Local companies encourage consumers to think about ingredients when buying products

PRITI-NYC-Everyday people use products to clean and beautify themselves but there may be more to consider than just the beauty effects. Some local businesses encourage people to be aware of harsh ingredients in skin care products and to adopt more natural approaches to their daily routines.

Rachel Lamont is a medical esthetician and owner of The Natural Art of Skin Care, a spa in Calgary that provides non-toxic, all natural spa services. Lamont says it is important to think about potential health effects from using products with certain ingredients.

"It is important that you are respecting the body and with that the skin too," she says.

"You may think twice about smearing such harmful irritating ingredients and chemicals on your precious body to be absorbed (by the skin), causing problems on the inside and out."

Non-toxic options

At The Natural Art of Skin Care, they use product lines such as Éminence Organic Skin Care, Priti NYC for eco-friendly nail care and Jane Iredale makeup.

The Natural Art of Skin Care cautions against the use of products that contain ingredients like:

  • Artificial fragrances that can cause irritation
  • Aluminum that could be linked to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parabens that can disrupt hormones crucial to the endocrine system function
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Formaldehyde
  • Petroleum
  • Artificial and synthetic dyes
  • Chemical sun screen agents
  • Talc
  • Heavy metals and hydroquinone — a skin bleaching agent

All of these, she says can have adverse health impacts such as possible carcinogenic properties according to davidsuzuki.org.

Like The Natural Art of Skin Care, Rocky Mountain Soap Company, based in Canmore, is committed to providing not only 100 per cent natural and chemical-free skincare and education for customers.

Instead of using petroleum-based products or chemical preservatives, the Rocky Mountain Soap Company uses shea butter or natural preservatives like Japanese honeysuckle.

Abby-Lynn Knorr, marketing director with Rocky Mountain Soap Company, says our bodies have a limit to the amount of toxins they can handle.

"Yes your body can detox and take care of a certain amount of toxins... it does have a limit called the 'body burden.' When your body reaches capacity and doesn't know where to put those toxins and it can result in sickness," Knorr says. "The ultimate reason is to safeguard people's health."

The company provides consumers with its Worry-Free newsletter, which provides free education to customers about toxins

Knorr says they want consumers to "be informed."

"You are using possibly up to 100 different chemicals before you even leave the house in the morning and they're going into your system and mixing and having reactions that nobody can track or record," she says. "If something is toxic whether it's a small dose or a large dose, it's not cool."

Living toxin free

From a variety of soaps to hand lotions and baby care products, there are many non-toxic options. The Environmental Working Group rates a lot of the Rocky Mountain Soap Company products high with a low hazard to health.

Another company that provides all-natural skin care to consumers is Éminence Organic Skin Care. Ingredients for their products are all organic, grown at their own company farms in Hungary and produced in small batches to ensure quality, explained Natalie Pergar, a skin care specialist at the company.

"Following the history of kitchen skincare which kind of sets the mindset of what Éminence is all about," she says. "Keeping us as clean and as healthy as possible and following the standards of organic agriculture that they have in Europe — a whole foods approach to skin care."

Éminence products contain no parabens, petrolatum, mineral oils, propylene glycol or sodium lauryl sulfate. They are available in select spas across the country and 15 spas in Calgary.

While these are some companies that do not use toxins in their products, some consumers are trying to incorporate more natural products or home remedies into their daily routines as well.

Both Hailey Laycraft, a 22-year-old student and Kelsey Gardener, 23, are concerned about toxins.

"Our skin is our largest organ and I want to make sure that the products I am absorbing into my body are not harmful," Laycraft says. "I learned how the majority of sunscreens contain ingredients that are linked to cancer, especially a brand where a percentage of the sales went to cancer research. It made me think what other brands I use contained these dangerous chemicals."

Gardener's concern started with the food she was eating and evolved into concern about toxins in other products she was using.

"I've become aware of how much we absorb through our skin and want to return my body and skin to its natural state," she says. "I'm still new to making changes to natural skin care products."

Get informed

For consumers, there are groups that provide information about the dangers of using too many chemicals on the skin and education about what is in products. The Environmental Working Group is one of these organizations.P Rachel trends DecOrganic skin care is a passion for Rachel Lamont. She says she loves sharing her knowledge with her clients and wants people to think about what they are putting on their skin and in their bodies.

Photos courtesy of Tiffany Rupp

In an article published in 2013, Exposing the Cosmetics Cover-up: Toxic Chemicals Threaten Healthy Births, the group explains the impacts of these products:

"According to an EWG survey, an average woman uses about 12 personal care products each day, exposing herself to about 168 unique chemicals. These products don't always remain on the skin's surface. Many cosmetic ingredients penetrate the skin. Scientists have found ingredients such as phthalates and fragrance components in human tissues."

But, Health Canada has a different stance on many of the ingredients deemed unsafe by the Environmental Working Group. In the October 2010 Health Canada Status on Cosmetic Ingredients of Interest, Health Canada says ingredients such as phalates, parabens or formaldehyde are okay in small doses. The status also states that many ingredients that are cause for concern, aren't present in levels that can do harm to humans.

However, Lamont and The Natural Art of Skin Care team still suggest consumers use organic, natural skin care brands or home remedies, including ingredients such as avocado, lemon or apple cider vinegar. Many recipes can be found on online and on The Natural Art of Skin Care's Facebook page.

"If I had to choose my favourite it would be coconut oil. It can be used as a skin
lubricant and moisturizer for anywhere, face or body," Lamont says. "Even for acne clients and yeast infections, it can help because of its anti-bacterial nature."

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