Let’s be honest and just slap a skull and crossbones on your skin products.

neon green sticker with a cartoon face making a sickly expression. around the face reads "poison help! 1-800-222-1222.

Put this sticker on your ammonia and your face wash bottles. (photo compliments of enviroblog.org)

What’s your largest organ? *insert dirty joke*

The title might give it away, but it’s your skin.

It’s the pretty stuff. The barrier to the harsh outside world. It gives, gives, gives. And we take, take, take.

We want to eat healthy. We want to be fit. We want hearty immune systems.

Well then why would we just slather poisonous chemicals that inebriate our pretty, hard-working skin?

Have you tried to read your face cream, lotion, body scrub or shampoo label? I imagine mad scientists hunched over smoldering beakers of chemicals cackling about the scientific names of them. But we digress.

This is on my mind because Tuesday, I saw that The Health Concern of Towson, Md, a local natural health food store, posted an image on Facebook about what some of those impossible-to-pronounce ingredients really are and what they can do to your health.

a chart of twelve toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in beauty and skin care products. included are: benzoyl peroxide, DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethenolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), dioxin, DMDM hydantoin and urea (imidazolidinyl), FD&C color and pigments, parabens (methyl, butyl, ehtyl, propyl), PEG (polyethylene glycol), phthalates, propylene glycol (PG) and butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sunscreen chemicals (avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate), triclosan.

This chart lists the health effects of dangerous ingredients found in our everyday body and beauty products.

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a link to Harmful or Carcinogenic Ingredients in Our Skin Care. This document, by LivingAnointed.com, addresses some of the same ingredients (plus more) and gives advice for finding some of them hidden within different names. For example, the term “fragrance” may be masking phthalates.

Seven “What you can do” suggestions are at the end of the document’s list of harmful ingredients.

I strive to clean up my skin and body care regimen products. Checking all of these ingredients is tedious and reminds me of struggling through environmental chemistry class,  but shopping for new products is fun. I like supporting local business and using new stuff adds some zest to the daily routine.

Stay tuned as I find companies and brands that limit usage of these dangerous chemicals.

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