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Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Endanger Your Health

April 07, 2009 | 25,393 views

Your skin is your largest organ -- and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable. Just about anything you put on your skin will end up in your blood stream, and will be distributed throughout your body. Which is why I'm so fond of saying "don't put anything on your body that you wouldn't eat if you had to..."

Though it has been said many times, beauty is more than skin deep.   Attempting to change your appearance from the outside while neglecting what goes on inside is a temporary fix at best.

Toxic Beauty

Dr. Epstein's name has appeared on my website many times. He is an expert in the field of cancer causing agents. His word is trusted so much that Congress often calls upon him for evaluations about items in our environment that may cause cancer. He has authored or co-authored 11 books and written over 260 peer-reviewed articles and is a founder and chairman the Cancer Prevention Coalition. So, when he speaks, I listen. In his book, Dr. Samuel Epstein exposes the price you pay for the perfect smile and wrinkle-less face.

Toxic BeautyToxic Beauty outlines how the beauty industry undermines your health on a daily basis. Dr. Epstein gives a comprehensive list of products, by gender, age and category that you might assume are safe, lets you know how to locate them - and how best to avoid the ones that put you at risk for cancer.

Who's Watching Out for You?

The list of people trying to help you out is surprisingly small -- almost non-existent.

Currently, there are estimated to be more than 10,500 cosmetic and personal care products on the North American market. Of those products, the Environmental Working Group estimates that 99% of the products contain one or more ingredients that have never been evaluated for safety.

Who's responsible?

Dr. Epstein points to the cosmetic industry and their love of loopholes. Some of the ones that Dr. Epstein mentions are:

  • "For Professional Use Only" -- This phrase allows cosmetic companies to remove harmful chemicals from their labels.
  • "Hypoallergenic" -- No actual testing is necessary to claim that a product is "hypoallergenic", "allergy-free" or "safe for sensitive skin". Neither the FDA nor any other regulating body even requires the companies to prove these claims.
  • Harmful Chemicals -- Unless they are intentionally placed in the product, harmful chemicals are not required to be listed. It's no shocker that you never see these.

What Can You Do?

The cosmetics industry is a $50 billion a year business (in the US alone). They spend a remarkable $2 billion a year on advertising.

Even more appalling than that is the amount of chemicals you place on your skin every year. Women who use makeup daily absorb, on average, 5 pounds each year. And there are still companies who put lead in lipstick despite its many health hazards.

Dr. Epstein has created a comprehensive list of what to avoid, but has also ensured that it's still possible to make you feel as beautiful as you deserve to be.

Available in April 2009, Toxic Beauty is a guidebook that is crucial for the average woman to have who wishes to enjoy good health and feel beautiful. There is no shortage of alternatives to the hazardous chemicals you place on your skin everyday. Dr. Epstein even took care to make healthy suggestions for each product -- even going so far as to find safe baby wipes and hair dye.

As with the Vioxx debacle, the FDA cannot actively act on a product until after it has already severely injured or killed many people. And because the cosmetic companies only care about themselves and their profits, they won't be pointing out the dangers of their products to you any time soon. Your only solution is to rely on your own skills of investigation. Allow Toxic Beauty to help you along the way.

Dr. Epstein has recently awarded our USDA certified organic skin care line with his Badge of Honor, we learned about this accreditation program after reviewing the book. Hopefully, other manufacturers will hope to achieve the same level of safety.

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