Take Our Bathroom Challenge
Know what’s really behind those ingredients in your bathroom products.
When it comes to skincare products, we often hear it’s important to nourish our skin because it is the body’s largest organ.
But what is skin and why is it so important? The answer is as multifaceted as the skin is multifunctional. But one of its key roles is to provide a protective barrier between the inside of our body and the outside world, shielding us from disease causing pathogens. In that way skin is very different to other organs because it is exposed to the outside world and needs to endure the harsh environment, like skin drying wind and sunlight. As a result, skin gets damaged. It is therefore crucial to counteract the damage done to our skin with the use of skincare products – moisturiser, serums, face creams etc.
Going a little deeper however, we learn that the skin is not only a barrier, but in what seems to be an oxymoron, it is also permeable, meaning that what goes on it, is deeply absorbed into the skin and eventually the blood stream. And so this is the very reason why we need to know what we are putting on our skin everyday, in the form of ‘skincare products’. And why Vanessa Megan has set this bathroom challenge.
So what ingredients are used in our everyday skincare products? It’s a question that Vanessa Gray, ‘Founder, Director and Partner’ of Vanessa Megan, asked of her daily moisturisers, serums and face creams. And when Vanessa herself took ‘the bathroom challenge’ she discovered her skincare products were not doing as they claimed – and that instead of feeding her skin with moisture and nutrients, they were in fact bottles filled with toxins and false promises.
So please, take the Vanessa Megan Bathroom Challenge. Empty your bathroom cupboard, make a cup of organic tea and read the ingredients list on your skin (and hair care) products, checking them off against the list below. Vanessa Gray did, and what she uncovered was an alarming mix of toxic chemicals being absorbed through her skin every day.
A partial list of ingredients we believe are best AVOIDED:
Both sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate
(SLES) are used as detergents and surfactants (an agent that has cleaning properties) in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners, and engine degreasers. Yet these two ingredients are most widely used in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioner, shampoo and other foaming products. Research shows SLS is known to be a common skin irritant. Both SLS and SLES may also cause potentially carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins by reacting with other ingredients in your daily skin and hair care products.
2. Petroleum (Mineral Oil is a by-product)
Petrolatum is a petrochemical that contains two well-known carcinogens: Benzo-A-Pyrene and Benzo-B-Fluroanthene. When added to skincare products, it is known to form an occlusive barrier on the skin, preventing the skin from taking in oxygen or respiring waste. Ironically, if used excessively, it can cause drying, chapping and flaking of the skin.
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum.
- Polyethelene Glycol: PEG’s are found in many hair and skincare products, and in spray-on oven cleaners! They are used to dissolve oil and grease. Unsurprisingly, on the skin, like on the oven, PEG’s dissolve the skin of its natural moisture, leaving the skin and the immune system vulnerable. They are also thought to be potentially cancer causing.
- Propylene Glycol: is commonly found in skin care products, personal care products and anti-freeze! Like its previously mentioned toxic cousin, Propylene Glycol has the ability to remove water from skin, which is not what a moisturiser is meant to do!
- Mineral oil (or liquid petroleum): is a by-product in the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. Mineral oils are cheap and used extensively in skincare, but ironically, they offer no skin benefits. Worse yet, they are thought to prevent the skin from functioning normally and releasing toxins from the body. But most frighteningly, mineral oils are thought to be carcinogenic.
NOTE: All petrochemicals used in skincare are thought to have an occlusive effect on the skin, which in turn may produce or aggravate acne!
4. Artificial Fragrances
Artificial fragrances are often added to skincare products to create a sweet scent, but the majority of these fragrances are either known to be cancer causing or otherwise toxic. Fragrance can also be found in most deodorants (and the underarm is close to the breast area) shampoos, sunscreens and body care products.
5. Artificial Colours
Artificial colours can cause an adverse reaction on the skin’s surface – acne, allergies and skin sensitivities. But more frighteningly, colours made from coal tars have been found them to be carcinogenic in varying degrees. For example, FD&C Red #4 is no longer available for use in foods because of it’s a known threat to our health. It is considered a carcinogen, but is still used in non-food products.
6. Animal Derived Products
Fatty and oily animal derived products are commonly used in cosmetics. These fatty substances have been found to contain residues of various pesticides, vetinary drugs and artificial growth hormones.
Two of the common abattoir ingredients are:
- Lanolin: A product of the oil glands of sheep, extracted from their wool and used as an emollient in many skin-care products and cosmetics. Lanolin is known allergen with no proven effectiveness and has a history of pesticide residuals.
- Placenta (not to be mistaken for the plant) Contains waste matter eliminated by the fetus and is derived from the uterus of slaughtered animals. Animal placenta is widely used in skin creams, shampoos, masks, etc and contains a great deal of hormones that can cause abnormal tissue growth.
7. DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)
These three chemicals are known to disrupt hormones and yet are found in most shampoos and moisturisers. They are also known to be cancer-causing agents. DEA in particular is known to be easily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in organs such as the brain, where it induces chronic toxic effects.
Silicone, often used in face creams and moisturisers, gives a luxurious feel of silk when put on the skin. However, that same silk like wrap that helps to keep moisture in, can also keep in other nasties (dirt and bacteria) that can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
Parabens, a commonly used group of preservatives in skincare products, give length to their shelf life. But research has shown a link between parabens in cosmetics and breast cancer.
Unfortunately, somewhere in the development of skincare products, the desire to care for our skin, to really nourish and care for our skin, got lost. And in its place now stands white-coated chemists concocting synthesised serums and petridish beauty remedies.
When Vanessa Gray discovered the potential dangers in her skincare products, it prompted her quest to find a product that had all the regenerating, healing and longevity properties she was looking for without any harmful chemicals or synthetic ingredients. Hence the birth of ‘Vanessa Megan’.
So please, be an informed consumer. Take the Vanessa Megan bathroom challenge. Read the ingredients list on your skincare products, ask questions and do your research. And if in doubt, remember the words once spoken to Vanessa Gray by a close friend ‘You should never put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat.”
Final Note regarding Testing on Animals: Vanessa Megan does not engage in the cruel practice of testing on animals.