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Monday, May 19, 2008

How Green Are Exfoliants?

Exfoliants skin care products are very popular. I'm sure some of you use them like I do. My daily face wash contains micro beads that exfoliants.

Exfoliants comes in two forms: chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliants use...well... chemicals to dissolve the dead cells sitting on the surface of the skin. Physical exfoliants use abrasives to scrape way those cells.

According to there are no required studies for personal care products and there are no safety systems in place, nor governing bodies overseeing the industry.

The ugly side of the beauty industry is money?

Most of the chemical peels use natural ingredients to eat away the dead skin. It does leave the skin with newer, healthier skin on the top layer.

There are few adverse effects on the environment, but they do leave people who use these types of exfoliants with a higher risk of sunburn and associated skin cancers.

Because of this, many now come with sunscreen built in. Many of the petroleum based sunscreens do have bad environments effects. The worse are the preservatives used, such as parabens and phthalates, which can disrupt reproduction.

With physical exfoliants, such as microdermabrsion, aluminum oxide crystals are used. These are harmless to humans, but after we're done washing our face, these crystals go down the drain, into sewers and into our water. These crystals are highly toxic to many species of aquatic organisms. In fish, the metal has been linked to birth defects, increased mortality and other complications. They also cause stunted root growth in plants.

Aluminum is regarded safe for humans in low quantities, except those on kidney dialysis and there may even be a link to Alzheimer's disease.

The manufacturing of these products releases tiny particles in the air, which can scar lung tissue and have led to tumors in animals.

Good news for our skin and our planet is there are many all organic products to chose from.

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