Your Skin is Your Largest Organ…Why Apply Chemicals to it?

skincareYou should look at everything you put on your skin and decide if it is something you would be willing to eat. Why? Because 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. That is why transdermal patches for medicines (nicotine, morphine, birth control, etc.) are so effective.

There are over 10,000 chemicals are used in personal care products including: carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, heavy metals and formaldehydes. Parabens, used as preservatives in almost all products, are designed to kill cells and prevent growth of bacteria and fungi. Manufacturers may use almost anything as an ingredient and market products without the FDA’s approval. Some chemicals are allowed only at certain levels, but these levels accumulate from using many products containing chemicals.

How many of these items do you use daily?
1. Shampoo
2. Conditioner
3. Hairspray
4. Deodorant
5. Soap
6. Body Wash
7. Face Scrub
8. Face Cleanser
9. Toner
10. Face Lotion
11. Toothpaste
12. Body Scrub
13. Body Lotion
14. Hand Lotion
15. Foot Scrub
16. Perfume
17. Foundation
18. Eyeshadow
19. Mascara
20. Eyeliner
21. Blush
22. Lipstick
23. Nail Polish
24. Sunscreen

The average woman applies 126 chemicals in up to eleven different products before having her first cup of coffee in the morning. What about you?

The best way to change your “toxic load” is to be aware of the products you are using by reading the labels and knowing the ingredients. I have attached a list of chemicals to avoid below from the Environmental Working Group. Check your products at to see how they rate. Reducing the number of products you use is also an effective way to lower your exposure to unwanted ingredients. Also, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Using paraben-free, chemical free, holistic skin care is key.

Download the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Safe Cosmetics Here

I am dedicated to supporting you in your journey towards a healthy lifestyle, please Contact Me for information on Preservative-Free Skin Care or other ways I can help you in your journey.

You can find previous We Be Healthy Blog articles HERE.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment below.

Be Healthy,


About Heather Lentz

Your Journey Begins Here…We Be Healthy supports you in your journey towards a healthy lifestyle through Low-Glycemic Cooking (& Eating), High Quality Nutritional Supplements, Jumpstart 5-Day Carb Cleanse, Healthy Energy Drinks, Preservative-Free Skin Care, Reducing Your Toxic Load and Creating a Healthy Home. Although I am still on my healing journey, I am now taking others along with me.
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32 Responses to Your Skin is Your Largest Organ…Why Apply Chemicals to it?

  1. Heather–I couldn’t agree more with you! Over the past year, I have really made an effort to switch over from all my old, mainstream products to all-natural ones. My realization came from my infant massage business when I began to investigate what regular baby oil had in it (mineral oil) and then began seeking out natural alternatives. Once I did that, I figured I owed it to myself to do the same thing with MY daily care products too. Some things are hard to give up when you’ve been using them for years but I do think it’s worth it in the end!
    Thanks for the great post 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Nicole! We do owe it to ourselves to seek out chemical- and paraben-free products. Your body knows the difference. It is very worth it in the end. 😉

  2. Marissa Heisel says:

    Love this reminder! I couldn’t agree more. Sharing with everyone I know.

  3. Laura says:

    OK this is SCARY. I know I put things on my body that I shouldn’t and there are things I know are bad that I don’t want to give up (can you say mani-pedi and cover my grey?)

    Not to mention fabrics, sheets and towels, etc that are treated with pesticides. This is a challenge, as the healthier, more organic options are also often more expensive (I love a woman who does natural manicures, but it’s twice the price!)

    Heather, I would love to hear more thoughts on acting on these insights (maybe a follow on blog?) THanks!

    • Laura,
      This is not meant to be scary, but to make you aware of what you are putting on your skin so you can make educated choices of the products to use. You don’t have to give up everything. Just look to make changes in a different area. I gave up hairspray, mascara, perfume and shaving cream. I replaced all my products with a paraben-free line called Sensé. (If you are interested in more information on these products, please email me.) I use the shampoo for shaving cream. I use essential oils in place of perfume. The money I save on the products I don’t buy anymore offsets some of the cost of the healthier paraben-free products. Plus, I may very well be saving tons of money in medical costs because of the toxins that I have removed from my body.

  4. Anja says:

    Wow, Heather, this is so true!
    I try to eat healthy but I never really pay attention to the chemicals in all the products I use – hair products, make-up etc.
    This is a real eye-opener – thank you!

  5. Kathleen says:

    This is sooooooooooooo important. Thank you for posting this information. I am always blown away by the numberless numbers of STUFFF especially women put into their bodies. The aromas themselves make my head spin. What does that mean for our bodies? Eventually we will be able to link some our more serious diseases to these chemicals. We must become more conscious of this and change!! Thank you for being on the forefront of this issue!

    • Thanks for your support Kathleen! Scents are a huge problem for me, too. I can’t stand to be around people who have strong perfume on or go by the “bath” stores. Perfumes/Scents are made from petroleum products and our bodies know they are toxic. If the smell of something bothers you or gives you a headache. That is a sign from your body that you should avoid it. Essential oils are the only scents that we should be using. I actually make my own air fresheners from essential oils, so I don’t have to use the toxic store bought kind.

  6. Sheila says:

    Thanks for this post. I am also a huge believer and only use chemical and paraben free skin care, hair and body products. The products I use are excellent and I know I am not only taking care of my skin, I am also taking care of my health!

  7. Heather,

    This is a great post. I stopped using most regular creams and cosmetic sometime ago. I always use coconut oil for my face and hair. However this is so great as a reminder, we can often get caught up in all of the marketing of products that we forget what is in them

  8. Heather, thanks for another informative post. I have known some of this on some level, but you really make a great case for complete conversion. I wear almost no makeup and did away with hairspray, perfumes, and similarly scented products a dozen years ago. I only use about a dozen of the products on your list, and 90% of them are chemical and paraben free products from my local organic food co-op. However, I have not made a full conversion. My biggest guilty pleasure on your list is manicures and pedicures. I have natural nails but I find the natural products to be very expensive and of inferior quality (the polish doesn’t last). Like Laura, I would love to hear more of your ideas about how to convert these ideas to action. Especially by taking small steps at a time. And I have never heard of using coconut oil on face, hair and skin. I would love to hear more about the benefits and what you’re replacing when you use it (shampoo? conditioner? soap? body lotion?). Looking forward to more! 🙂

    • Thanks Laurie,
      It sounds like you have made great progress with reducing your toxic load. If there are things that you aren’t willing to give up, that is fine. Just look to make changes in a different area. I have not used coconut oil on my hair as Sasha stated, but I have used it as a moisturizer on my skin. I don’t use nail polish, so I can’t comment on that (non-toxic or otherwise). I make my own salt or sugar scrubs with essential oils. I also use chickpea flower and rose water mixed into a paste on my face as a mild scrub. I like the idea of using a product for multiple things too. Like paraben-free shampoo for shaving cream, paraben-free body wash for soap. I don’t use soap, all of my soap dispensers have been converted to the foaming kind and I use a paraben-free body wash mixed with water in them (you will use less product). I never understood why there is body, hand and foot lotion. Lotion is lotion, use body lotion all over and skip buying the others. I hope this will help. I am not sure what products you still use, but if you want to let me know I can try to address them. 😉

  9. Tanya says:

    Heather THANK YOU! This information is so critical for our public! We are lathering chemicals all over ourselves everyday! No wonder there is so much skin cancer (I don’t think it’s just from the sun!)

    My question for you: What do you look for in supposedly organic brands? I was told that some brands (like at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s) are just as bad but the ingredients are disguised. Any suggestions on good brands? Your top 3?

    • You’re welcome Tanya!

      Do not trust that just because products claim to be Natural, Herbal, Organic or Hypoallergenic that they are better or safer. Always read the label. The less ingredients in the product the better.

      You should look for products that don’t contain: Fragrance [Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Ceteareth, Polyethylene Glycol (PG), Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), Butylene Glycol (BG) and Ethylene Glycol (EG)], Red Dye #40, Alluminum Lake, Yellow #5, Bismuth Oxychloride, Carmine, Formaldehyde, Benzalkonium Chloride, Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Parabens, Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine, DMDM Hydantoin, Bronopol, Benzalkonium Bromide, Chlorhexidine, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Hydroquinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Oxybenzone, PEG/Ceteareth/Polyethylene, Petroleum Distillates, Resorcinol, Phthalates, Triclosan, Triclocarban, Triethanolamine (TEA), Methoxyethanol, Nitromethane, Phenacetin, Phenolphthalein, Toluene, Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Talc and/or Thimerosal.

      Look products up in the database at

      I use homemade products like salt and sugar scrubs, essential oils, etc. I also use a paraben-free skin care line called Sensé. It uses a patented “Liquid Crystal” Self-Preserving Technology. It is the only skin care line to have 2 year shelf life at room temperature without the use of parabens or formaldehyde. (If you are interested in more information on these products, please email me.)

      I also like some of the Burt’s Bees and Alba Botanica products.

  10. Tina Pruitt says:

    Thanks for the great article on this important subject! I would love for you to do a guest post on this subject on my site in the future. I am a big believer in using personal care products that are not harmful to your body, and have personally moved all of my, and my son’s, “stuff” to safe products. It makes me feel so awesome to know I am doing what I can to reduce our exposure to as many chemicals as possible….
    Thanks again for sharing this important information!

    • Thanks Tina!
      I would love to do a guest post on your site. There are so many things you can change in your life to reduce your toxic load. I am glad you are making changes that improve the quality of life for you and your family. 😉

  11. Suki says:

    I usually just focus on food ingredient, I should pay more attention to all my products at home. I like your advice about the natural and herbal products that the less ingredients the better! Because they are a long list of things that you mentioned above!

    • Suki,
      Glad I could bring this to your attention. There are so many things we have to focus on in our daily life, sometimes things can slip through the cracks. It is easy to look for items with less ingredients. Take for example the peanut butter I buy…ingredients: roasted organic peanuts. Yes, I have to keep it in the refrigerator and I have to stir it before I use it, but I am not getting any unwanted chemicals or preservatives. If everyone took that approach to the products they put on their skin and body as well as the ones they eat, they would be a lot healthier as a result.

  12. I am such a nerd when it comes to reading labels. Everything that I purchase I read the label and everything I see I always pick it up anyway to see the ingredients. I am amazed and the contents sometimes. I wish I knew this when I was younger. This is such an important post. Thanks for writing it Heather.


  13. such great information & reminders Heather. I’m chemically sensitive, so stay away from many of the items listed. But there are always ways I could be more careful. In the past year or two I began substituting very simple things, like bath oils, with olive oil and course salt. My skin feels better & in many ways it’s less expensive. It’s makeup where I still have my weak spot though. Thanks again for the gentle reminder. ~ Loralee

    • Thank you for your comment Loralee. I am glad you have found natural chemical-free ways to care for your skin. There are chemical free make-ups out there too. Maybe you could do some research on them and find something you like. 😉

  14. pat novak says:

    Heather, Great information. This really brings it home! I am going to need to carry this list with me. Also, the list you gave in your reply to Tanya. But I like how you make it easy by saying the less ingredients in a product, the better. And probably ones you can actually pronounce!

    • Glad you liked it Pat. You make a good point…being able to pronounce ingredients is always better! Hmm…maybe for a future post I will break down the list of chemicals and explain what they do to you.

  15. danielle says:

    what a great, informative post here… i knew some of this information, but there were still many things i had never heard before…
    the more informed i am about what products i use, it seems the better i feel and the better my skin looks..
    my facial moisturizer says it all: whipped cherry day cream.. literally made of cherries- i could eat it every time i put it on.. and it’s so natural i suppose i can!

  16. Digna Robar says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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