Use This, Not That – Skin Care Update at the First Integrative Dermatology Symposium

I had the privilege of celebrating the signing of Skin Care Wellness Week by Sacramento mayor, Darrell Steinberg two weeks ago. This proclamation began at a launch party of a new holistic skin care line but it was the introduction of many others in the following weekend. In addition, the very first Integrative Dermatology Symposium was held in Sacramento October 19-21. Practitioners from the allopathic and naturopathic field held presentations during the day but at night, vendors of skin care and make-up lines had their opportunity to shine at a weekend fair. Without getting bogged down with individual lines that are able to brand their names in a marketing shouting contest, understanding the basics is key in navigating decisions for our personal care products.
Here are 5 common ingredients often packaged in products:

•Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-):
These are usually used as antimicrobials that extend shelf life. However, these are endocrine disruptors because they are weakly estrogenic. Alternative: balsam, natural grain alcohol, Manuka oil

•Pththlates:
These are chemical plasticizers that are found in medical devices and personal care products. These too are endocrine disruptors, but specifically it can block testosterone function. Unfortunately, these are EVERYWHERE. They degrade quickly out the body quickly so simple avoidance makes it easier to detoxify from this ingredient.

•PVP/VA Copolymer:
This is a petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. Inhalation of this chemical can cause damage to sensitive lungs. Alternative: cellulose gum, gum tragacanth

•Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate:
A common ingredient used in shampoos for its foaming and cleansing properties. It is derived from petrolatum. Petrolatum does not get metabolized by the body. It is also linked to being carcinogenic and can promote estrogen dominance. Yikes! Alternative: many plant-derived oils such as borage oil, almond oil, calamine, kukui nut oil

•Collagen:
Honorable mention for this one. Even though anti-aging soluble collagen does not usually cause irritation or chemical disruptions in the body, it is not vegan. A vegan alternative is horsetail that is rich in silica. If it is added with coltsfoot, it can add sheen and strength to hair products.