Natural Skin Care Tips

The skin is probably the most important body tissue. About 20 square feet of it covers the body and functions as protection for muscles, nerves, blood vessels and other organs. The skin also serves as a kind of thermostat by regulating body temperature. In addition, it is sensitive to external stimuli; in some cases this characteristic could prevent more serious burns or cuts.

Basically, the skin presents a barrier to harmful environmental elements, such as dirt, bacteria, fungi, temperature extremes and radiation. Because of the exposure to a variety of hazards, it is not surprising that skin disorders account for one-half to two-thirds of all compensation claims for occupational diseases in the United States. These figures do not include cuts, puncture wounds or bruises because they are considered physical injuries.

Chemicals In Skin Care Products

As an introduction to the topic of proper skin care, I would advise you to read the highly informative  “Guide To Toxic Chemical Ingredients in Cosmetics and Body Care Products. The Toxic Chemical Ingredient Directory.” Read this report and find out what very potent poisons are lurking in your skin care products, and why anyone and especially someone with a skin condition such as dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis just must avoid them.

It is a fact that while many of us are committed to natural foods and remedies, we may not be as selective when it comes to personal care products.

Many of the synthetic compounds used in products such as shampoos, lotions, and skin creams are known cancer causers and skin irritants.

There are many so-called ‘natural’ products on the market now, but be sure that the one you buy is all-natural. Read the ingredient list, as a lot of products are marketed as natural, but they may only contain a small percentage of pure, natural ingredients. If it’s all natural, that’s the one to buy.

Many companies, even those that tout themselves as providing an all-natural line, use ingredients that have been linked to skin irritation and dryness, as well as various skin diseases such as cancer. Therefore, it is important to learn which ingredients are potentially harmful and can actually contribute to and cause the skin problems you are trying to avoid.

For example, a cancer-causing compound called 1,4-dioxane has been found in some of the most commonly used petroleum-based cosmetics by a study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. The list  includes products from natural companies such as Kiss My Face, Nutribiotic, Jason, Ecover, Citrus Magic, 365, Alba, Lifetree, Giovanni, Seventh Generation, Method, Earth Friendly Products, Sea-Chi Organics and many other brands.

1,4-dioxane (often just called dioxane) is a clear, colorless, organic compound that’s a liquid at room temperature and is a known human carcinogen. Studies show that this chemical readily penetrates the skin. EPA classifies it as a probable human carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program considers it a known animal carcinogen.

Companies whose products were found to be free of 1,4-Dioxane include Dr. Bronner’s, Aubrey Organics, Burt’s Bees, Desert Essence, Dr. Hauschka, TerrEssentialsAvalon Organics among other companies.

Click on to learn more about this problem.

According to a study of cosmetic reactions conducted by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group the most common cause of allergic and irritant reactions are fragrances and preservatives in cosmetics.

This problem can be better understood from the following eye opening statement found on the web site of the FDA“.


The reason for this is that, in 1938, the FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetics industry, allowing these companies to decide for themselves what they put in the products we use absolutely disregarding the health damaging effects of these chemicals!.

The following are only some of the types of toxic chemicals and skin irritants commonly found in many popular skin care products.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate: SLS is a very common chemical found in shampoos, hair conditioners, toothpaste, body washes, and bubble baths.


SLS is a harsh detergent commonly used as an engine degreaser and garage floor cleaner. When applied to human skin it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer, and then irritating and eroding the skin, leaving it rough and pitted.

The American Journal of Toxicology has found that SLS irritates skin tissue, corrodes hair follicles, and impairs the ability to grow hair. It also enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs, and brain.

SLS causes eczema and mouth ulcers in susceptible people and could be the contributing factor in the onset of psoriasis.

Many sufferers of scalp complaints have eased their conditions simply by switching to an SLS-free shampoo.

DEA [Diethanolamine]:  DEA is a colorless liquid or crystalline alcohol that is used as a solvent, emulsifier, and detergent. DEA works as an emollient in skin softening lotions or as a humectant in other personal care products.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) completed a study in 1998 that found an association between the topical application of DEA, certain DEA-related ingredients, and cancer in laboratory animals. For the DEA-related ingredients, the NTP study suggests that the carcinogenic response is linked to possible residual levels of DEA. The NTP study did not establish a link between DEA and the risk of cancer in humans.

The U.S. FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the use of these substances in cosmetics. However, consumers wishing to avoid cosmetics containing DEA or DEA-related ingredients may do so by reviewing the ingredient statement that is required to appear on the outer container label of cosmetics offered for retail sale to consumers.

Common Sense Thought:  Why take a chance and use products that contain DEA when you can purchase organic, DEA-free products?

The following are some of the most commonly used ingredients that may contain DEA:

Although DEA itself is used in very few cosmetics, DEA-related ingredients are widely used in a variety of cosmetic products. These ingredients function as emulsifiers or foaming agents, and generally are used at levels of 1 to 5% of a product’s formulation.

The following are some of the most commonly used ingredients that may contain DEA:
  • Cocamide DEA
  • Cocamide MEA
  • DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
  • DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Linoleamide MEA
  • Myristamide DEA
  • Oleamide DEA
  • Stearamide MEA
  • TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  • Triethanolamine

Mineral Oil: A mixture of refined liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. Mineral oil is the stabilizing ingredient of many skin care products. Mineral oil forms an occlusive film on your skin, blocking your pores, and interfering with normal skin respiration. The skin is a living, breathing organ and it needs to respire. When toxins and wastes are trapped in and oxygen is kept out, the skin is forced into an unhealthy state.

Propylene Glycol (PG): As a “surfactant” or wetting agent and solvent, this ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after shave- deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste. It is also used in food processing.

Learn how to avoid these and other potent skin irritants by reading the Consumers Dictionary Of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter.

You wouldn’t eat something without knowing what it was–don’t you want to take the same care with what you put on your face, hair, and body? Find out what’s in that shampoo, makeup, toothpaste, lotion, or perfume here, with more than 6,000 entries, organized alphabetically. Cosmetics are barely regulated these days, leaving it up to you to learn what those strange-sounding names mean and how they might affect you.


Before we discuss the topic of the proper soaps and shampoos, I feel it necessary to advise you on the quality of the water that’s coming from your showerhead and bath faucet.

In my opinion, a shower/bath filter that filters out chlorine and other contaminants is an absolute necessity because:

Chlorine makes your skin dry and brittle. Chlorine reacts with the proteins in the skin, causing cells not to adhere as well to each other. As a result, the skin becomes a less effective barrier, and dead cells visibly flake off, resulting in what is commonly known as “dry skin”.  Click here to learn more on the connection between chlorine and dry skin problems.