You are what you eat. And what you put on your skin. Many skin care products are designed to permeate the deeper layers of the skin, meaning they can have not just topical effect, but also systemic impact. This is especially worrisome for infants and fetuses.
The EPA recently found that babies are 10 times more vulnerable to carcinogens, and up to 65 times more vulnerable to some synthetics. Why? In 1993, the National Academy of Sciences listed the main reasons children are more vulnerable to synthetics than adults:
(1) more exposure pound for pound (literally, more surface area to volume)
(2) immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical exposure to the developing brain
(3) lower levels of chemical binding proteins (chelating agents) – again meaning chemicals have a clearer path to the brain
(4) organs in the development stage
(5) processing, filtering and disposal systems (like livers and kidneys) that are less developed. Babies, therefore, can’t flush their systems and detoxify as well as adults
(6) longer future life span.
Newer research also points to the fact that babies and children have far thinner, more sensitive skin, and that they are more prone to chemical absorption.
Unfortunately, not only is impact to infants and fetuses more likely, it can also be more permanent. There is evidence that exposure to various synthetics (like various endocrine disrupters commonly found in skin care) and even some naturals (like lavender and tea tree oil) can have permanent systemic impact. The Environmental Working Group has found that 82% of children are exposed to neurotoxins every week and 68% are exposed to endocrine disrupters. Meanwhile, rates of breast cancer are increasing and the age of menstruation and breast growth is decreasing. Even common packaging poses risks to babies.
What you put on your skin, and your child’s skin, might have lasting effects. Don’t be scared, just be aware. Don’t rely on marketing campaigns – read ingredient labels top to bottom. There are good guys out there, too…
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