When you hear words “Healthy lifestyle” what comes to mind? Exercise and all of those healthy things we put in our body: nutritious food, pure water, and good quality supplements.


How about what we use on our precious skin? You might have some nasty surprises exploring content of your makeup, cosmetics and skincare!


But why are the ingredients of these products so important? It all hinges around how the skin functions.



Under our skin


Our skin prevents heat loss, acts as a shock absorber and a protective shield for the body. 


Human dermis also has an impressive ability to absorb substances from its surface, directly into the bloodstream (1). Skin is the third major absorption organ after the gastrointestinal tract and lungs.


This knowledge is not new. People in ancient Egypt, Rome, Babylon and other old civilisations knew about this unique ability. As far back as 1500BC there is evidence of aromatic herbal baths, creams, and concoctions being used to enhance health and natural beauty.


The results of a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health (2) proved that ancient wisdom. The study showed that skin absorbed 64% of compounds found in tap water.




Another good example of dermal absorption was demonstrated in Journal of Occupational Health: Cotinines (3) [toxic nicotine derivatives] were found in the urine of non-smoking tobacco farmers in Malaysia who were handling wet tobacco leaves (4).


The research above underlines importance of understanding epidermal function, and being aware of the toxin content of cosmetics or skincare products. For example triclosan in deodorants, toluene in nail polish and butylated hydroxyanisole in fragrances.


Hence, the choice of the personal care products we apply to our treasured skin is very important.



Cosmetic issues


Throughout the centuries both men and women have always invested a great deal of time and effort in looking good. Our skin has always had a major role in our appearance; Skin believed to be a mirror of an individual’s inner health.


Unfortunately the majority of modern make-up and skin care products, which most people use on a daily basis, contain several potentially harmful substances.


There is a growing body of opinion that many of these chemicals are toxic. There is also mounting evidence that some of these artificial additives may cause serious diseases and health problems. 



For example:

  • Some studies suggest that particular toxic ingredients found in cosmetics are linked to preterm births, low birth weight and hormonal disruptions, and are damaging DNA (5) (6) (7) (8)

  • Many young people start using makeup & skincare early, which raises concerns over the effects of any harmful content. Toxins are particularly damaging to the vulnerable developing body.

  • In March 2013`The Telegraph` published an article “Are we dying to be beautiful?” discussing the dangers of toxic ingredients widely used in makeup. Yet so many men & women are still using toxic personal care products, which may negatively impact their own health. On average women apply 168 chemicals to their skin daily! (9) .



Help is at hand 


By using natural make up products you can nourish your skin and cherish your health. It is essential to be mindful of the ingredients in the body care products you choose, as virtually everything you put on your skin will end up inside your body.


So don’t forget to check contents of your personal care collection. It might be time for you to switch to more gentle, healthy and natural products. 


At Health Matters London we stock a wide range of natural, healthy cosmetics and skincare. We would be happy to advise you should you drop into the shop, or call us on 020 8441 8335.




1. Chemico-Biological Interactions; Volume 140, Issue 1, 20 April 2002, Pages 19–34

2. H S Brown, D R Bishop, and C A Rowan. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. American Journal of Public Health May 1984: Vol. 74, No. 5, pp. 479-484

3. A cotinine is toxic alkaloid present in tobacco and also is a metabolite of nicotine. Cotinine used as a reliable biomarker of direct nicotine exposure directly or due to environmental tobacco smoke (passive smoking).

4. Onuki, M., Yokoyama, K., Kimura, K., Sato, H., Nordin, R.B., Naing, L., Morita, Y., Sakai, T., Kobayashi, Y. & Araki, S. (2003). Assessment of urinary cotinine as a marker of nicotine absorption from tobacco leaves: a study on tobacco farmers in Malaysia. Journal of Occupational Health 45, 140–145

5. EWG (The Environmental Working Group); nonprofit environmental research organization in Washington

6. Savage JH1, Matsui EC, Wood RA, Keet CA. Urinary levels of triclosan and parabens are associated with aeroallergen and food sensitization.

7. Darbre PD1, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, Coldham NG, Sauer MJ, Pope GS. Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours.

8. Erika S. Koeppe, Kelly K. Ferguson, Justin A. Colacino, John D. Meeker. Relationship between urinary triclosan and paraben concentrations and serum thyroid measures in NHANES 2007–2008

9. The Guardian. Not so pretty: women apply an average of 168 chemicals every day; 30 April 2015







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