingredients approved for use in our personal care products have been tested for toxicity.

That is not ok with me.

More than 60% of what is applied to our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream.

1 in 5 cosmetics or skin care products contain chemicals with a direct link to cancer.

Women are exposed to an average of 126 different ingredients on a daily basis.


Exactly NONE of those ingredients are required to be tested for safety under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.

What’s more, there are 400 products on the market in the U.S. that contain chemicals prohibited for use in cosmetics in other countries.

Therefore, I make a huge effort to use only products that contain natural ingredients with a proven safety record. And I definitely use only natural products on my children. In fact, I went so far as to take my own products to the hospital so my baby’s first bath would not include soaking in toxic chemicals.

I can’t remember when I made this radical switch, but it’s been many years. This has not been easy- I spend more money on organic products, have to meticulously study labels, run the risk of sweating through clothes, have dishes that might not get as clean as they could with petroleum derived ingredients, and give up the smell of “fresh laundry”.

However, since I have no immediate, tangible results from the use of natural products, I occasionally ponder throwing in the towel to be “normal” again.

It seems like it would be easier.

But I can’t forget the studies I’ve read or the epidemic numbers of unexplainable cancers in our country and I am jolted back to reality.

There are so many things in life that are out of my control, so I control the things I can. This includes what I put on my body, and the products I use on my children.

To find out about your products, check out Skin Deep–  an invaluable website where you can find product and ingredient safety ratings, health information about cosmetics ingredients and smart shopping tips.




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