This post was written in collaboration with Smita Kishore from Simply Smita.
By Laura B. Folkes:
I don’t know about you but I’ve been hearing a lot about how what you put on your skin is equally as important as the food you put in your body. When I started doing more research, I also realized how overwhelming it is to know which products are truly natural and contain high-quality ingredients. This level of overwhelm felt the same as when I started to explore what was in my food.
There is so much conflicting information that it can be hard to know where to start, which is why I’ve invited Smita Kishore from Simply Smita to the blog! She provides some great tips on where to start and how to find quality, natural skin care products. Interestingly, the tips could even apply to adjusting the foods you eat if that’s a goal of yours. I hope you learn something new! Please share in the comments which tip resonates the most and where you plan to get started.
The average person uses 9 products daily, which contain 126 unique ingredients, with some people using as many as 15 products on their skin without a second thought. This wouldn’t be so concerning if the ingredients in our cosmetics were actually regulated. But, pretty much any raw material can be used and some ingredients are even protected by trade law, so there’s no way of knowing what’s truly in them.
Even more disturbing is the fact that many companies continue to use toxic chemicals in our products simply because they aren’t banned here yet. While the EU has banned over 1300 chemicals, the FDA has only banned 8 and restricted 3, which makes me pause to ask: just how much of that toxic gunk is entering our skin?
We have 2 million holes across our skin. 2 million! Our skin is our largest and most permeable organ and while it serves as a protective barrier, substances can still be absorbed if they are small enough. Unfortunately, many of these substances are found in everyday body care items, some of which are filled with nanoparticles that are designed to easily penetrate our skin’s walls. And, unlike the foods we eat that get filtered through our digestive system, once most chemicals make their way into our skin, they tend to accumulate over time. Which is why what we feed our skin is equally as important to what we feed our bodies!
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help reduce our chemical exposure to toxins lurking in our daily products. Here are a few tips to help you get started!
- Start Small. It can be overwhelming to remove multiple products from your routine so start small by eliminating the ones that pose the most risk. Begin by focusing on the products that you use most often or that stay on your skin the longest such as deodorants, lotions, and creams. If you have babies or young children, start with them as they have thinner skin and are at a greater risk for absorption. Tip: Make a list and work on swapping out one item at a time.
- Look Beyond Labels. Don’t get carried away by beautiful ads, pretty packaging or hefty prices. What looks great or expensive isn’t always great for you! And just because a product is labeled organic, doesn’t mean that it’s free of harmful ingredients so always make sure to read the full ingredient list before buying. If you don’t recognize or understand an ingredient, I recommend not buying it. Tip: The fewer ingredients a product has the better. My general rule of thumb is 10 ingredients or less, but find a number that you’re comfortable with and go from there.
- Knowledge is Power. Look into the practices of your favorite brands. Know the most toxic ingredients to avoid. Do a Google search to help educate yourself and learn to trust your common sense. If an ingredient or product messaging feels odd to you, trust your gut! Tip: For a list of ingredients to watch out for, check out our free ebook.
- Know What to Look For. Is the company organic? Do they give back to their workers and communities? Are they eco-friendly? What’s their mission? Where do they source their ingredients from? Do your research to find the brands that speak to you and that are openly transparent about their ingredients and practices. A lot can be learned about a company’s true intent by searching the answers to these questions on their ‘About Us’ and ‘FAQs’ pages. Tip: The harder these answers are to find on a company’s website, the warier you should be of trusting them. Transparency is key!
- Shop Local. Know where your products are coming from and support companies that you believe in. Seek out products from farmer’s markets, craft fairs or local ma and pa shops. This not only ensures you’re getting the freshest ingredients, but it also benefits the environment (shorter distance traveled) and strengthens the local economy. Tip: We’re fortunate to live in a city where we have access to farmers markers and artisan shows all year round, with most of them being free to the public. Take advantage and get to know the makers of your goods!
- Find A Balance. While it can be daunting to remove so many products from your routine, it’s important to be aware of what’s in them so you can make more informed decisions. For some, this may mean using less of your favorite product; for others, it may mean removing it completely. For me, it came down to making the things I use most often on my own. Regardless of what path you choose, take the steps to inform yourself of what you’re putting onto your skin so you can make the choices that work best for you and find a balance that you’re comfortable with. The path is there for you to explore. Tip: Don’t lose hope! While it may seem that many products on the market are more harmful than good, the demand for clean products is growing. There are great options out there; you just have to dig a little deeper to find them!
A Speech-Language Pathologist by degree and an entrepreneur by trade, Smita aims to spread Love in every way. She has been making her own body care products for over 6 years and founded Simply Smita, an organic skincare + wellness company, with her husband in an effort to create a fulfilling job that gives back to others.
Smita believes what we feed our skin is just as important as what we feed our bodies. All of her products are handmade in small batches with 5 organic ingredients or less. She is committed to giving back to local charities, working in harmony with the Earth, and empowering others through her wellness blog. She aims to act as an agent of change to help spread wellness through the prism of Love: Love for our bodies, Love for the Earth and Love for each other. To learn more, visit her website www.SimplySmita.Com or sign up for her newsletter.
About Laura B. Folkes:
Laura B. Folkes is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She supports busy adults who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns keeping them stuck so they can radically transform their relationship with food. She ensures her clients don’t feel deprived by guiding them to make small, incremental changes so the journey is more enjoyable.
After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura recognizes there are many factors keeping individuals from sticking to what they know works but it’s her mission to help others overcome these factors to become healthier and happier.
Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.