How Your Skincare is Making You Fat, Sick, and Forgetful

Toxins and chemicals cause inflammation. Inflammation leads to poorly functioning organs and disease. Disease of any kind stresses the body and ignites the fight or flight response. This vicious cycle leads to slowed metabolism and a host of other health problems.

Modern life on most of planet Earth is polluted. Everything—from the water and air to the soil and light—contains ever-increasing concentrations of toxic particles from the manufacture, use, and disposal of the more than 67,317 man-made chemicals from which many of our daily needs are met.

And these are only the disclosed ones. The total number of chemicals affecting our lives is unknown. Most of them have never been tested for their effects on our long-term health or on the environment.

Is it any surprise that rates of asthma, respiratory disease, lung damage, cardiovascular disease, bone weakness, brain disturbances, and cancers of every kind are skyrocketing? Healthcare costs are expected to be one-fifth of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2021.1 Our immune systems are compromised, our cardiovascular systems are overtaxed and weak, our ability to metabolize and regulate is distorted, and more than a third of the US population is obese.2

Many of these conditions are the consequences of our biology being assaulted by unnatural and often destructive chemicals. Toxins cause a wide range of changes in our bodies; many chemical effects happen subtly and over time.

Do you associate breathing with weight gain? Consider this: the average human breathes 17,280 times a day. Every one of those breaths carries toxic chemicals from the air like ammonia, sulfur dioxide, ozone, lead, and nitrogen dioxide into the lungs and bloodstream. These accumulate in our fat, causing slow but sure damage to multiple body systems, including—and especially—the endocrine system.

Our endocrine system affects every organ and cell in our body and it regulates our metabolism. It controls central development and metabolic processes. When the body doesn’t metabolize efficiently, it slows, allowing fat to accumulate more easily.

Chemicals from the body products we use are absorbed through our skin, teeth, gum tissue, scalp, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract. These chemicals that prolong a product’s shelf life, emulsify water with oil, promise to make us look younger, heal a skin condition, or stop us from sweating are contributing to the rise in obesity of adults and children by damaging our endocrine systems.

When we eat foods with chemicals, they pass through the liver (a phenomenon called “first-pass”) almost immediately after they are digested. The liver metabolizes these chemicals into a water-soluble format. The kidneys excrete the majority of these chemicals through urine (another reason to drink lots of filtered water!). This does not mean it is OK to eat chemically preserved, genetically altered, or hormone- injected food sources just because your liver is your gatekeeper to toxin removal. The liver can be overburdened as well, and an overburdened liver cannot function properly. So keep eating from the perimeter of the grocery store where the good stuff is—fruits, vegetables, grass-fed or local sourced meats, freshwater fish, and unprocessed foods. Your liver will thank you!

Most chemicals are lipophilic, meaning that they are attracted to fat and are easily stored there. Chemicals that are absorbed by the skin or oral tissue instead of through the digestive system are deposited directly into the bloodstream and reach all of your organs before they get to the liver. This means these fat-loving chemicals do not pass through the liver to be broken down and neutralized before reaching critical organs (like the brain) and tissues. In fact, very few of the chemicals in skincare may ever reach the liver. Most will be absorbed by the organs and fatty tissue and may be stored there for years, inflicting microscopic cellular changes over that time.

You will read more about detoxification in chapter seven, but for now please understand that the metabolism of skincare chemicals absorbed by the skin is a completely different process than the metabolism of the chemicals ingested from food.

Ingesting chemicals and toxins via skincare is far more dangerous than eating them.

Phthalates, parabens, SLS, benzoyl peroxide, petroleum—to name a few—are all lipophilic. When these endocrine disrupters, DNA mutagens, and carcinogens enter the body through the skin, they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. They DO NOT go to the liver for dilution and breakdown; they go directly to your vital organs first—full strength! Because they love fatty tissue, they tend to be absorbed by subcutaneous and visceral (organ) fat. Your brain is made up of a large percentage of fat and these chemicals can target your brain.

The small percentage of them that make it to your liver will be broken down and excreted. But the vast majority stays in your adipose (fat) and visceral tissue for years, causing unseen but very REAL damage including reproductive problems, cancer, and decreased thyroid function.

The thyroid hormone is critical to brain, inner ear, and bone development. In adults it is critical to heart function. It also regulates your metabolism. Slow it down through toxic stress, and you could accumulate more fat tissue. Your skincare may be contributing to your weight gain!

Lead is an extremely toxic, very common chemical. Lead contamination comes from any number of sources in the air, food, paint, water, soil, and dust. And it is shockingly common in cosmetics, especially in lipstick. Avoiding the lead in cosmetics is within our power, but breathing it in 17,280 times every day probably isn’t—every breath contains a fresh dose of it.

Our bodies do not easily break lead down. Consequently, it accumulates in our blood, bone, and soft tissues where it causes problems with the nervous system, kidneys, liver, and other organs. Children are especially susceptible to lead toxicity, even at low doses. A small accumulation of lead in a child can cause central nervous system damage and result in slowed growth that can have a lifetime of consequences.

Even water contains toxins gathered from the air on its way down from the clouds to earth. Add to that the possible 127+ chemicals that the World Health Organization (WHO) identified in drinking water3 and suddenly this element so critical to our survival seems more like a swamp than an oasis. We may filter our water at home, but as soon as we go out into the world we are subject to an aqua- onslaught of toxins.

Soil pollution travels from place to place as it is moved by air, water, or transport. Where it lands, it brings with it the contaminants previously dropped onto or buried in it.

Consider this example: Soil from below a factory smokestack is layered with contaminants that drop from the smokestack onto the ground. When that soil is blown and dispersed over miles during a windstorm, it deposits those contaminants along its path. What happens in one portion of the world eventually finds its way to other parts. What we do to the environment comes back to haunt us in its destructive effects on our bodies.

The earth’s ozone layer has been depleted over decades, allowing more ultraviolet rays from the sun to impact our health. The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that within the next decade, higher ground-level ozone concentrations caused by global warming could cause about 1.4–2.8 million more cases of respiratory diseases, most of which will affect the most vulnerable—seniors and children—and add billions to our national healthcare costs.4

Most of us already know that being in the sun without skin protection is a recipe for disaster, so we slather on UV protective creams or lotions. But at what cost? Are we protecting our skin from UV rays while polluting our bloodstream with chemicals that cause metabolic disruption and a range of illnesses? Most sunscreens contain chemicals that disrupt the hormone system, are toxic to our reproductive system, or hinder normal development.

Just by being air-breathing, water-drinking mammals we are bombarded by chemicals outside of our control. I’m not trying to scare you, but I do want to bring the gravity of the situation to your attention. After reading this book, I hope you’ll read the labels on all commercial products and become informed about the many harmful ingredients they contain.

But this book is not about the uncontrollable pollutants in the air, water, soil, and light. It’s about our power to limit our exposure—and that of our families—in at least one important area: our skincare.

HOW WE WORK – Our amazing skin

Earlier, I reminded you that our skin is the largest organ of the body. Did you know it covers a surface area of roughly six feet and can contribute to approximately 16 percent of your total body weight? It’s constantly changing—replenishing itself at a rate of about 30,000–40,000 cells a minute. This means that each year you lose and regenerate about nine pounds (4.1 kilograms) of skin.5

The skin contains three layers—epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous. Each layer performs specific functions to help cover and protect your body, regulate body temperature, and provide your sense of touch.

When we look at our skin we see the epidermis. As any facial scrub lover knows, the epidermis is constantly sloughing off dead cells, which is exactly what facial scrubs remove. The epidermis is what makes the skin our first barrier to infection. It also regulates how much water is released so we don’t walk around all shriveled up from dehydration. And, it is our first vehicle of absorption when we put on lotions or creams. It is why some medications are transdermal—applied on the skin for rapid absorption and quick effects.

Below it is the dermis, where we find the nerve endings, blood vessels, hair follicles, oil, and sweat glands. It also contains collagen and elastic fibers—proteins that keep skin firm and strong. And the dermis helps cushion the body from stress and strain.

Finally, there’s the subcutaneous layer—also called the hypodermis—which is made up mostly of fat. Here is where the greatest chemical impact from skincare products lies because fat is where toxins and chemicals end up when they cannot be eliminated by the body. Toxins can live in fat cells for many years, and can cause strange symptoms when they are suddenly eliminated through detox or weight loss.

The way fat harbors toxins is also why detox can take much longer than expected. To really detox, you must find a way to get those toxins and chemicals out of fat storage, and this is usually a gradual process over time that can have a variety of manifestations.

Our amazing skin is a workhorse. It has so many functions, all of which are vital to daily health. Let’s look at them:

Waterproofing — The epidermis contains a layer of cells called stratum corneum, which are very tightly packed cells meant to protect against absorption of substances. This is the reason your body doesn’t suck up all the water when you jump into the swimming pool. Without the mighty epidermis you would swell with water weight gain every time you took a shower, no matter what time of the month it is.

Evaporation — The epidermis provides a relatively dry and semi-impermeable barrier to reduce fluid loss and dehydration.

Protection — When the epidermis is healthy it protects the body from bacteria, viruses, infections, and other unwanted substances. Langerhans cells in the epidermis are part of our adaptive immune system that protects us from infection. The natural layer of oil that is part of our skin’s outer layer is our first barrier of protection, but many chemicals and toxins in skincare products actually strip away this natural oil. I touch on this in chapter nine (the men’s chapter that many women may want to read as well), but it is worth mentioning here, too.

Harsh chemicals (sodium lauryl sulfate and triclosan, among others) in soaps, conditioners, body washes, and face washes strip away the layer of protective oils your skin creates. Along with this protective layer goes your body’s first line of defense.

Sebum, the oil from your sebaceous glands, contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) just like those found in coconut oil (a great reason to put coconut oil on your skin). These lipophilic microbes actually consume the glycerol portion of the MCT and leave behind fatty acids. Fatty acids (called medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs) are protective by nature because they naturally kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

The washes from my Primal Life Organics skincare line cleanse the surface of your skin but leave this protective layer intact—your skin will not have that dry, tight feeling AND your first line of defense remains intact because you get to keep your MCFAs! This is also a protective feature for cuts, rashes, irritations, lacerations, ulcerations or any open skin lesion that could become infected. Washing with a harsh soap washes away your first line of defense against that wound becoming contaminated and infected. Leave your natural defenses intact, and your impaired skin has a better chance of healing quickly.

Sense of touch — Nerve endings in the dermis give you your fifth sense, also referred to as somatosensory or haptic perception. They respond to heat and cold, touch and pressure, vibration, and tissue injury. Without this, we wouldn’t know if we stepped on glass or put our hand on a hot surface.

Thermoregulation — The dermis maintains our body temperature through the production of sweat and control of evaporation—a process known as insensible perspiration. Eccrine (sweat) glands in the dermis secrete sweat, which then evaporates on the surface of the skin. Sweat glands and dilated blood vessels aid heat loss when we’re too hot, and constricted vessels greatly reduce the dermis’ blood flow to conserve heat when we get cold. 

Storage and synthesis — Subcutaneous skin cells act as a storage center for lipids (fats) and water. As we saw above, chemicals and toxins can sit contentedly in the fat cells for years, slowly contaminating the body and causing a wide array of life- long health issues.

Our skin is strong and powerful, but it is responsive to its environment, especially a polluted one. And it is easily suffocated by layers of toxins. Polluted skin can be compared to living with a cold 24/7, 365 days a year. Cells can’t get oxygen, and nutrients cannot be absorbed or utilized. Before long, the skin is so congested it cannot function, and becomes stressed. Toxins accumulate and symptoms like acne, rosacea, rashes, bumps, and other irritations begin to appear.

I am living proof that eliminating toxic skincare products can change long- standing issues. I lived with oily skin and acne for years. When I first created my own toxin-free moisturizer, those problems disappeared.

HOW WE WORK – Our amazing endocrine system

We may never think of it, but the endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. It is in charge of body processes that happen slowly, like the rise and fall of hormone levels.

The endocrine system is the collection of cells, glands, and tissues that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Some are transported along nerve tracts to control physiological and behavioral activities. It may be powerful, but our endocrine system is also delicate and easily affected.

Producing and regulating hormones is a complicated task that creates slow results over time. Faster processes like breathing and body movement are controlled by the nervous system. Although the nervous and endocrine systems are separate, they often work together.

Because most commercial chemicals negatively affect the endocrine system, the nurse in me wants to make sure you understand what the heck it is. Here are the components of our complex endocrine system:

  1. Adrenal glands

  2. Hypothalamus

  3. Intestines

  4. Kidneys

  5. Parathyroidforcalciumregulation

  6. Pineal body

  7. Pituitary gland

  8. Reproductive organs (ovaries, testes, uterus, and placenta when pregnant)

  9. Thyroid

Hormones and glands are the foundation of the endocrine system. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers—they transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another. Many different hormones move through the bloodstream, but each type is designed to affect only certain cells.

A gland is a group of cells that produces and secretes organic chemicals. Glands select and remove materials from the blood, process them, and secrete the finished chemical product for use somewhere in the body. Endocrine glands release more than twenty major hormones directly into the bloodstream for transport to various cells.

Endocrine disruptors (EDs) or endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are substances that interfere with the production of hormones by either inhibiting or exaggerating it. You may see them listed as “hormonally active agents” or “xenohormones.”

Many laboratory studies have demonstrated the harmful biological effects of EDs on animals. Even in doses lower than those used in laboratory experiments, they have similar effects on humans.6 The Endocrine Society states that EDs and EDCs affect reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuro-endocrinology, metabolism and obesity, and cardiovascular endocrinology.7

The most critical time of hormonal influence is during early cell formation in pregnancy, when a hormone imbalance can have profound effects.

Such disruptions have the potential to cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and developmental disorders. Deformed bodies—including limbs—can result from poorly regulated hormones. The sad evidence of this is the number of birth defects of babies born to mothers in the 1960–70s who took diethylstilbestrol (aka thalidomide) for morning sickness and nausea. Many of these babies had truncated, ill-formed, or missing arms.

One powerful ED is the phthalate group of chemicals, used as softening agents in everything from nail products to personal care to children’s toys. Why is this chemical included in any product—much less in children’s products—when it is known to cause neurological damage and development defects, changes in the testes and prostate, reduce sperm count, and can also affect fetal development?

Learning disabilities, cognitive and brain problems, and severe attention deficit disorder can be caused by malfunction of the endocrine system. Does this make you (like me) question whether skyrocketing rates of autism and ADHD could be caused by environmental, skincare, and dietary toxins?

Endocrine disruption produces masculinized effects in females and feminized effects in males. In chapter nine, we will talk further about decreased male fertility, deformed sperm, and increased rates of breast cancer in males. The American Cancer

Society projects that in 2014 there will be about 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed, and about 430 men will die from breast cancer.8

Endocrine disrupting compounds in the environment have been linked to reproductive problems and infertility in wildlife. Happily, an upsurge in fertility and a reduction of health problems in some wildlife populations have been linked to bans and restricted use of EDCs in the wild. We can look at this hopeful example as we consider what happens in our bodies when we choose to eliminate chemicals from our skincare products and our diets.

Are you surprised to realize that the scientific community is still in debate about the negative effects of EDs, the dosage at which they are safe, and the long-term effects of prenatal exposure to them? Some groups demand that all EDs be immediately removed from the market, but some scientists and regulators want further studies, despite the growing mountain of evidence against their use.

In a paper for Tufts University, researchers reported many startling conclusions: The exposure necessary for “profound physiological effects” is much lower than we thought; endocrine disruptors are more widely found than previously assumed; humans are exposed to these chemicals at nearly every turn in household and industrial products. They affect every hormonal system. And intra-utero exposure can create effects that may not be seen until adulthood.9

Wow! It is shocking to think of all the chemicals we come in contact with every day and the range of consequences that they carry. Studies show that the average woman applies more than 500 chemicals to her body during her daily beauty routine. Environmental Working Group (EWG) and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a great resource for finding products and their toxic count. I highly suggest looking into this resource when searching for the best alternatives!

Is there really a good reason to add more fuel to the fire, or should I say, chemicals to the body? Everything we apply to our skin is absorbed and affects our well being from the outside, in.

HOW WE WORK – What About the Rest of the Body?
Understanding how endocrine disruptors affect the endocrine system is

extremely important, but did you know that these chemicals affect your entire body? Chemicals can cause cell mutations. As cells reproduce, they replicate the

mother cell. A mutated cell will most likely form another mutated cell, and many of these are precursors to cancer cells. After all, cancer is simply an overgrowth of mutated cells.

Chemicals also are irritants that can cause inflammation. Strong evidence suggests that almost all disease stems from an inflammatory process. Cardiac disease, pancreatic disease (diabetes), liver disease, bowel disorders, respiratory disease (asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and kidney disease can all be linked to the inflammatory process.

Your brain cannot hide from these chemicals either. Remember that these chemicals love fat, and your brain contains a large percentage of fat, so these chemicals will easily target it. Symptoms include attention deficit, memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. One study linked Alzheimer’s disease to the aluminum found in commercial deodorant.

Chemicals and toxins also destroy the immune system. Our immune system is our defense mechanism against poisons entering the body. The liver is our main organ of detoxification, and a fully functional liver supports our immune system. Toxins cause free radicals that destroy the cells of the body and bind to cytokines (immune system information pathways), damaging them and resulting in weakened immune system responses.

However, the damage is not just directly from the chemical or toxin. Once inside the body, most chemicals or toxins are broken down, or produce subsequent toxins. Toxins produced by petrochemicals (petroleum), phthalates, parabens, and other endocrine disruptors are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogen in the body and contribute to hormone imbalance, with subsequent immune suppression.

A weakened immune system compromises our entire being, making us susceptible to infection, inflammation (remember cardiac disease is an inflammatory disease), allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Guillain-Barré syndrome, eczema, and allergic rhinitis.

Finally, your skin itself is not immune to these chemicals. Most chemicals are skin irritants and can cause numerous skin conditions. Have you ever thought that your acne, rosacea, rashes, or irritations could be caused by your skincare? The truth is, yes—the chemicals found in commercial skincare products can cause all of these issues and more. In fact, most of the chemicals added to commercial skincare are so toxic and caustic to the skin that lab personnel are required to wear protective gear while handling them.

Furthermore, these chemicals must be disposed of carefully because they are also toxic to the environment. Some are so potent and deadly they have to be buried deep within the ground.

Without exaggeration, your commercial skincare is making you fat, sick, and forgetful, without you being aware—until NOW!

LABELS – Know what you’re reading

“Read the label.” You’ve heard that advice a thousand times. And even though you trust the words “natural” and “organic,” maybe you occasionally check out that long list of increasingly mysterious ingredients in your favorite cleanser, moisturizer, shaving cream, or lipstick. Unfortunately, labels can be misleading and create a false sense of security.

What does “natural” mean in the world of the cosmetic industry? If the list of ingredients is unpronounceable, which part is natural?

The real and frightening issue behind the labeling deception in skincare is that chemicals exist in every type of commercial body care product, even the ones labeled “natural.” Most of us use multiple products every single day! That means we take a chemical bath every time we apply commercial products to our skin.

Some natural or organic products are anything but that. Often, they contain only a few truly natural or organic ingredients. Sure, there may be a few ingredients that fit the definition, but your favorite product likely contains various other components that are harmful to the body as well as to the environment.

Makeup containing inorganic pigments like mica, zinc oxide, and iron oxide is hugely popular and often touted as a “natural alternative” to conventional products. Though these minerals do come from the ground, they have to go through chemical purification processes before they can be included in cosmetics, and they carry those chemicals into the “natural” skincare products.

Another controversy surrounding minerals in makeup involves the use of ultra- fine—nano-sized—particles. Once inside the body, all organs (including the brain) and tissues are open for entry by these miniscule particles. But no one knows for sure to what extent these particles affect our cells in the long term.

What’s more, some makeup brands use potentially harmful minerals like talc, aluminum, and bismuth oxychloride (a by-product of lead and ore refining that can scratch the surface of the skin and cause skin irritation).

The ingredients that make up any manufactured product are listed in order of importance on the label, i.e., the percentage they compose of the product. The first ingredient listed represents the largest percentage of the mixture; the second is the next most predominant, etc.

But the reality is that many products marketed as “natural” are misnomers because they may contain only 15 percent natural components. That leaves 85 percent that are unnatural and can be extremely harmful to your body.

Many “natural” products contain emulsifiers, preservatives, and fragrances. These can cause endocrine disruption, cancer, DNA damage, as well as a plethora of other bodily dysfunctions that sneak up over time.

It’s difficult to correlate forgetfulness with your deodorant. But what do most commercial deodorants contain? Aluminum—in the form of aluminum chlorohydrate.

Aluminum chlorohydrate in commercial deodorants inhibits sweat by plugging up sweat glands. This prevents their detoxifying function: expelling chemicals and toxins. Aluminum chlorohydrate is easily absorbed through the skin and has, in the only reported trial to date, been linked with higher risks of Alzheimer’s disease.

When aluminum blocks sweat from being released, these toxins are stuck in the body and easily migrate to other nearby tissues and organs. Toxins and chemicals seek out fatty tissue, and what’s the closest fatty organ to your armpit? Your brain.

Another very common ingredient in commercial skincare products is water. Humans require water, so what could possibly be wrong with it being a main ingredient in your skincare product? In fact, many commercial skincare products, even the natural ones, list water as the first ingredient. So who cares if your product is mostly water?

Water may be the perfect liquid for your insides, but your outsides feel differently. It might just be where all destructive effects truly begin.

Don’t get me wrong; hydrating the skin is a good thing. However, most of the water in your skincare (lotion, cream, balm) evaporates before the skin absorbs it. As water evaporates, it takes with it many of the skin’s natural oils. This actually makes your skin lose moisture and contributes to dryness.

Further, if water is the first ingredient on the label, it is likely that 75–95 percent of what’s in the tube is simply water. If that product contains any oils (and most natural products do), an emulsifier is necessary to make the water and oil mix and not separate. Most common emulsifiers in skincare include cetyl alcohol and sorbitan oleate, stearyl alcohol, stearic acid and triethanolamine.

Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) is a common emulsifier used in products that foam (shampoo, detergents, bubble bath, etc.) as well as in toothpaste. If you check out the chart at the end of the chapter, you’ll see that SLS promotes the formation of a group of carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines. SLS also damages the epidermis and causes skin irritation. Children who soak in a tub of bubble bath, for instance, are especially vulnerable to urinary infections caused by SLS.

If an emulsifier is present, preservatives are always included to keep the product from spoiling, and parabens are the most common preservative. Parabens promote the production of estrogen and are increasingly linked to early puberty in girls. Naturally occurring parabens are found in some foods that are metabolized in the body (by the liver), lessening their estrogen-production effects.

One of the most common preservatives is the group of synthetic parabens. Unfortunately, synthetic parabens cannot be metabolized like naturally occurring ones. They increase estrogen production, disrupt hormone functions, and cause DNA damage.

Parabens are directly linked to breast cancer and cause negative reproductive effects in both females and males. Because of the vast array of cosmetics women use, it is estimated that women absorb about 50mg of synthetic parabens every day. And here’s a dose of irony: parabens in skincare products promote skin aging.

Here are some examples of personal skincare products, which consist primarily of water:

  • Mascara
  • Mouthwash
  • Nail polishes (some)
  • Self-tanning lotion
  • Shampo
  • Conditioner
  • Shaving foam or lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Bath foam 
  • Creams, moisturizers
  • Foundation
  • Hair gel
  • Hair spray
  • Liquid eyeliner
  • Make-up remover

Not every product included here will list water as the first or second ingredient, but the majority of commercial products will. Many expensive anti-aging serums are 70 percent water, and shampoos can be as much as 90 percent.

So, if water, emulsifier, and preservatives are part of the product, that means that the rest of the ingredients are the active ingredients—the reason you bought the product in the first place. For most commercial products, if you take out the water, emulsifier, and fillers, the active ingredients will only be between 2 to 25 percent! Clearly, what you are buying is filler, not active ingredients.

Chemicals, dyes, fragrances, and other artificial ingredients in skin care and cosmetics are irritating to the skin. Often, they dehydrate skin cells. This can lead to health issues as well as premature aging.

Worse, some ingredients are toxic to multiple body systems and can cause disruption to organ function, such as thyroid malfunction. A few are known carcinogens—things that can cause cancer.

Propylene glycol (PG) is commonly used as a thickener, a softener, and to enhance penetration/absorption.

It is also a basic component in brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, floor wax, and paint. It is the main ingredient in anti-freeze. My car’s mechanical needs and my biological needs are vastly different, but the cosmetic industry apparently doesn’t see it that way.

The range of products intended for humans but containing PG is astounding— most cosmetics (especially lipstick and liquid foundation), deodorants, moisturizers, suntan lotions, baby wipes, and even ice cream.

PG is linked to a host of endocrine issues: DNA and cell deformation, kidney and liver diseases, inhibited cell growth, and generalized system toxicity. To that list of biological disruption add the fact that during production PG is easily contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical, dioxane.

Ingredients like those in commercial deodorants are increasingly found in the lumps and tumors of breast tissue. And, although the American Cancer Society reports that women still account for 99 percent of breast cancer diagnoses in the United States—and men are about 100 times less likely than women to get it—breast cancer in men is on the rise. In the past three years, cases of breast cancer in men have increased by 13.7 percent (compared to a 12.1 percent increase in women).

If men’s breast tissue is now being affected by something that is typically a woman’s disease, imagine what that toxic load is doing to their prostates. Hormone disruption has been linked with prostate cancer as well as male infertility.

Today we know of around 3,100 stock chemical ingredients that make up fragrance alone. If you see fragrance listed on your skincare product—buyer beware! Fragrance is considered a trade secret, meaning the ingredients do not need to be disclosed. Most chemicals that make up fragrances are neurotoxins. The list below is only the tip of the chemical iceberg!

Toxic overload accumulates over time. It can begin in utero and continue throughout our lives. Toxins affect our kidneys, liver, thyroid, bowels, endocrine system, skin, and even our brain. Remember that aluminum-filled deodorant? No? You might want to check your risk for Alzheimer’s disease! These toxins and chemicals can affect us in myriad subtle ways that aren’t evident until they are a serious problem.

Don’t play skincare roulette! It’s just not worth it. Children are even more susceptible to these chemicals because they have a higher body fat percentage and more rapid absorption rate. And babies have immature neurologic and immune systems—two crucial systems directly affected by the chemicals in commercial skincare.

I’ve included a chart of some chemicals commonly found in most commercial skincare products at the end of this chapter. Please note that thousands of chemicals are disclosed as part of modern life, but it is impossible to know how many are undisclosed. This is just a very short list of the most common.

The hidden, long-term effects of toxic chemicals in our bodies was my main concern when I gave serious attention to how many chemicals in both commercial and natural products assault our biological balance at every turn.

The good news was that, in contrast, natural, real-food skin care products clean and nourish us from our outside skin to our deepest inside cells. I knew there had to be a way to have beauty and health, too. It shouldn’t have to be a trade-off.

Primal Life Organics was my answer to that dilemma.

Chemical-free skincare is a choice! I created my first skincare products so I could improve my health. I created Primal Life Organics so you can improve yours. Detoxing from a chemical-laden life to a nutrient-dense one is the first step.

When I bought this item a few months ago, I was desperate for change for my skin. Over time using the Bare Package, my skin became firmer, clearer, and softer. The cleanser washes off without being harsh or stripping my skin’s natural oils. The moisturizer feels amazing at the end ofthe day and gives my skin a glow. It’s amazing! Thank you PLO!