It can be very daunting to pick up a personal care product in a store, from a drugstore to a department store counter, read the labels and know what you’re looking at. Here’s a good place to start if you want toxin-free, good for you (and good for the earth) products.
Vegan certifications mean products have not been tested on animals and don’t use animal products or by-products. (Examples of animal product/by-products: Tallow, which is rendered animal fat, and Lanolin, which is sheep sweat) 
OK, so, let’s talk about aging, or rather, anti-aging, since that’s a hot topic in the skincare industry. One main cause of accelerated again is products containing Mineral Oil, or you may have seen it listed as petroleum on certain labels. Ahhh mineral oil… it sounds like a natural ingredient, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s a derivative of crude oil. “Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless oil that’s made from petroleum—as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It’s long been used as a common ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments, and cosmetics. Mineral oil is considered ‘comedogenic’, which means it can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne and blackheads.”  “Petroleum and mineral oil are ‘occlusive’ agents—meaning they seal off the skin from air, water or anything else getting in (or out). Wherever they’re applied, they form an invisible film on the surface that blocks the pores and the skin’s natural respiration process. If you want a really moisturizing lotion, look for ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, shea butter, cocoa butter.”  “We’re putting crude oil on our faces and it’s drying out our skin and doing what it’s intending to cure.” 
The sun can cause all sorts of skin damage – wrinkles, spider veins, fine lines, discoloration, sun/age spots, so be sure your daily moisturizer has an SPF of 20 to stay protected – yes, even in the winter! “The sun is responsible for the vast majority of visible aging, according to new research – another reason to slather on the sun screen all year round. UV rays accounted for 80 percent of skin aging, including wrinkles, in a study of almost 300 women – half sun-worshippers and half shy of the sun. The study also found that a two per cent increase in skin damage ages a face by three years.” 
Anyone have a teenage girl? Teens use a lot of skincare products including cosmetics, face wash, lotions, hair products, body wash, etc., but are they reading labels? “Knowing which ones are healthy — and which ones aren’t — is important. Why? EWG found that adolescent girls’ bodies are contaminated with chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and body care products. In fact, we detected 16 potentially toxic chemicals — phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks — in blood and urine samples from 20 teen girls. Studies link these chemicals to potential health effects including cancer and hormone disruption. To make matters worse, teens may be particularly sensitive to exposures to hormone-disrupting chemicals, given the complex role they play during puberty – precisely when girls typically experiment with an increasing number and variety of body care products. When we surveyed them, our teen study participants reported using an average of 17 personal care products each day, 40 percent more than an adult woman.” 
One last morsel of food for thought is how skincare & cosmetics are regulated. Find a company that adheres to the EU regulations and most of the research to find healthy, safe products will be done for you. “The European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals found in cosmetics. The FDA has only banned 8 and restricted 3. [In the U.S.] it’s a free market and you don’t have to do anything — no safety testing required — until there is a problem. And the issue is, a lot of these health impacts are long-term. It’s not like if I develop breast cancer in 20 years, I can link that to the aluminum zirconium in my deodorant. We don’t know how these ingredients are interacting when they come into play. The average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals on her body every single day without even knowing. And 60 percent of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our bodies.” 
Here’s a little skincare challenge:
1. Look through your bathroom cabinets and makeup bags and toss anything that’s expired or contains Mineral Oil.
2. If you’re not already, find a good daily moisturizer with SPF 20.
3. Be mindful of lip products – if it goes on your lips, it goes in your mouth.
At Arbonne, our motto is ‘Pure, Safe & Beneficial’.  We are Vegan and Kosher certified, free of gluten, mineral oil, parabens, and we adhere to the EU standards. My goal is to help you find the highest quality & safest products for you and your family. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and deserves to be well cared for.
Contact me today for a free skincare consultation and samples.
Take care of the skin you’re in and your skin will thank you!
Content provided by Women Belong member Melissa Engle