By Dr Libby
Sep 07, 2018

What to Put on Your Skin and What to Avoid

Guest Column

One of the beauty questions I am asked most often is, “how do I get beautiful skin?” Whether it’s redness, blemishes, eczema or persistent bumps, it’s highly likely that the answer will be, for the most part, an inside job. 

How many of us stop to consider that our outer layer is merely a reflection of inner processes, completely reliant on the health of the 50 trillion cells that you are made of? The health of those cells is impacted by everything from the food you eat, the nutrients that are present or missing from your blood, and the hormones and messages your body makes based on whether your thoughts are fearful or loving. Think about that.

When most people think about improving their appearance, they usually focus on a product, another “quick fix”. Yet when you consider that the skin cells on your face are a small percentage of the total number of cells in the whole body, it seems crazy that we don’t spend more time getting the majority of our cells functioning optimally, leading us to the outcomes we seek. When we’re providing our body with everything it needs to function optimally, to fuel the billions of biochemical processes inside of us that keep us alive, the natural by-product is excellent skin, hair and nails.

That said, what we put on our skin matters. So often when we buy a new moisturising cream that feels and smells luxurious we don’t pause to consider that whatever is in that product will be absorbed into our bloodstream—with the potential to either enhance our inner health or demand even more of our (potentially) already overloaded biochemical pathways of detoxification. 

Any potentially harmful substance that we put on our skin—such as some of the synthetic substances in conventional skincare products—has to go via the liver to be processed and excreted.

Here are some common skincare ingredients you want to be conscious of being exposed to and reduce your exposure to include:

  • butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • parabens
  • sodium laureth sulfate, also referred to as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES)
  • phthalates, such as dibutyl phthalate
  • resorcinol
  • diethanolamine (DEA) and DEA compounds
  • polyethylene glycols (PEGs)
  • formaldehyde-releasing agents
  • triclosan
  • petrolatum
  • siloxanes

Instead, you might decide it is a good idea to start to transition to less synthetic skincare. For example, when your lipstick, mascara or foundation next runs out, consider replacing them with a brand that doesn’t contain any of the ingredients just discussed. Small steps can have an enormous payback to you and the planet in the long term. As well as the aforementioned ingredients, try looking for products that are free from synthetic fragrances, colours, preservatives, animal derivatives and petrochemicals.

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