Beverly Hills, CA (The Open Press) January 26, 2009 — Natural skin care is all over the news these days. More products are available than ever before, and more people are demanding skin care products free of harmful chemicals. From mineral make-up to moisturizers, millions of women are trying to stay healthy by using healthy skin care products. But just because a product is labeled natural or organic doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Although there are a few natural skin care brands, very few, which are truly nontoxic, most have ingredients you need to avoid. There are literally hundreds of harmful ingredients out there, but some are worse than others. Here’s the short list of the most common skin care ingredients to avoid:

Petroleum, petroleum jelly and mineral oil – These ingredients are a by-product of the distillation process used to create gasoline. They clog the pores, which inhibits the absorption of oxygen and natural moisture and prevents the body from expelling toxic waste products. The effects can be disastrous – a study conducted by Columbia University found that the breast tissue of women with breast cancer contained significantly higher levels of petroleum than found in healthy breasts. And there are many other studies about the dangers of these ingredients.

Propylene glycol – This chemical is used to facilitate the absorption of other ingredients and to enable a product to maintain its consistency in extreme hot or cold. And it does a great job. That’s why they use it in antifreeze. But would you knowingly put antifreeze on, or in, your body? Not likely. Even the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) warns us that we should avoid skin contact with propylene glycol because, when absorbed, it can cause liver and kidney damage. A review of all the government and industry studies indicates it may also cause toxicity of the respiratory tract, the skin and sense organs, and the immune and nervous systems.

What else should you watch out for? Sodium lauryl and laureth sulphate, FD&C color pigments, formaldehyde, and fragrances.

Some experts argue that skin care products don’t contain enough of these ingredients to worry about. But research shows that women absorb five pounds of harmful chemicals every year through these types of products alone.

Regardless of your intentions, it’s almost impossible to get products that don’t have something in them you’d be better off without. If you find yourself in that position, use a shielding lotion. A good shielding lotion bonds with the outer layer of skin to form a new protective layer that keeps chemicals out.

Healthy skin can be achieved through healthy skin care, but read the labels to make sure you’re getting the safest products possible – and don’t forget the shielding lotion.