Looooooooong time no talk! In my quest to live crazy, happy and healthy, I’ve done a lot of research and personal development over the past few months, and have a pile of blog topics I want to share with you all; the first of which is label-reading!
Now, I’m not talking about what we put in our mouths this time around. I mean, what we slather on the biggest organ we own (no boys…not those ones). OUR SKIN. That’s right. In as little as 26 seconds, our skin absorbs everything we apply to it, right on into our bloodstream and internal organs. YIKES! That’s ten times faster than the absorption of what we eat!
First off, I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to my tw’eeps from TeenVGN. This of course is a follow up to the video blog I published for all of you. You’re all chalked full of boundless spirit and limitless compassion…thank you so much for your inspiration!
So let’s get to it…
Unfortunately nowadays, marketing and advertising agencies toss the word “natural” around as freely as the money they make from the consumers who believe these tactics. And it’s no fault of the consumer. Most people simply don’t know know any better. I mean really…why would we be repeatedly lied to? Why would the governing powers that-be allow these organizations to bury ingredients under such obscure names and inventive terms? Well, if that’s not obvious, I’m not sure what is. MONEY, of course.
The saddest part is that “natural ingredients” can mean anything from water to aloe vera to dead animals. I mean, everyone wants a”natural” dose of mad cow in their lip gloss, right?
So today, I’m gong to give a quicky on label reading. A 101 on how to ensure your products do not contain some of the most common fillers and chemical additives that are highly toxic to our bodies.
First off…go and turn your bottles around. We’re talking tooth paste, face wash, shampoo, mousse, chapstick, deodorant, lip gloss, eye shadow, bronzer, lotion, soap, shave gel, perfume…YOU NAME IT, and get ready to do some reading.
What exactly are animal renderings? Sorry to say, I’m not going to go into detail. Y’all know I like to keep things on the light-hearted side. In a nut shell, we’re talking about dead animals (pets, wild and farmed animals), butcher scraps, rancid cooking grease, road kill, etc. if you really want to learn more and test the limits of your stomach, be my guest. Start here and let me know how it goes.
In order to ensure that your products are vegan and not tested on animals (because let’s face it, pigs don’t wear lipstick, so they don’t need to test it), you basically want a label indicating the product as such. For instance, the PETA bunny or the classic Ⓥ. Or terms such as “vegan friendly” or “certified vegan”. If you don’t see any of those tell-tale labels, here are some of the animal rendering ingredients you can look for:
|emollientcasein (aka caseinate, sodium caseinate)
|natural ingredientslactic acid
Now this is a list of the most common animal-derived ingredients you will find. The full list can be found here.
If any of the above ingredients are listed, and don’t specify “vegetable-based” or “plant-derived”, then your products likely contain diseased and/or animal bits. BARF.
HOW BAD COULD IT BE?
Well, apart from the diseased animals, amputated limbs, and rancid cooking oil, the animals are only a part of the problem.
As it stands, one of the most clever ingredients ever to be added to our personal care products is mineral oil. Sounds totally harmless right? Even beneficial! The first time I heard the term “mineral oil”, I was like “hey, that’s awesome! That’s gotta be like, salt or something, right?!” WRONG.
Mineral oil is derived from the crude oil industry. That’s right. Those sad images we see on the Dawn commercials, or on the news (if you watch that sort of thing) anytime there’s an oil spill. The thick black sludge in the water, on the ducks, destroying the ecosystem. THAT’S where mineral oil comes from. Rather than the crude oil empires needing to pay the environmental disposal fee on this sludge once it’s refined, they turn around and make a GIGANTIC PROFIT by selling it to personal care and cosmetic companies to use as a cheap filler!
But why exactly is mineral oil so harmful? Well, apart from the obvious black sludge, and the colourants, bleaches and chemical fragrances added in order for it to be consumer-ready, it is an occlusive oil. The molecules of the oil are larger than our pores. When it is applied to the skin, it sits on the surface and virtually suffocates our skin; not allowing the toxins to leave our body, or the nutrients to enter. Why do you think Olympic athletes are instructed NOT to use products containing mineral oil? Because body temperature cannot be regulated if the skin is not able to breathe! You may as well wrap your body in saran wrap, because the effect is the same. That’s what makes this bad boy the 2nd leading cause of aging behind Mr. Sun (I know most people think that marriage is the leading cause, but that’s a myth).
While mineral oil is illegal in Switzerland, and parts of the EU, it’s perfectly legal in the grand old continent of North America! And why, do you ask? Let’s hear it class: M-O-N-E-Y.
This big-time money-maker is usually the first or second ingredient in most personal care products in the world. We slather the petroleum jelly all over our babies’ squishy bums, rub the mineral oil all over their bodies, and squirt yellow shampoo into their hair. We may as well be swimming in the sludge as adults with the amount of it we slather on ourselves in our soaps, creams, gels and cosmetics.
And of course, our dear friends in the industry wouldn’t dream of simply labeling this ingredient as “mineral oil”. That would be too honest! It hides under more than 75 different names! AWESOME. Here are just a few of them:
Tech Pet F
Mineral Seal Oil
Not to confuse you or anything.
Think about it. That “oily t-zone”. Or, that sheen that shows up on your face that you assume is a “normal” part of your bodily function. Maybe you blame it on hormones, or genetics. News flash: It’s not normal. It’s your skin working overtime trying to rid itself of the animal fat, mineral oil, and other skin-stripping ingredients you’re unwittingly washing and moisturizing with. That “squeaky-clean” feeling you love? GET AS FAR AWAY FROM IT AS YOU CAN!!! You are not supposed to feel squeaky clean. That feeling means that you have stripped your acid mantle. The fine layer of film on the surface of your skin that is meant to protect you from bacteria and contaminants. So while you’re making it squeaky clean once or twice a day, you are sending into the perpetual cycle of dry, oily, dry, oily, dry, oily…get it? Good. The acid mantle helps your skin maintain a perfect pH of about 5 and a half, which is slightly acidic. Most face washes are between 11 and 14 on the scale; as alkaline as bathroom cleaners. Why not just wash your face with Mr. Clean? Well because that would be absolutely absurd right? (Psssst…..all of these hidden ingredients and the companies and organizations that hide them from us are BEYOND absurd). If your skin is overly dry, or overly oily, chances are it’s not your hormones, or genetics, or your luck, or the hand you were dealt. It’s more than likely what you are washing your face with, and/or what you are eating. Trust me, I’ve taught many people how to easily fix this and the changes are uncanny. IT’S SO SIMPLE IT’S CRIMINAL.
Another particularly bad ingredient that hits home hard for me as a woman and a mommy, are parabens. Parabens are particularly bad for adolescence and menopausal women. Why? PARABENS = ESTROGEN-MIMICKERS. They make our bodies believe we’re on estrogen overload. And we wonder why girls as young as 7 are hitting puberty; why breast cancer and cervical cancer rates are higher than ever…and that the women reporting these cancers are getting younger and younger. Parabens are now being found in 99% of breast cancer tissues, and are most often found where antiperspirants and deodorants are applied. For more on this, check out Dr. Mercola’s findings here.
And while we’re on a roll, how about phthalates (prounounced thay-lates). Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They’re found in everything from pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements, adhesives and glues, electronics, building materials, medical devices, detergents, packaging, toys, paint, printer ink, food products, and you guest it PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS! Like parabens, they are hormone disruptors, and can cause birth defects. Phthalates easily leach into food and the atmosphere and are routinely found in urine samples by the CDC. And wouldn’t you know, diet is believed to be the main source of phthalate intake…predominantly from milk, butter and meats. Interesting…
SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (what????)
Last but not least, one of the most brilliant marketing schemes in history (in my humblest of opinions). SLS is a foaming agent that, prior to the mid 1900’s, was predominantly added to our home-cleaning products to create foam and bubbles. It wasn’t until a tooth-paste company was having trouble with selling their goods, that SLS became mainstream in personal care products. A marketing firm came up with an advertising campaign…add SLS to toothpaste and tell consumers that the foam is what makes their teeth clean. BRILLIANT!!! And thus, the habit of needing bubbles to feel clean was born! The campaign was a huge success; not just for the tooth paste company and the marketing firm, but for the advancement of the personal care industry as a whole, and our innate necessity of needing bubbles to feel clean. C’mon…you know you’re that person! When your shampoo doesn’t feel bubbly enough, you slather on more, just like the rest of us! Well guess what…BUBBLES DON’T MAKE YOU CLEAN! In fact, SLS is a known irritant with prolonged exposure; particularly for people with sensitive skin.
So go ahead…turn around your bottles. If you bought them from a drug-mart, department store or big-box store, I’ll bet you’ll find every single one of the aforementioned ingredients in ALL of your bottles. Some of these sneaky ingredients are even hiding in the bottles of personal care products at health and wellness stores. And consider this…if most of these toxic effects are being found in adults, imagine the high levels of toxicity that would be found in abundance in the tiny bodies of our babies and children. This growing pandemic of cancers, Alzheimer’s, early-onset puberty, allergies and skin sensitivities is not a coincidence. Think about it.
‘Til next time, stay crazy, happy and healthy!
Crazy Vegan Mommy
“Do what you do so well that people can’t resist telling others about you” -Walt Disney