Skincare knowledge helps you and your family

Skincare knowledge helps you and your family

A large portion (98 percent) of skincare and personal care products share a common ingredient — mineral oil — which is toxic to the human body.

A large portion (98 percent) of skincare and personal care products share a common ingredient — mineral oil — which is toxic to the human body.

by Linda Leibl — 

Let’s talk for a moment about skincare, cosmetics, hair care and all those lotions and crèmes you have been putting on your skin for the last 10, 20, 30 years or more. Certainly these products are safe. You wouldn’t use anything that wasn’t, would you? Well, guess again. The scientific evidence raises serious concerns. Over the years, cancer and health-risk experts have released studies indicating that mainstream cosmetics and personal care products pose the highest cancer risk to the general public — even higher than smoking.

After cosmetologists complained of headaches, memory loss, fatigue, loss of balance, asthma, and nervous system and respiratory damage in a 1989 government hearing on cosmetics safety, a House subcommittee called for an analysis of nearly 3,000 chemicals commonly used in cosmetics.

The results were very disturbing. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studied 2,983 ingredients in the products used by the hair stylists and designers in these cosmetology fields and found 884 of them to be toxic. Furthermore, biological mutations could be caused by 314 of the 884 toxic ingredients, reproductive problems by 218, acute toxicity by 778, cancerous tumors by 146, and skin and eye irritation by 376.

Another group that must be considered are the nail technicians whose work exposes them to many chemicals every day. The danger to them is twofold, as they both inhale harmful ingredients as well as absorb the chemicals through touch. As the body’s largest organ, the skin absorbs any product we put on it in just 26 seconds, flushing that product through every other organ.

Inside secrets about substances that may be causing cancer

A large portion (98 percent) of skincare and personal care products share a common ingredient — mineral oil — which is toxic to the human body. Mineral oil is made from nonrenewable crude oil, the same substance that kills marine life after an oil spill. Because mineral oil molecules are too large to penetrate the water, they sit on top of the water’s surface, and form a barrier. They have the exact same effect on your skin. Mineral oil blocks any nutrient the product might contain and offers no nutritional value. In fact, it actually draws away any nutrients from the skin.

Regardless of what kinds of claims a company makes about the quality of its mineral oil, there is no such thing as good mineral oil. These oils are hydrolyzed or hydrogenated. Hydrogen-ation basically plasticizes the oils, making them act like plastic on and in your skin. This coating keeps the skin from effectively eliminating toxins and regulating body temperature as it is meant to do.

Because derivatives of nonrenewable crude oil, like mineral oil, are not found in nature, the body doesn’t know what to do with them. These compounds are not organic, as our bodies are, and as a result, all kinds of side effects, varying in degree, can be expected. The more common symptoms are fatigue, memory loss, personality changes, headaches, sleep disturbances and sexual dysfunction. Plus, many of the same oils that cause these symptoms are also known to cause cancer.

Besides containing mineral oil, many lubricants, cosmetics, waxes and soaps are also made with animal renderings. When an animal dies, whether it is a cow ravaged by disease, roadkill, or euthanized cats and dogs picked up from a veterinarian facility, all are sent to a rendering plant for disposal. There, the animals’ bones, blood, hooves, horns, heads and intestines are dumped into huge grinders, mixed together and steam-cooked. Then the fatty substance that floats to the top is scraped off and used to make these common products. Yes, the ingredients like tallow, tallowate and many others are used as the main base for your skincare and personal care items. Shocking and disgusting!

This is true for a high percentage of the products out there. Next time you venture into a fine department store and walk through the cosmetics section, you might remember this article. For you now realize that the lovely fragrances used are artificially created to cover the awful smell from the products of those rendering plants. As distasteful as it seems, the truth is that you can go visit the rendering plant in south Phoenix and ask them, if you wish. Cosmetics are big business, and some people are driven to do amazing things in the hunt for the money.

The truth about the FDA

Clearly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t moving fast enough to keep us protected. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even require the testing of cosmetics for safety before they show up on store shelves. The FDA can only remove a personal care product from the market after enough complaints have been registered and enough evidence has been collected to prove the product is harmful. Imagine that. Only after enough people are harmed or badly injured, perhaps for life, can they then consider removing a product from the market. That sounds like putting a light at an intersection after enough people have been hurt or killed.

Whatever happened to the philosophical position of prevention, not treatment after the fact?

The cosmetics and toiletries industry earns $36.4 billion dollars a year. And in 1999, the FDA’s Cosmetics Office had its funding cut by 50 percent, reducing its staff from 27 to 15 people. This cut included secretaries and clerks, and forced the suspension of the Cosmetics Voluntary Registration Program. This means makers of cosmetics no longer have any place to report problems with the ingredients they are using. The cuts also mean there is virtually no place to go for questions about products, ingredients and safety issues because there aren’t enough people available to handle such queries. Laboratory studies have been reduced or suspended.

Given what you now know, the choice is clearly yours. Take time to know what’s in your cosmetics and skincare products — and consider spending a little more to be certain your products are pure, safe and beneficial.


Linda L. Leibl, B.S. has been a clinical esthetician since 1986 and founded Advanced Skin Technology in 1993 in Scottsdale, Ariz. or 480-443-3445.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.


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