Beauty. They say it’s in the eyes of the beholder, and that’s true. Different people tend to see you differently, but no one’s really judging you. Nope, that’s all in your head. You are your harshest critic, that’s why you’ll move heaven and earth to get your hands on the latest beauty products to fix whatever phantom problem you think you may have.
The reality is, this industry is highly unregulated, and using the wrong product with the wrong ingredients on the wrong skin type often leaves scarred, red, inflamed and painful skin. Too much of a good thing can be harmful. Too much of the wrong thing can lead to more fatal consequences.
In nature, there’s this thing called Aposematism, or warning coloration wherein the more colorful and conspicuous an organism is, the more toxic it is. It’s an antipredator defense mechanism that is extremely efficient as it is frightening.
Look out for synthetic colors in anything you put in your skin and read the labels to find out. If you see FD&C or D&C on it, the product has artificial colors. “F” means food and “D&C” mean drugs and cosmetics. Anything with a letter and number combo such as FD&C Blue #2 or D&C Red 33 should be avoided.
Why avoid these? Synthetic colors are derived from either petroleum or coal tar sources and adds no value except as a colorant for marketing purposes. It’s a known cause of cancer in animals and is also linked to behavioral problems such as ADHD in children. The European Union has already banned it’s use, and so should you.
More than a Peeling
Super-facials can work wonders if done by a trained professional on patients that are eligible for it, following a strict schedule of not more than once a month at the most. Sadly, this almost never happens and women all over the globe frequent the salon for treatments almost every week.
Microdermabrasion and chemical peels can damage the skin on your face if done too frequently or if administered by someone who lacks training. In the case of chemical peels, think about is as “controlled tissue death” that aims to induce healing, revealing baby smooth skin when the skin heals itself. But death is death, no matter how controlled.
If you really want to “peel” the difference, you can use gentler, acid based home solutions. There are two main types of acids, alpha hydroxy acids – glycolic, lactic, citric – and beta hydroxy acids (salicylic) that you can use on your face. Glycolic acid seems to be the best, because it has the smallest molecules and can easily be absorbed by the skin. There are products such as Argireline that use peptides to diminish the appearance of wrinkles without using a peel also.
Just make sure to follow the instructions on the label and don’t overdo it. Even though these products contain lesser amounts of acid when compared to procedures done at a clinic, you should gather all the necessary information about glycolic acid peel and how to use it, before doing anything to your face.
Parabens and other Irritants
You should really look out for Parabens. These are often found in deodorants, makeup, shampoos and facial cleansers. Companies use them to make their products more resilient to mold, bacteria and yeast. It’s bad for you because it has properties that make it look like estrogen, thus tricking your body into absorbing it, increasing breast cancer risk.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are found in hairspray, lotions, nail polish and perfume. The original use for this chemical is to increase the softness and flexibility of plastic products. Plastic! Phthalates are also known as endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) can be found in almost 90% of all personal care products and has been known to interact with certain carcinogens such as nitrosamine, which could lead to kidney or respiratory damage. SLS has been known to irritate the lungs, skin and eyes, that’s why shampoo, body wash and mascara treatment stings.
True Beauty radiates from Within
Perpetual beauty will always come at a price, sometimes steeper than what’s fair. But that’s the dangerous game women (and some men) play in order to look young and stress free. You have to make a choice – look younger now at the expense of your health, or let your inner beauty take front and center, minus all the possible ill-effects of using too much chemicals. In this case, natural beauty will always trump made-up beauty any day.