By Karen

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Categories: Acne, Chemical free skin care, DNA Damage, Moisturisers with Sunscreen, Sunscreen, unassessed ingredients

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Beauty Myths: 3 False Beliefs about Skin Care

1. Avoid Moisturiser use for oily skin.

Many women troubled with oily skin are often concerned that using a moisturiser will make their skin oilier. To some extent that assumption could be true, particularly if a mineral oil or synthetic silicone are included in the ingredients of the moisturiser chosen.

Mineral oil is also known as petrolatum, obtained from the petro-chemical industry. It coats like plastic wrap, preventing the skin from breathing or eliminating toxins. During manufacture petrolatum can be contaminated with carcinogens. Dimethicone is a synthetic silicone, which acts the same way as petrolatum. It was first used in the paper making industry. Now it is found in may skin care products and hair conditioners. This chemical has been found to cause tumours in laboratory animals. Look at the ingredients in your moisturiser to find if they are listed.

Moisture and oil are two different body fluids. An oily skin can also be dehydrated, particularly if a harsh, drying cosmetic is used in an attempt to dry out the excess oil. The surface of the skin becomes dehydrated. The more stressed the skin is by continually being striped of the natural acid mantel, the more oil the sebaceous glands with pump out to contend with the problem.

A light moisturiser based n Aloe Vera is the best option as the aloe, with it’s healing and antioxidant properties will help to normalise the skin’s secretions.

Miessence Balancing Moisturiser for normal to oily skin that has a few break-outs and pimples is ideal as the certified organic Aloe Vera hydrates the skin without excessive oil.This creamy moisturiser is also formulated with plant phosphlipids, organic seed butters and oils, organic herbs and flowers has significant lasting effects on the skin’s hydration and smoothness.

The Balancing Skin Conditioner supplies water soluble nutrients to actually feed the skin and as a hydration base for the Balancing Moisturiser to lock in.

Miessence Purifying Moisturiser for acne and  skin is a light lotionwith organic extracts known to sooth inflamed complexions. Plant phospholipids hydrate the skin without clogging the pores or over moisturising.

The Purifying Skin Conditioner of aloe vera infused with organic echinacea, witch hazel, plantain and burdock helps firm and tone the skin. Tea tree assist the Purifying Skin Conditioner to clarify and purify the complexion.

2. Sunscreen prevents skin cancer.

It will come as a surprise to many that little is known about the safety or effectiveness of sunscreens except they appear to prevent sunburn.

There is no data demonstrating that sunscreen alone helps prevent skin cancer according to the FDA. To protect from the sun’s damaging rays, covering up with clothing and hats as a physical barrier and staying in shade where possible is the best advice. Many sunscreen contain chemicals that have cause for concern due to their toxicity when absorbed into the skin.

Approximately 30% of sunscreens and most Moisturisers containing sunscreen use Retinyl Palmitate, a synthetic vitamin A as it is claimed this ingredient slows skin ageing. However recent data indicates that when this chemical is applied to the skin in sunlight it may speed up the development of lesions and skin tumors. Scientists have been aware for some time that vitamin A can increase excessive skin growth and in sunlight can form free radicals that damage DNA.

During a year long study, laboratory animals were exposed daily to the equivalent of nine minutes maximum intensity sunlight. Some of the specimens were coated with a cream containing 0.05% vitamin A concentration while the remaining animals were treated with a vitamin-free cream. Tumors and lesions developed up to 21% sooner in the animals coated with the vitamin A cream.

Reflect Outdoor Balm is a water-free nourishing balm with natural minerals that help reflect damaging ultraviolet radiation. Micro-fine (not nano-particles!) zinc oxide offers protection from harmful rays whilst organic olive oil keeps the skin supple.

3. All products labelled as ‘organic’ really are organic.

There are no regulations regarding the use of the word ‘organic’ when labeling or describing skin care or cosmetic products. In fact the term scientifically refers to any compound that was once living. Loosely translated, leaves and flora material that have been compacted over millions of years to form crude oil is classified as ‘organic’!

Consumers are under the illusion that if a product is labeled and advertised as organic, it is entirely natural with little processing and no synthetic chemical additives. This assumption is entirely incorrect. Some products may include organic ingredients and there might also be ‘certified’ organic ingredients but a closer look at the ingredients label could also show chemicals are included in the formulation and there is no safe guard to warn trusting consumers.

It is worth noting that if the ‘organic ingredients’ are toward the end of the list, they will be in too small an amount to be of benefit.
Another trick used by manufacturers is to list every organic herb in the ‘Aqueous Infusion’ of their product. A closer look reveals this ingredient to be a weak tea of botanicals, boosting the dubious organic claim.

To ensure the organic products you choose are genuinely organic, without the inclusion of chemicals, look for the ‘certification’ logo of a third party, independent body such as the USDA or the ACO. Without a certification, an organic claim cannot be substantiated.




By Karen


Categories: Anti-ageing cream deception, Chemical free skin care, DNA Damage, Hormone Disrupting Chemicals, Moisturisers with Sunscreen, unassessed ingredients

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Sunscreens May have Harmful Chemical Ingredients



We are all encouraged to use sunscreen and avoid harsh sunlight for fear of sun cancers. There has been a lot of media attention directed by the various cancer foundations as well as the manufacturers of the sunscreen products in the hope to gain a market share of the multi-million dollar industry.

Consider some of the chemicals in sunscreens, as many have not been sufficiently tested for safety.

Oxybenzone has been detected in human breast milk and in 97% of the 2,500 US citizens tested for the chemical by the US Centre for Disease Control & Prevention in 2005. This chemical is also known to be a hormone disruptor and can be found in over 600 sunscreens sold in the US.

Oxybenzone is a penetration enhancer; helps to deliver other chemicals in the product deeper into the skin layers where they may enter the bloodstream. Not only does this chemical cause cell damage, it is rapidly oxidised in light and inactivates the skins’ natural protection system.

It appears that females have the highest reading for this chemical, which stands to reason, as they are more likely to use a sunscreen to protect against the ageing effects of the sun.

In 2006, research teams from the University of California-Riverside found 2 coastal fish species had been feminized by oxybenzone with two thirds of the males carrying ovary tissue.

Octyl-methoxycinnamate is a hormone disruptor as well as a penetration enhancer. It produces free radicals. The ‘oxy’ in the word indicates the chemical has been ethoxylated during manufacture meaning it could be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a potent carcinogen.

Butyl-Methdiebenzoylmethane, also listed as Avobenzone degrades in sunlight within an hour to become ineffective as a sunscreen chemical. It rapidly converts light into chemical energy releasing free radicals into the body.

Titanium Dioxide has not had sufficient testing to be regarded as entirely safe. Studies have shown DNA damage from exposure to this chemical when exposed to light.

Nanoparticles are increasingly used in many cosmetics, including sunscreens where the relatively new technology has been used to create such ingredients as  ‘invisible zinc’.
This means the zinc loses it reflective property and could be absorbed into the skin and the blood stream. Scientists warn chemicals with a molecular size so small this type of absorption could result in the ‘next asbestos’.
There are no regulations to list nanoparticles on labels, so consumers may be unaware the products they choose may contain these type of ingredients..

As sales of sunscreen have risen, so have the rates of skin cancer. Caution should be used to avoid over exposure, but as an increasing number of people show vitamin D deficiency, it may be that the pendulum has swung to far the other way.
Recently, synthetic vitamin D supplements in the form of pills have been promoted.
Safe sun exposure, out side the middle of the day promotes the natural manufacture of Vitamin D within the body, without the need to pop a pill!

There are safer sunscreen products, when we learn to read labels and become discerning consumers rather than be taken in by the marketing hype and the scare mongers against natural, safe sun light exposure and who also promote synthetic chemical laden products.




By Karen

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Categories: DNA Damage, Hormone Disrupting Chemicals, Moisturisers with Sunscreen, Toxic Contaminants, unassessed ingredients

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L’Occitane Ingredients report … Ultra Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen.

I was cleaning out the bathroom this weekend and right at the back of the cupboard I found a tube of L’Occitane Ultra Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen.

I had forgot I had it as I haven’t used any chemical based cosmetics for more than 5 years, since I found out how detrimental many chemicals included in skin care products are.

So, lets’ take a closer look at the ingredients of the L’Occitane Ultra Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen:

The packaging advertises the product contains 8% Shea butter. Great!

But what of the remaining 92% of ingredients? …

Along with the Shea butter the first 4 ingredients, making between 90% and 95% of the entire product are:

Aqua (water!);

Sunflower seed oil … both completely harmless but not extraordinary ingredients.

Ehylhexl Methoxycinnamate; this ingredient can cause allergic skin rashes.  An ingredient with ‘oxy’ in the name has been ethoxylated and can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a potent carcinogen, during the manufacture process. You won’t find it listed on a label, as it is a contaminant, not an intended ingredient.  There strong evidence it is a human endocrine disruptor and concerns it interferes with cellular signaling, cause mutations and lead to cell death. (1)*

The remaining list consists of:

Isopropyl Myristate: A widely used fatty compound, which causes blackheads and is not included in many newer formulations. This chemical can react with others in the formulation during manufacture and storage to create nitrosamines (NDELA) the most powerful of all contaminants. Scientists have found nitrosamines cause cancer in all species tested including primates, our closest relatives in the animal world. (2)

Propylene Glycol: A petroleum derivative, it penetrates the skin and can weaken the protein and cellular structure.  It is cheap and has been linked to sensitivity reactions. Its use has been reduced in favor of “safer” glycols. (If there is such a thing!)

Dimethicone: A silicone emollient, it coats like plastic wrap preventing the skin from breathing and eliminating toxins. Some synthetic emollients are known tumor promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable causing negative environmental impact.

Corn oil: Inexpensive oil that may cause skin reactions in the allergic.

Titanium Dioxide; used in sunscreen, limited safety data and studies have shown it causes DNA damage when exposed to light. Some researchers fear absorption into the blood stream particularly if the chemical is in nanoparticles form. (3)

PEG 100: derived from castor oil, Polyethylene glycol compounds are potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredients that can alter and reduce the skins’ natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of ageing and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. (6)

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): As part of good industrial and personal hygiene and safety procedure, avoid all unnecessary exposure to the chemical substance and ensure prompt removal from skin, eyes and clothing. (5)

Glyceryl Sterate; widely used synthetic emulsifier and skin conditioner that may cause allergies. Glycerin is a cheap humectant that will draw moisture from the atmosphere to the skin in humidity above 65%. In humidity below that, it actually draws moisture from the deeper layers of the skin to be held on the surface by a barrier (Dimethicone) the skin is dehydrated by this function.

Butylene Glycol: causes adverse reproductive and developmental effects if ingested. It can penetrate the skin and weaken protein and cellular structure. There are safety data gaps of around 78% but it is considered low hazard by the cosmetic database even though it is recognized as an irritant. (4)

Laureth 7: Again, as with the ‘oxy’ in the word, ‘eth means the ingredient has been ethoxylated. See above*

Methyl Paraben: there has been a lot in the press about this preservative ingredient as it is widely used even though it is known to be toxic. Beware of any ingredient with methyl, propyl, butyl or ethyl in the word, as these are paraben preservatives. They can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes.

Retinyl Palmitate: Although the CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review board – an industry regulated board) maintains this chemical is safe at low concentrations, it is on the Canadian Hotlist. This means the Canadian Product Safety Bureau considers it to have potentially adverse effects, or it could have been restricted or banned.

Benzyl Alcohol: A solvent in perfumes can be irritating and corrosive to the skin and Mucous membranes.

Hydroxyisohexeyl: A fragrance ingredient known as an alderhyde, most alderhydes are irritating to the skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Limonene: This preservative is from the petrochemical industry and is a skin irritant and sensitizer. It has the potential to be a carcinogen.

I have not covered the complete ingredients list, nor have I referenced all my findings, but I think you may see where this is going.
It is a shame such as wonderfully nourishing substance like the Shea butter is completely over-shadowed by the chemicals in this product.

What is a worry is the nitrosamine-promoting ingredient, Isopropyl Myristate, which has the ability of increasing the contamination the longer the product has been open. Researchers have found products with this class of contaminant have increased 4 fold over a 17-month period.

There are safer alternatives to your moisturising choice. Look for products with less (or no) chemicals and enjoy the benefits of healthy skin care without the risks.

(2)    A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter
(3)    Mutat Res 2000 Mar 3; 466(1):1-7; Free Radic Biol Med 1999 Aug;27 (3-4); 294-300; FEBS Lett 1997 Nov 24; 418 (1-2); 87-90



By Karen

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Categories: Hormone Disrupting Chemicals, Toxic Contaminants, unassessed ingredients

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Gisele and that Poison Sunscreen Outburst.


While promoting the launch of her natural skin care range, the model Gisele Bundchen, in a statement regarding sunscreens was quoted as saying “I cannot put this poison on my body”

Gisele continued, “ I do not use anything synthetic”

And then the world of the ‘experts’ erupted; forcing the model to retract and qualify her comments, claiming the language barrier had caused her to be misquoted. In a further statement, Ms Bundchen stated she only uses products that don’t contain ‘harsh’ chemicals such as parabens, Oxybenzone, PABA and Retinyl Palmitate.

Choose sunscreen with out the toxic chemicals.

The head of Brazil’s National Cancer Institute claimed sunscreen is of “fundamental importance” for preventing cancer, even though there is no evidence or studies to support this statement.

Professor Ian Olver, head of Cancer Council Australia was less emotional when asked for a response on the topic. He said “The real message is that the damage that UV light can do to your skin is so great, not only the risk of cancer but also of premature ageing of the skin, that if you have enough exposure to cause a tan you’ve done the damage to trigger off skin cancer and to damage the skin that will later show up as premature ageing,”

Prof Olver went on to comment on nanoparticles in sunscreens by saying there hasn’t been evidence of harm, but there was a ‘good argument’ for labeling the products so consumers could make informed decisions.

The fact that nanoparticles in skin care products is a relatively new science means there have not been sufficient studies to qualify them as a safe ingredient. Some scientists warn against the technology as more products enter the market ahead of research results. One researcher fears nanoparticles could be the next asbestos disaster.

Then there is the subject of the chemical Oxybenzone.  The Center of Disease Control released a study in 2008 showing the majority of the American population (97%) was contaminated with oxybenzene, which is widely used in sunscreens. This chemical has been linked to cell damage, hormone disruption, allergies and low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, which means it can deliver other chemicals deeper into the skin tissue.

Sunlight causes Oxybenzone to form free radical chemicals that may be linked to cell damage. Children are particularly vulnerable as their skin surface; relative to body weight is much greater. Because of this fact, the potential dose of the chemical following skin application is likely to be 1.4 times greater than in adults. Children have less ability to excrete toxins from their bodies and their developing organs put them at greater risk of developing later-in-life disease triggered by exposure to chemicals.

Yet the last safety review of oxybenzone undertaken by the FDA (or any other governing body) was in the 1970s. The use of sunscreens has increased, but so has the rate of skin cancers.

Consider a sunscreen with out oxybenzone at

“Sunscreens were never developed to prevent skin cancer,” Zoe Diana Draelos, editor of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology said in a 2010 report. “In fact, there is no evidence to recommend that sunscreens prevent skin cancer in humans.”

Vitamin D is essential to our bodies’ well being and a measured amount of sunlight, about 20 minutes, either before or after the hottest part of the day is a healthier option than taking a pill. The choice of a sunscreen with the sheen of a reflective barrier of zinc, avoiding all creams containing chemicals, is the best advise.

It is a pity Gisele Bundchen didn’t stick to the originally quoted statement.
She may be on to something.
If public opinion is stirred enough, the powers that be could be shamed into completing the long awaited research. After 30 years, the FDA released a draft in October  ’09, but continues to delay finalizing the safety standards.