Friday, September 9, 2011

Who Decides What You Put in Your Body?

The question first came to me while reading the article, "Cetaphil: Why the popular cleanser isn't doing your skin any favors" by Melisse Gelula on

Melisse quoted Spirit Demerson who analyzes skin care ingredients for her own blog and made the point that none of the ingredients in Cetaphil are beneficial for your skin, in fact some are even harmful. There are eight ingredients in Cetaphil (water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben) and the only one I personally know to be healthy is water. Though it is the first listed ingredient, and therefore the most abundant, its health benefits are canceled out by the overwhelming effects of the other substances which are known to respectively clog pores, help substances enter the blood stream, over-dry skin and cause cancer.

It is especially unnerving to learn this about Cetaphil, which is one of the top cleansers recommended by dermatologists. In fact, my own dermatologist instructed me to use Cetaphil cleanser and lotion! So what then is the appeal, if the cleanser is not actually so great for the skin? The appeal is the relationship most doctors have with Galderama, one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country. Regardless of the product's effectiveness (or lack thereof) doctors receive bonuses for pushing the product on their patients.

If you have a wandering mind like mine, you're probably wondering "what other cosmetic products should I be worried about?" I ran across a PSA video by Annie Leonard called "The Story of Cosmetics" which provides further insight into how to read ingredient labels, what to look out for and how to make healthier cosmetic choices.

I've already begun to address this issue by making most of my hair and body products, and choosing all natural products when I buy them. How will you take measures to make healthier cosmetic choices?

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