Why use organic beauty products?

February 23, 2012

Beauty and Anti-aging, Health, Skin

Our skin is an amazing conduit to our body’s systems. It is our largest organ and, as a giant sponge, it absorbs everything we come into contact with.

by Stephanie Schmidt — 

“Whatever you put on your skin is in your liver in less than 60 seconds.” I will never forget hearing those words as I sat in Dr. Abram Ber’s office in Scottsdale, Ariz. We were discussing the fact that my sweet son has a birth defect, called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, causing him to be unable to perspire. Whatever we put on his body cannot be released through his largest organ, the skin. He is truly the impetus for our family’s change in lifestyle.

As an organic hairstylist, I am often asked, “Why is it important to use nontoxic products on my hair and skin? If I am only getting highlights and the color does not touch my skin, is that a problem?” My response is simple, “Does it touch your skin as you rinse it out? Think 60 seconds.”

Our skin is an amazing conduit to our body’s systems. It is our largest organ and, as a giant sponge, it absorbs everything we come into contact with.

I am also asked, “What should I be looking to avoid?” Here are my suggestions:

  • Parabens: These are synthetic preservatives, approved by the FDA to be used in small doses. We are exposed to them in our eye and face creams, cleansers, shampoos and conditioners. The most common forms are methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl parabens. They have been known to cause liver problems, produce weak estrogen-like effects, may cause breast cancer and allergic reactions, as well as present abnormal reproductive systems in young children.
  • Formaldehyde: This is a preservative that is commonly used in nail polish. It can irritate skin, damage the nervous system and may cause cancer.
  • Phthalates: These industrial compounds include DBP, DMP and DEP, and are additives in perfume, hairspray, deodorant and nail polish. They have been found to cause birth defects in the male reproductive system.
  • Ammonia: According to organicsalonsystems.com, ammonia is a corrosive chemical that is used in explosives, fertilizer and cleaning products. Its use in hair color has been banned in Argentina, and in the Netherlands, ammoniated colors must be mixed in a separate, closed room that has a special ventilation system. In addition to its negative effects on the skin, eyes and respiratory system, ammonia compromises the hair’s ability to hold onto hair color.

The good news is that more and more beauty product lines are working to produce safer alternatives that do not contain these harmful ingredients. If the products are available, affordable and perform as well, if not better than conventional products, why not use them?

Several product lines are available within all price ranges — Giovanni®, Simply Organic® and Nvey Eco Cosmetics. In the past, I have used all of the best products — from Framesi to Goldwell to Matrix. But I began using the Organic Color Systems™ line three years ago and found it to be exceptional. Moreover, my sinus infections stopped, my hands no longer crack and bleed, and my skin and hair are glowing. Remember that keeping yourself beautiful should never harm you.

 

Stephanie Schmidt is the owner of Verde Salon, an eco-friendly, nontoxic salon in Chandler, Ariz. She has been a hairstylist for 20 years with a specialty in hair color. www.verdesalonaz.com or 480-786-1111.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 4, Aug/Sept 2011.

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