Monday, July 5, 2010

Creating Healthy Skin

Skin is our largest organ. We should want to take good care of it—wouldn’t you agree?

What chemicals are you wearing?
There are many ways we take in toxins, and one of them is by absorption through our skin. So it’s important to know what ingredients are in the products we use on our skin day-in and day-out. If you are using products that contain questionable ingredients you may be putting yourself at great risk.

Rachel Carson first introduced the possibility that chemicals may have a detrimental effect on human health when she wrote the book, Silent Spring in 1962. Theo Colborn in her book Our Stolen Future furthered the premise that synthetic chemicals that mimic natural hormones (also called hormone disruptors) are upsetting normal reproductive and developmental processes. And then in the year 2000 the book Hormone Deception by D. Lindsey Berkson was called “a wake-up call for the 21st. Century” by Ann Louise Gittleman.

We cannot make the assumption that a product is safe just because it comes from a well known company. Also, with so much information available on the internet, we must be careful that we are dealing with reputable sources when doing our researche. I am going to discuss a few of the many questionable ingredients commonly found in drug store and department store brands, but ultimately, it is up to each of us to due our own due diligence before choosing any products.

Ingredients we should avoid:

  • Formaldehyde: a highly toxic substance. It is a known cancer-causing agent. It damages the neurological connectors in the body. It is an irritant to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
  • Parabens: used primarily as a preservative in skin care. A chemical that can disrupt hormones and possibly a link to breast cancer and heart problems.
  • Triclosan: can disrupt hormones and remain stored in the body and eventually damage the lungs and kidneys. It is used widely in a number of household products. Also causes thyroid concerns.
  • 1,4-dioxane: a contaminant produced during manufacturing, so the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels. Found in products that create suds, like shampoo, liquid soap and bubble bath.
Some of the other questionable chemicals that are routinely found in personal care products are:
Polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance...and the list goes on.

To add to the confusion of reading labels - many of these chemicals are listed under other names. For instance you will not find “formaldehyde” on a label, but maybe methylene oxide.

How Does Skin Age?
First of all, there is chronological aging or the natural aging process where skin gets older with the passage of time—Cellular functions simply slow down, skin elasticity declines, pigment becomes irregular. The result is wrinkled and sagging skin with uneven skin coloring.

There is also a component of aging called accelerated aging. This occurs in part because of increased exposure to the sun and environmental pollutants, which create free radicals on the skin. Simply put: pollution plus UV radiation equals free radicals. When free radicals reach the skin a chemical reaction occurs that creates inflammation and genetic mutations at the cellular level. It is estimated that 80% of visible aging is from sun and environmental exposures.

Every day 73,000 free radical attacks on each skin cell trigger damaging enzymes...Skin you don’t even see already looks older!

So What’s The Answer?

Scientists have discovered that the same nutrients that keep us healthy on the inside also keep us healthy on the outside. To create a successful skin care line, each and every one of the biochemical reactions involved in the free radical damage process had to be identified and blocked – we are talking about antioxidant protection.

You might be wondering “If I’m taking a lot of antioxidant supplements, wouldn’t that protect my skin?”
Good question. But it doesn’t work like that. Good nutrition is indeed essential for overall health, including the health of the skin. But there are free radical assaults from the outside of our bodies. Scientists know that effective amounts of antioxidants are very difficult to formulate into skin care products. There are plenty of products out there with vitamin C, E and B6 on the label but many of these ingredients are in forms that the skin can’t utilize and they’re often present at very low levels. At best they only address certain parts of the biochemical chain reaction and only the visible problems. They don’t address all of the causes.

There's only one company that I know of who has successfully been able to look at each destructive link in the chain of damage and then block that part of the reaction with the appropriate antioxidant. To do this took a unique complex of 7 ingredients which they called Vital Repair +®. This signature complex now has three patents on it.

It is important to note that extensive research went into the formulation of this anti-aging skin care system, and after the products were developed, the company spent over one million dollars in independent clinical testing to insure safety & effectiveness.

The company who developed these products is Shaklee - recognized as pioneers in the development of nutritional supplements for over 50 years; and the line, introduced in 1998, is called Enfuselle. In all Shaklee has 8 patents on Enfuselle - a rarity in the skin care industry.

Whether you choose Enfuselle or another line of anti-aging skin care, the most important thing is that you are sure the products contain no toxic ingredients and that the vitamins in the products actually penetrate into the skin layers to reverse past damage and prevent against future aging. Your skin will thank you, AND you won’t have to worry about the chemicals you might be wearing.

Here’s to your healthy skin! (And don’t forget your sunscreen).