I've been doing some research into the skincare market and I'm pretty shocked that some of the well-known high-street brands are still putting some revolting substances in our products and getting away with it.
Take parabens for example. Parabens are used as a preservative and are the second most common cause of skin reactions. They mimic oestrogen in the blood which can lead to reproductive problems for both men and women.
Mineral Oil - sounds harmless enough doesn't it, natural even? Minerals are good for us, but the same cannot be said for mineral oil. The oil is the waste that the crude oil companies is unable to use. It's too expensive to recycle, so the oil companies sell it to the cosmetics industry at around 50 pence per gallon. It's used as a thickening agent and is the main ingredient in many creams and lotions - and it's the second biggest cause of skin ageing (the sun taking the number one spot). So the skincare industry will have us slather mineral oil all over our bodies in their sunscreens and then let us sit in the sun.
Have you ever suffered from heat rash or 'prickly heat'? For three decades my summer holidays were marred by the fire and discomfort of the condition called Miliaria, thinking the only solution was to smother myself in more sunscreen.
Little did I know then that the cause of the prickly heat was the sunscreen itself.
The majority of sun protection products sold by retailers contain mineral oil. The molecules in mineral oil are too large to be absorbed by our skin, so they form a barrier. This makes it an effective sunscreen - but it doesn't allow any of the sun's beneficial Vitamin D, or the more nutritious ingredients from the sunscreen to enter our skin. More importantly, it prevents our sweat from leaving our skin, and it is this blockage of the sweat ducts that causes Miliaria. Mineral oil is banned in Switzerland where the cosmetics industry is heavily regulated.
I urge you to check your labels for mineral oil - which may be called liquid paraffin, pariffinum liquidum or liquid petroleum. Whether it's on the label of your sun protection or any other of your personal care products, it is preventing toxins from escaping and nutrients being absorbed through your skin.
Do you know what tallow is, or where lanolin comes from? These are animal bi-products found in many brands of cosmetics and skincare. I won't go into the grim detail, but I wouldn't put those things in my mouth, so I'm not going to rub them into my skin.
I now only use vegan, botanical products on my skin. I use a sunscreen that doesn't contain mineral oil and for the first time in my life I don't suffer from prickly heat. The baby products have finally put a stop to my son's eczema. Please have a look at the blog for more information.
The skin is our largest and most exposed organ and needs to be treated well. Some people tell me they don't want to spend money on premium skincare. I wonder if they would say the same thing about a preventative treatment for one of their other vital organs.