HOLISTIC HEALTH Beauty products can be hazardous to your health
Skin problems can come from unexpected sources.
By L. CROW
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, yet most of us probably don't think of it as an organ at all. Sandra Barger, distributor of Arbonne International products, has become an expert on skin and skin care, and is eager to share her knowledge with others.
"The skin is our first line of defense," says Barger. "It forms a protective layer over the body to guard us against disease by its acidic properties, and will detoxify your blood if your liver doesn't do it. It keeps moisture in our body to aid with water retention. The skin regulates body temperature, cooling us through sweating and also prevents heat loss. It secretes waste, and helps the body produce Vitamin D when it interacts with the sun. And the skin has the ability to heal itself from wounds or burns and can remain healthy with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. But it may also be easily damaged by the sun pollution, and smoking if the diet is lacking in vitamins."
Barger also points out another essential quality of skin: "Everything we put on our skin is absorbed into every organ of our body," she says. "According to Dr. Rita Goad, if you peel a clove of garlic and put it between your toes, within 26 seconds you will taste the garlic." That is the theory behind skin patches for nicotine and birth control. And that is also why Barger feels it is so important for people to be aware of the toxic qualities of many cosmetics and skin care products on the market today.
Arbonne International is an American company formed 25 years ago. The research and development, however is done in Switzerland. "Arbonne" means "good things from the earth" in Swiss. They carry a wide range of skin care products, including baby care and other healthful items, such as a "detox" tea, all of which use only natural, botanical ingredients. They do no animal testing, nor do they use any animal byproducts.
Barger became interested in the company when she went to a class through Arbonne.
She has always been into health and wellness because of battling her own severe diabetes, so she wanted to take a closer look at the company. Barger had sold other cosmetics, including Mary Kay, but through the class, she learned about the toxic qualities of many cosmetics and was shocked. At first, she just wanted to be an Arbonne customer, but felt so compelled to teach others about the benefits of natural skin care products, that she decided to become a distributor.
A press release from the Cancer Prevention Coalition, dated June 17, 2002, says that cancer rates have grown from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 2 in the last 100 years. It says, "Most scientists agree that cancer is initially caused by industrial chemicals and/or radiation exposure. Everyone comes in contact with these chemicals in food, water, air (tobacco smoke), but the biggest risk now appears to be absorption and inhalation of chemicals in hair care products, mouthwash, cosmetics, toothpaste, lotions, skin care products, suntan items, etc..."
"Any cosmetic that uses collagen, lanolin, tallow or gelatin is using animal byproducts," says Barger. "Mineral oil is especially bad. It may affect hormone balance in women. Its presence also keeps botanical ingredients from being absorbed into the skin. It is a cheap, petroleum-based ingredient that is used in so many products. 'Vaseline-Gasoline.'"
Products from companies such as Arbonne that do not use animal byproducts would instead contain nut oils, herb or seed oils, each with a particular beneficial quality. For instance, eucalyptus oil has antibacterial qualities while wheat germ oil moisturizes and softens.
Arbonne publishes a flyer that educates people as to where animal byproducts come from: "When a cow is slaughtered, about half of its weight is not eaten by humans; this includes the intestines and their contents, the head, hooves, the horns, as well as bones and blood... in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets -- the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year. Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies and road-kill. . .When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles and waxes." This is from an article by Howard F. Lyman.
"Arbonne products also have zero tolerance to skin irritations," adds Barger. "The only fragrance is from natural botanicals. Most skin irritations come from fragrance ingredients. And the benefit is that natural products work when others often don't, to heal dry skin, for instance."
When Barger gets a new client, she first finds what their needs are. She asks about their skin and what they would like to change, if they notice their skin is affected by the seasons, and if the products they currently use are working. Cancer patients need to be particularly careful what they put in their skin. Barger points out that breast cancer has been linked to shampoo, nail polish and makeup. She also says that the nut oils have been removed from Arbonne baby products. "In Europe, many of the ingredients known to be toxic in skin care products have already been banned," Barger says.
XLaughing Crow is a practitioner of holistic healing. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.