So it has been said that up to 60-70% of what we put on our skin ends up in our bloodstream. While this is not strictly true in all cases, or for all people, the truth is - some of what we put on our skin definitely makes its way to our blood & organs.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body & it's semi-permeable. That means that small enough particles make their way in and out in order to allow the body to function. This is marvellous news for so many reasons. Your body is able to rid itself of waste products through your pores and we can use topical creams and patches for pain relief.
It's crazy though - we recognise that the only way a pain gel could work is by the product sinking in to skin and affecting the underlying muscles and nerves, but we don't want to believe that any other topical creams and lotions and potions could enter the bloodstream.
Think about a nicotine patch. It is popped onto the skin as a plaster and manages to deliver enough nicotine to your bloodstream to stop cravings for cigarettes. Marvellous! What we put on our skin matters, because it makes its way deeper than we think.
We can't always know what effect pollutants, substances and other external influences might have on our bodies it is safe to say that we would be absolutely exhausted trying to avoid anything harmful. But as we do know without a doubt that some chemicals can and do enter the bloodstream when applied directly to the skin - it makes sense to think carefully about the things we can control.
So many cosmetics, deodorants, perfumes & skincare products contain ingredients that we don't know enough about. Luckily (as we're in the U.K) thousands of the most dangerous ingredients have been banned for use in cosmetics. If you're in the U.S though you're definitely not in the same boat. Only a handful of these same chemicals have been banned and the manufacture of your make up and skincare is largely unregulated.
Even with this safety net in the U.K though, there are so many preservatives and parabens in products we find on the shelves of our favourite department stores. This is for a very good reason - these parabens and preservatives stop bacteria and mould growing in the products as they spend months in storage and on shop shelves (before they even make it to your bathroom). Products containing water are particularly susceptible to mould and absolutely need to be protected and preserved so that they don't grow a load of yuck that ends up on your face. Products that need to live in a warehouse for a long time need these too.
It's generally safe because these products only need a tiny percentage of paraben/preservative to stay safe. But lets think about how many products you've used today.
- Body Lotion
- Hand Cream
- Nail Varnish
Sound about right? It's scary and can seem overwhelming when we try to become too perfect with ourselves. But little changes make a difference.
You might have read about the aluminium deposits being routinely found in breast tissue and had concerns about using deodorant containing aluminium since then. Even using tiny amounts of a product daily can make a difference.
So where should you start with your cosmetics to make the biggest difference to your health?
- Products that you put on an don't wash off immediately (lotions, foundation, deodorant etc)
- Products you soak in for a long time (bubble bath)
- Products you use every single day
- Anything you use on a child
Ideally, if you can change it easily - just do it. Start small and work your way up. It might feel like tinfoil hat conspiracy theory stuff but you know deep down that it really isn't. Cosmetics companies use these toxic ingredients in their products because it's convenient for them not because they're beneficial for you. If there was an argument to be made about how parabens made you look younger but were toxic then you could choose to make a conscious decision about them but they don't. They're doing you zero good and they are avoidable.
Ok. So - why don't we use anything but 100% natural ingredients in Wonder Balm?
Firstly, it contains no water and therefore doesn't need the heavy duty preservatives that are necessary to keep products like that safe.
Secondly, we don't keep it in a big warehouse for months before it gets to you. We allow our batches to sell out and then make more to ensure that you have a year to use it when it arrives with you.
Lastly, we just don't want to - and we don't need to, so we don't. To us, it would ruin our beautiful, incredible product for it to do any harm to you or your skin. Why would we ruin such an incredible product?
We're totally guilty ourselves of not understanding whats in 100% of our own personal products (especially make up) but we're trying our best to make changes gradually where we can. Now that we know what companies put in their products (and that those products make their way into our bloodstream - will you make any changes?