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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Men's Personal Skin Care, Safe Cosmetics

 "The average American man uses six personal care products a day containing more than 80 unique chemicals. Many of these chemicals are absorbed into the skin, inhaled or ingested, and the vast majority of cosmetic chemicals have not been assessed for safety."

This statement was made by The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. Usually when we think of the cosmetic industry we think of women, but this industry includes the personal care products used by men as well. Shampoos, shaving products, body wash, body sprays, deodorants...all advertised to help our men smell alluring and masculine.
Walk into a beauty salon, cosmetic section, or skin care line aisle and it is easy to get enveloped in the wonderful smells and appealing promises of slick packaging and advertising. You may wonder what the big deal is with the ingredients. I mean, you would think if there was something potentially harmful in these products they wouldn't be on the shelves in the first place.

It was very surprising for me to learn how vague the labeling laws are in the perfume and cosmetics industry. Unlike the food industry, there are no legal standards for organic or natural personal care products sold in the United States.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to you and your family's health. Don't think there isn't a problem just because the majority hasn't yet balked and made a fuss. Don't let the influence of the glamour and subliminal messaging behind the cosmetic industry cause you to doubt yourself just because you seem to appear the odd one in your circle. Sure, when you look around, people seem just fine. But if you or someone you love develops a condition where you find yourself far too often in some doctor's office, take another look around you. Our society really does have a lot of health issues.

 Our health is our own responsibility, therefore it is up to us to be willing to educate ourselves and search and check the labels on these products. The skin is our body's largest organ, and anything we apply to ourselves enters through the layers of skin into the bloodstream. Yes, the old saying about "anything in moderation" is true with most things, but...The cosmetic industry claims the amount of these ingredients are not high enough to pose a threat, but the problem lies in the fact that we use these products day in and day out.  Our kidneys and liver do their best to eliminate toxins but what about those that over time have been stored within the fatty tissues of the skin. The long term effects are a concern. The body reacts by way of allergic and inflammatory reactions, the havoc played on the the endocrine system is not always fully understood and the source of the problems are often hard to pinpoint.

 It is time to fight back and take control of your health and that of your family. Read labels and educate yourselves. Don't expect the FDA or the government to have your family's best interests in mind as long as our society is so influenced by big business.

Two red flag ingredients that we are hearing a lot about are phthalates and parabens.  
For a more detailed list of what is in your personal care items:

Phthalates are a class of chemicals used to dissolve ingredients so that they blend efficiently. 
Diethyl phthalate (DEP) found in fragrance-containing products such as cologne, aftershave, shaving cream, shampoos and deodorants. You may not see the actual term, phthalates, on the label but you will see them listed as parfum or fragrance. Sounds harmless labeled that way but studies are finding links between DEP and reproductive development in infants and sperm damage in adult men. A study by Harvard University researchers have found that the regular use of colognes can increase the levels of DEP in the body.

Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, moisturizers and shampoos. Look for the words: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Parabens allow skin care products to survive for months or even years in your medicine cabinet; however, they also enter your body through your skin when you use these products. According to, the body can absorb as much as five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year. 

Parabens can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt functions of the endocrine system, which involves the thyroid, adrenals and reproductive system. The endocrine system releases hormones into the bloodstream and is involved in a number of functions related to reproduction, waste elimination, digestion and metabolism.
You won’t, unfortunately, find phthalates listed on a label, but the best way to avoid them is look out for ‘fragrance’ or parfum’.

Colby College's Clean Makeup website reports that parabens can mimic estrogen and disrupt the body's hormone system. Your body does not easily break down synthetic estrogen, and it can accumulate in fat cells, including breast tissue.

Other product ingredients to look for in your personal care supplies:
Lead acetate: found in men's hair and beard colorants.
Coal tar: found in dandruff shampoos
Triclosan: found in antibacterial soaps and deodorants
Formaldeyde: found in some shampoos and body washes

Men today realize the importance of taking care of their appearance and it all starts with skincare. Men often don't experience the same problems as women with dry skin. Being men produce testosterone, their skin tends to be thicker than that of of women, therefore women tend to show signs of aging sooner then men. After the age of about 30, the skin's oil glands reduce their production and the loss contributes to drier skin. Both sexes experience a drop in hormonal levels as they age, but in women the decline is more dramatic. With a decrease in estrogen levels the skin's fat layer begins to thin, resulting in the skin becoming not only drier, but less firm and more fragile. Women usually know to use a moisturizer as part of their skin care routine, but men often don't even think about that until later in adulthood. Men need to moisturize too.

With awareness comes the task of making wise decisions. Rather than worry, educate yourself with the truth behind the hype, and be a wise consumer by going the all natural route.

Shaving Balm, Facial Moisturizer

Private Parts Powder

Fungal Powder

Stick Deodorant

Facial Moisturizer

Aftershave Splash

Dandruff Scalp Oil