What You Put On Your Skin & Why It Matters

   Grandma’s Lavender uses all natural and organic ingredients. Our philosophy is to provide skin and health care products that are simple, natural, organic and effective. We are passionate about putting products out on the market that are going to be safe for you and your whole family. It is common to hear that you are what you eat, but what about your skin is only as good as what you put on it? Ultimately both ring true, but there is far more information about the importance of nutrition then there is about the importance of proper skincare.

   There is a wide spread misconception that what we put on our skin is inconsequential. Foods have a higher impact on our health because of being ingested whereas lotions, creams, and body washes are not, they are applied topically. The skin is the body’s largest organ and provides a number of functions such as protection, water preservation, vitamin D synthesis, and temperature regulation. 

   Research has shown that chemicals are absorbed into the skin via diffusion. It is a process in which molecules are moved from a high point of concentration to areas with lower concentration. The outer most layer of the skin is called the Stratum Corneum. It serves as an important barrier by keeping molecules from passing in and out of the skin, which protects the lower layers of skin.  There are three different mechanisms that have been proposed to have an effect in how the skin diffuses substances. They are intercellular lipid pathway, transcellular permeation, and through the appendages (i.e hair follicles and glands). In a general synopsis these models show how the skin is able to absorb chemicals into the body disproving that ingesting a substance is the only avenue in which a person’s health can be impacted. 

   Historically the CDC has tried to implement strategies to control exposure to hazardous agents that can be inhaled rather then focusing on agents that can be absorbed into the skin. Contact dermatitis is the number one most common type of occupational illness with estimated annual costs exceeding $1 billion. 

    The FDA requires cosmetics to be safe, but doesn’t have the authority to require companies to test their products before they are put onto the market. Many cosmetic companies look to see if their products cause skin or eye irritation and allergic reactions, but does not test to see if there is long term toxic or cancer causing effects. Cosmetics intended for retail must have a list of ingredients on the label. It, however, does not have to include flavor, fragrance, or trade secret ingredients. Products that are used by professionals and samples distributed free of charge are also not required to list ingredients. 

   Chemicals can and do enter into your bloodstream through topical application. It is important to be aware of what you are putting on your skin. With that being said, it can be difficult to know where to start. Start with products that have the most impact (or products that could have the most impact on your health) and how much your skin is being exposed to (a) particular chemical(s). For example, if you use lotion as a whole body moisturizer and let it absorb into your skin, you have a higher level of exposure; than using a face wash that is quickly washed away. Start with products that you have higher rates of exposure to (i.e sunscreen, lotion, shampoo, etc). 

    Our inventory of products are made with this in mind. Our Body Butter, Hand Balm, Happy Bum Cream (refer to our Summer Skincare blog), and Lip balm were products we had on hand all summer long. We were  confident that we had products that nourished, protected our skin, were free of any harsh chemicals, and (bonus) they smell amazing! 

The key take aways from this blog are: 

  • Know who you are buying from and what their philosophy is 
  • Do a bit of your own research before buying products, just because they are heavily acclaimed doesn’t mean that their products live up to the hype
  • The things you want to have the cleanest ingredients in are: 
    • Anything you apply & don’t wash off (i.e lotions and oils) 
    • Anything you soak in 
    • Shampoo & Conditioner 
    • Anything you put on your child!!

 

 

Citations: 

Burnes, Deborah. “Putting It on Your Skin Does Let It in: What's in Skin Care and How It Affects Your Health.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 21 June 2012, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/skin-care_b_1540929.

“CDC - Skin Exposures and Effects - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 July 2013, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/skin/.

“Cosmetics.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society , 28 May 2014, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/cosmetics.html#additional_resources.


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