Tag Archives: skin care

READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 1] The Purpose of Your Skin

Source: University of Mayrland http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/8912.htm
Source: University of Maryland

The skin is the largest organ in the body, taking up approximately 6 feet in surface area, and weighing about 16% of your body weight.

The skin has many functions, not only protecting your internal organs, muscles, and blood from intrusion of infection microorganisms, it also turns sunlight into vitamin D, and regulates body temperature.

The skin, unlike most other organs, have sensory nerves throughout its entirety, sending signals to the brain which helps us to “feel.”

Layers of the Skin: EPIDERMIS
The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin. It is your protective covering, or what I like to call, your “waterproof wrapper.” It is thinly coated with an oil that our bodies naturally produce called sebum, and serves as our body’s first barrier of protection. The reason why our skin is waterproof is because of this layer. It is made of tightly packed cells called  stratum corneum which produce the sebum.  Not only does it keep us from absorbing a big bathtub of water when we are soaking, it also prevents water from escaping our bodies.

I think of the epidermis as a living ecosystem. About 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells fall off our bodies every minute, which means the cells are constantly renewing themselves. This is about nine pounds of skin we lose each year. No wonder they tell you take replace your mattress every 7 years or so. Gross!

Our skin color/pigmentation comes from this layer of the skin because the epidermis contains melanin. Melanin is created to help our skin protect and filter our bodies from dangerous ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. If we absorb too many of these rays, we get wrinkles, faster aging, and possibly skin cancer. That’s why additional protection such as sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing is necessary.

When our epidermis is healthy, it helps the body avoid bacteria, viruses and other unwanted substances (The MERK Manuals).

Layers of the Skin: DERMIS

We’ve all heard of the word collagen. Collagen, in this case, is a protein that makes our skin have a supple and youthful texture and appearance. The dermis layer is the layer below the epidermis and houses collagen, elastin and fibrillin which all make the skin feel elastic yet firm. With age, these characteristics break down and cause wrinkles and loose skin.

This layer is packed with red blood cells which helps our bodies regulate body temperature. This happens because when you are cold, the red blood cells contract, helping your body to retain heat. When you are hot, the red blood vessels expand, releasing heat through your pores. The pores are little escape holes that start in the dermis and go through the outer layer (epidermis). Both toxins and heat are released through the pores. And some chemicals can be absorbed through the pores.

Layers of the Skin: HYPODERMIS

The bottom layer, also mentioned as “subcutaneous layer” which means “under the skin,” is mostly made up of fat and fibrous tissue. This layer also provides a mechanism for body temperature regulation, but providing insulation from cold, and the loss of heat (P&G).

Does Our Skin Absorb Chemicals?

Yes and No. Yes because some chemicals found in personal care products can break the barrier of skin protection, the sebum, and facilitate absorption into the blood stream.

Some scientist argue the that we do NOT absorb the chemicals we put on our bodies; however, the EPA reports that nearly 30 cancer causing chemicals are detected in the fat tissue of every American today. I have a list of organizations that believe chemicals can get absorbed into the blood stream, with data to back it up.

Let’s be realistic people. We’re exposed to over 126 chemicals every day, not including the GMO (genetically modified organisms) and processed foods we eat.

Not all chemicals are absorbed through our skin because some ingredients do not penetrate for long periods of time, or with frequent application/exposure or at high concentrations. Further, some ingredients, mostly natural, may not penetrate past the sebum on the epidermis layer.

It’s YOUR responsibility to take care of you and your family’s health. Read the label and ask questions. Take a stance and boycott products that contain harmful ingredients, harmful not only to you but to the environment.

Stay tuned for more excerpts from my presentation “READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural and Organic Skin Care.”

Written by Dahlia Kelada, from her presentation READ THE LABEL: Understanding Natural & Organic Skin Care  © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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What is the difference among perfume, eau de toilette, eau de perfume, and fragrance?

natural skin care with no artificial fragranceAt some point or another, we’ve all used any variety of perfumes, eau de toilettes, fragrances and essential oils. They come in fancy colored glass bottles, fine mists sprays, tiny vials, and  even roll-on applicators. They range from $1 all the way up to hundreds of dollars. They all smell nice, but what are they really made of?

The truth – just because your $150 perfume smells like orchids doesn’t mean it is made of orchids.

A Brief History
The art of making herb- and spice-infused oils to mask body odor started thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Then a Persian chemist discovered distillation, taking oil directly from the flower (essential oil). This art of making scents then spread throughout Europe where the French improved on the process. They discovered advanced methods of scent creation, and even till now France remains at the epicenter of perfumery. The word “perfume” comes from Latin “per fumum,” which literally means “through smoke.”

Perfume, Eau de Perfume, Eau de Toilette, and Body Splash
Perfume as we know it today contains a concentration of aromas which may come from an often undisclosed blend of essential oils or synthetic odorants (smells not found in nature). These aromatic compounds are typically mixed with an ethanol (alcohol) and water to create a sprayable perfume.

The concentration of the aromatic ingredients determines whether the finished product will be a perfume (20-30% aroma), eau de perfume (11-19% aroma), au de toilette (6-10% aroma), or body splash/eau de cologne (3-5% aroma).

The higher the concentration, the longer the smell will last when applied. Perfumes last 6-8 hours or more; eau de perfumes last 4-6 hours; au de toilettes last 2-4 hours; and body splashes last 2-3 hours.

Where do the smells come from?
Aromatic ingredients found in nature can come from flower blossoms, fruit, tree bark, twigs, seeds, leaves, plant roots, moss, seaweed, natural resins, and wood. Some scents, particularly musks, may come from animals, but are becoming more rare as synthetic musks replace them.

Synthetically created scents (artificial fragrance) are not unusual in the world of perfume. Take “white musk” for instance or “orchid.” These scents are not naturally found, and neither are marine type scents. You’ll find artificial fragrance in MOST perfumes found in your favorite department store; in body care products such as shampoo, body wash, and soaps; and in detergents and room sprays.

What is artificial fragrance made from?
What if I told you 95% of artificial fragrances are made from chemicals found in natural gas and petroleum? The petrochemicals commonly used to create these fragrances are benzene, toluene, xylenes, and methanol. Phthalates (diethyl phthalate or DEP) is another chemical commonly used in artificial fragrance to dissolve oil and fragrance. With continuous exposure to these chemicals, there’s a risk of potentially disrupting our hormone and endocrine system, which can impact fertility and development in both men and women, and impact fetus development. Not to mention, it can increase cancer risks.

By the way, it’s worth mentioning that DEP is an ever-present pollutant of the human body, found in 97 percent of Americans tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Umm— time for a reality check!

How do you know when an artificial fragrance is used?
Read the label! If you see “fragrance,” or “artificial fragrance,” or “fragrance-free,” there’s a chance of exposure to these chemicals. By the way, just because a product may say “fragrance-free,” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other chemicals masking to make it appear to have no smell. Also, stay away from “musks.”

“There is evidence that exposure to synthetic musks can have hormone disrupting effects. Galaxolide and Tonalide can bind to and stimulate human estrogen receptors, and both musks have been shown to affect androgen and progesterone receptors. Tonalide has also been reported to increase the proliferation of estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells. Further, Tonalide has been identified as a photosensitizer, a chemical that becomes more toxic when exposed to sunlight on the skin and has been linked to liver toxicity..

Due to the ubiquity of these chemicals, synthetic musks are pervasive in people’s bodies—even in newborns. Environmental Working Group tests of umbilical cord blood found 7 out of 10 babies had been born with Tonalide and/or Galaxolide in their blood. Another study detected Galaxolide in the blood of 91 percent of Austrian students.”

What Should I do?
Safest to find products that say, “no artificial fragrance.” Use products with pure essential oils or distillations. Find a skin care line that offers no artificial fragrance and phthalate-free products. Make your own scents by blending vodka, distilled water and essential oils. Use natural infused flower water as a body mist, e.g. rose water or orange blossom water.

Learn more at:

Article: Avoid Artificial Fragrance
Report: “Not So Sexy” (2010)
Report: “A Little Prettier” (2008)
Report: “Not Too Pretty” (2002)
Science: Phthalates
Skin Deep product search: Fragrance-free cosmetics 

Skin Deep topic: Fragrance 

Analysis: Scented Secrets

Quote Source:
Science: Synthetic musks

Bitsch N, Dudas C, Körner W, Failing K, Biselli S, Rimkus G, Brunn H. 2002. Estrogenic activity of musk fragrances detected by the E-screen assay using human mcf-7 cells. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 43(3): 257-64.

Seinen W, Lemmen JG, Pieters RH, Verbruggen EM, Van der Burg B. (1999). AHTN and HHCB show weak estrogenic but no uterotrophic activity. Toxicol. Lett. 111, 161–168.

Schreurs RH, Sonneveld E, Jansen JH, Seinen W, van der Burg B. 2005. Interaction of polycyclic musks and UV filters with the estrogen receptor (ER), androgen receptor (AR), and progesterone receptor (PR) in reporter gene bioassays. Toxicol Sci. 83(2): 264-72.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). 2009a. Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) Data for 2006. Available: http://www.epa.gov/iur/

Written by: Dahlia Kelada

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