Your skin is your largest organ. You may not spend too much time thinking about it, but while you’re experiencing the world your skin is your first line of defense against infection and injury. But what you might not know is that your skin can directly absorb chemicals, especially in areas with many glands and pores.
Getting Under Your Skin
We often think a lot about how our skin looks and use cleansers, moisturizers, and perfumes on it. And because your skin is an organ, it takes in those chemicals and actually delivers many of them to your tissues and eventually your bloodstream where they can be transported all over your body.
In fact, some medications are administered as creams so that the chemicals can be absorbed into your body’s tissues and produce the desired result. In the case of many medications and essential oils, this absorption is a positive thing. But if you’re not careful you can introduce harmful chemicals to your body this way.
This can become a problem if you’re using products that contain synthetic fragrances – and there are many such products on the market. Synthetic fragrances are typically derived from petroleum and include chemicals that can be toxic and even cancer-causing. Phthalates and synthetic musks are also commonly used potentially hazardous ingredients.
Common ingredients found in perfumes are:
- methylene chloride
- ethyl acetate
- benzyl alcohol
While a lotion might contain a “rose fragrance”, it could have no actual rose oil in it. Instead, it could be a synthetic fragrance that mimics the aroma of a rose. Why would manufacturers do this? To answer this question, you need only follow the money.
Synthetic fragrances are much less expensive than naturally produced essential oils. They also last longer and can add to the shelf life of the products on the market. While they last a long time on the shelf, you can believe they also last a long time when they wash away into the environment.
When looking at your products, avoid those that list the word “fragrance” in the ingredients. This is the official terminology for synthetic fragrance. You can choose to purchase unscented or fragrance-free products instead. Products that are certified as organic are also guaranteed to be free from synthetics. But if you really want a scent, you still have a healthy option.
A Healthier Choice
Using a plant-based fragrance that is actually natural is a much healthier choice. Essential oils provide easy access to plant-based fragrances that won’t cause negative health effects. In fact, by using natural essential oils you’ll provide your body with soothing aromatherapy and can actually improve your health.
You can make your own lotions and other skin products in order to guarantee that all of the ingredients are natural. There are many recipes online and in books to help you do this. However, you can also purchase fragrance free products and simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or blend to them.
This simple switch from synthetic fragrance to essential oils can reduce your risk of exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, allergic reactions, and even birth defects.