The skin we live in

Posted on March 2, 2012 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

I walked past Neal's Yard Remedies last week and saw them promoting their paraben-free week. Potential customers were encouraged to swap their skincare products with parabens for 20% off the store's non-paraben products. It's not a bad way to promote their products and ethics, as well as raising awareness on an issue that are not so welcomed by many cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies.

Even though I have always been careful with my skincare and cosmetic products, to my surprise, I still managed to find some products that contain parabens... in a hand cream and a hair product. But what's the fuss about? Parabens are actually chemical preservatives that have antibacterial effects and are widely used in the beauty, drug and food industries. They can often be found in shampoos, makeup, hair gels, skincare products, toothpaste and even food. Although some can be found in plants or fruits such as blueberries, there are increasing concern over their potential health risks on humans. Researchers have found a link between parabens and cancerous breasts tumours, though they may not be the causes, it is best to take precautions and avoid these chemicals altogether. Besides, many people are allergic to parabens without realising it, so why take the risks?

Sometimes brands may claim to be organic or natural but this may not be the entirely true, so it is important to check the ingredients beforehand. Since I have highly sensitive and dry skin, I am not very adventurous when it comes to skincare products. I sometimes would react after facials at spas, so I am careful with what I put on my face. Apart from Neal's Yard, I have also been using several French skincare brands for some time that are high in quality, reasonably priced, and mostly paraben-free.

Nuxe - This French brand is one of my favourite and I especially love their moisturisers. They are slightly above mid-range (cheaper if you buy them in France), but I have never had problems with their products because they are mostly organic, mild and not heavily perfumed.

La Roche-Posay - a pharmaceutical laboratory originating from a small French village, this has become more popular outside of France because of recommendations by dermatologists. Most of their products are fragrance-free, soap-free and paraben-free, I especially like their Anthelios XL SPF 50+ tinted cream, which is the best facial sunscreen in the summer.

Bioderma - Similar to La Roche-Posay, Bioderma is also a laboratory that is popular within France, but not as well known in the U.K.

Besides these French brands, Ren from the U.K. and Dr Hauschka from Germany also sell natural products free of chemicals, my only complaint is that prices for Dr Hauschka are much higher here than in Germany! Recently, many cosmetics giants have also launched new paraben-free lines, so it's likely that there will be more choices available in the market soon.

For those who don't trust these beauty brands (personally I think many are rip-offs where most of what we pay end up going to their marketing and retail rentals), an alternative is to create DIY products at home. Years ago, I bought 'The world beauty book' which contains a collection of natural and secret recipes gathered from women all over the world. From avocado hair mask to banana and butter hand cream, the book is packed with ideas that are not only cost-effective but healthier and probably more effective on the skin! The downside is that you can only make a small batch for immediately use, which also means it is guaranteed to be fresh each time! However, at the end of the day, I think it is more important to have an overall healthy and balance lifestyle than what we put on our faces!

There is a lot of information online about parabens, and here is one article regarding parabens and breast cancer.


This post was posted in Eco living & sustainability, Read & write and was tagged with skincare, books