Category Archives: Skin

READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 5] What does “natural” mean?

Source: newevolutiondesigns.com
Source: newevolutiondesigns.com

As you’ve probably guessed, “natural” means all kinds of things. Everyone seems to have their own definition. Here are a few I found just to put your mind at ease. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) [As it applies to meat and poultry only.]

“Those products carrying the “natural” claim must not contain any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients, and are only “minimally processed” defined by USDA as a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product.”

The USDA further defines synthetic as:
“A substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes.”

Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
Ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically”

Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients
“Product that is derived from plant, animal or microbial sources, primarily through physical processing, sometimes facilitated by simple chemical reactions such as acidification, basification, ion exchange, hydrolysis, and salt formation as well as microbial fermentation.”

Consumers Union
[Publisher of Consumer Reports, which is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving only consumers]

“Natural is a general claim that implies that the product or packaging is made from or innate to the environment and that nothing artificial or synthetic has been added.”

Other dictionary sources define “natural” as:

    • present in or produced by nature
    • produced using minimal physical processing
    • directly extracted using simple methods, simple chemical reactions or resulting from naturally occurring biological processes?

Natural ingredients are…

  • not produced synthetically
  • free of all petrochemicals
  • not extracted or processed using petrochemicals
  • not extracted or processed using anything other than natural ingredients as solvents
  • not exposed to radiation
  • not genetically engineered & do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

    Natural ingredients do…
  • not contain synthetic ingredients
  • not contain artificial ingredients including colors or flavoring
  • not contain synthetic chemical preservatives

So who regulates the labeling of “natural” products?
Sadly, there is not a single organization within the United States in 2013 that certifies skin care products as “natural.” It’s simply left to the ethical discretion of the manufacturer. If you’ve met me or sat in one of my presentations, you’ll know that some major brand names are playing mind games with their consumers. Be careful, be educated, and just boycott those products!

Remember, not all synthetic chemicals added to skin care is harmful, and not all products labeled as “natural” are safe.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 4] Is your shower killing you?

Source: www.unionhardwaredc.com
Source: unionhardwaredc.com

Okay, don’t freak out. But at the same time, this is important wisdom that you will never forget after reading this post. Please share this information with your family and friends.

First, we’ll talk about the four things to consider about chemical absorption, and then we’ll talk about your daily shower.

Chemical Absorption

1 – Method of consumption: If you read [PART 2] of my READ THE LABEL series, you’ll know there are four methods of consumption. Meaning, things enter your body through 1) digestion; 2) inhalation; 3) injection; and 4) through the skin. How you are exposing yourself to a product may increase the chance of absorption. In other words, drinking hair gel will have a different toxic affect and absorption in your body compared to using it in your hair.

2 – Concentration: How much of that product we are putting, and at what concentration. Is that chemical being diluted, or is it being applied/inhaled/digested/injected at 100% concentration?

3 – Time: This is so important, how long you allow a chemical to stay on or in your body increases the toxic absorption. The example I give here is using bleach cleaner. If you mop your floor with bleach, you should be diluting it per the instructions on the container. So what if you accidentally splash your leg while mopping the floor? Well you should immediately go wash your legs. If you wait to wash your leg till after you’re done mopping the kitchen, the longer time that chemical has had to absorb through your skin, breaking the sebum layer, and entering into the blood stream.

Now, think about the same scenario happening if the bleach wasn’t diluted. What if it got into your eyes? Have you stopped to consider the vapor from bleach, and that you’re inhaling it the entire time/and post cleaning?

What if you’re not using a chemical as strong as bleach? What if it’s your favorite lemony scented wood cleaner or window cleaner … often times, we over look the fact that many of these products have a “fragrance” or “scent” (which by the way is almost always petroleum based) that creates fumes that we inhale and that irritate our eyes.

4 – Frequency: How often you are exposing your body to those chemicals. Is it daily, hourly, monthly?

The combination of these four factors will determine how much absorption you’ll experience with the chemicals to which you are exposed. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that this method of evaluation is used in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and assessments of chemicals and their safe use, even in industrial applications.

Your Daily Shower
Hopefully everyone is staying clean, but let’s be clean without putting our health in danger. In an average shower we use shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shaving gel, etc. Think about how many ingredients are used to make up each of those products. Stop reading this and go read your labels. Meet me back here when you’re done!

Okay, so each product probably has 10+ ingredients, many of them you know, most you have no clue, right? In my upcoming posts, I’ll talk about some of these ingredients individually. But for now, the point you need to know is, if you’re exposing yourself to these products daily (frequency) for 15 minutes (time) and applied on body/hair (method of consumption) but don’t forget, the hot water creates a vapor for these chemicals (method of consumption). That’s 5475 minutes a year you are spending putting chemicals on your body. AND THAT’S JUST THE SHOWER! And how many chemicals did you count again??

This is your intervention. Take steps to eliminate exposure to these chemicals by stopping them cold turkey. It’s like going on a permanent product diet. Be smart, this is your family we’re talking about.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 3] How do we accumulate toxins in our bodies?

Source: www.sheknows.co.uk
Source: www.sheknows.co.uk

While it may seem obvious, think of this as a refresher.

Food, especially genetically modified, processed or from poor quality sources are chemically laden to prevent spoilage on the store shelves. Plus it adds color and an irresistible taste that triggers your brain into wanting more. (There have been food industry studies on this topic of tricking consumers into an addiction, or “excitability” as the industry may term it.) These foods not only wreak havoc on the digestive system, but it accumulates as waste in the body and your organs don’t know what to do with it all. After years of drowning your body in these chemicals, as a result, your body will likely experience diseases such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor immunity and cognitive function. Healthy food, preferably organic, pesticide-free foods that are FRESH will not cause this reaction.

Medication, while they are created to relieve symptoms of disease and not the source of the disease (just my personal opinion), they too can accumulate in your body. Not all medicine is harmful, and many are removed from the body through urination and elimination. People with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, or other diseases where a cocktail list of prescription medications is recommended over a long period of time, even years, may impact the ability of the body to function normally. Remember, medicines are  chemicals, too. Really know what you’re putting into your body, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctors questions.

Exposure to the environment is often an uncontrolled exposure. As mentioned earlier, second hand smoke, stinky perfume, fertilizer in your neighborhood, pollution, etc. Not to mention chemicals used to clean your office building and bathrooms. BUT, there are environmental exposures you can control such as the cleaning chemicals used in your home, and the exposure to petroleum-based fragrances and air fresheners.

Stress, we’ve all heard it, causes problems in our bodies. There are two types of stress, eustress and distress. Eustress is good stress, like engagement, graduation, or even winning the lottery. Distress is bad stress that causes a cluster**** of disastrous effects in the body including adrenal fatigue, heart disease, depression, inability to concentrate, organ disruption, and immune system function. Sadly, these may often all at the same time. That’s why people recommend physical activity to decrease cortisol levels (which is the stress hormone) and even yoga. Emotional well being is just as important as physical well being; but you already knew that.

Products we use on our bodies are another method for toxins to get into our body. We talked a little bit about the structure of the skin in READ THE LABEL [PART 1]. So you’ll know that the epidermis (outer layer) provides a protective barrier. Unfortunately, many of the chemically-saturated products we expose ourselves to on a daily basis break the barrier of protection and can penetrate into our blood stream. Choose your products wisely and read the label!

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 1] The Purpose of Your Skin

Source: University of Mayrland http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/8912.htm
Source: University of Maryland
http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/8912.htm

The skin is the largest organ in the body, taking up approximately 6 feet in surface area, and weighing about 16% of your body weight.

The skin has many functions, not only protecting your internal organs, muscles, and blood from intrusion of infection microorganisms, it also turns sunlight into vitamin D, and regulates body temperature.

The skin, unlike most other organs, have sensory nerves throughout its entirety, sending signals to the brain which helps us to “feel.”

Layers of the Skin: EPIDERMIS
The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin. It is your protective covering, or what I like to call, your “waterproof wrapper.” It is thinly coated with an oil that our bodies naturally produce called sebum, and serves as our body’s first barrier of protection. The reason why our skin is waterproof is because of this layer. It is made of tightly packed cells called  stratum corneum which produce the sebum.  Not only does it keep us from absorbing a big bathtub of water when we are soaking, it also prevents water from escaping our bodies.

I think of the epidermis as a living ecosystem. About 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells fall off our bodies every minute, which means the cells are constantly renewing themselves. This is about nine pounds of skin we lose each year. No wonder they tell you take replace your mattress every 7 years or so. Gross!

Our skin color/pigmentation comes from this layer of the skin because the epidermis contains melanin. Melanin is created to help our skin protect and filter our bodies from dangerous ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. If we absorb too many of these rays, we get wrinkles, faster aging, and possibly skin cancer. That’s why additional protection such as sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing is necessary.

When our epidermis is healthy, it helps the body avoid bacteria, viruses and other unwanted substances (The MERK Manuals).

Layers of the Skin: DERMIS

We’ve all heard of the word collagen. Collagen, in this case, is a protein that makes our skin have a supple and youthful texture and appearance. The dermis layer is the layer below the epidermis and houses collagen, elastin and fibrillin which all make the skin feel elastic yet firm. With age, these characteristics break down and cause wrinkles and loose skin.

This layer is packed with red blood cells which helps our bodies regulate body temperature. This happens because when you are cold, the red blood cells contract, helping your body to retain heat. When you are hot, the red blood vessels expand, releasing heat through your pores. The pores are little escape holes that start in the dermis and go through the outer layer (epidermis). Both toxins and heat are released through the pores. And some chemicals can be absorbed through the pores.

Layers of the Skin: HYPODERMIS

The bottom layer, also mentioned as “subcutaneous layer” which means “under the skin,” is mostly made up of fat and fibrous tissue. This layer also provides a mechanism for body temperature regulation, but providing insulation from cold, and the loss of heat (P&G).

Does Our Skin Absorb Chemicals?

Yes and No. Yes because some chemicals found in personal care products can break the barrier of skin protection, the sebum, and facilitate absorption into the blood stream.

Some scientist argue the that we do NOT absorb the chemicals we put on our bodies; however, the EPA reports that nearly 30 cancer causing chemicals are detected in the fat tissue of every American today. I have a list of organizations that believe chemicals can get absorbed into the blood stream, with data to back it up.

Let’s be realistic people. We’re exposed to over 126 chemicals every day, not including the GMO (genetically modified organisms) and processed foods we eat.

Not all chemicals are absorbed through our skin because some ingredients do not penetrate for long periods of time, or with frequent application/exposure or at high concentrations. Further, some ingredients, mostly natural, may not penetrate past the sebum on the epidermis layer.

It’s YOUR responsibility to take care of you and your family’s health. Read the label and ask questions. Take a stance and boycott products that contain harmful ingredients, harmful not only to you but to the environment.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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