It’s been commonly accepted through growing up with store bought skincare and beauty products that it is safe to use. After all, manufacturers have our best interest at heart, right? They would never knowingly put any harmful ingredients in their products solely to increase their bottom line, would they? That type of naivety died along with the last century. We as consumers need to take it upon us to educate ourselves in the beauty products we expose ourselves and our family to. Every day, without even giving it much thought we buy into extravagant marketing campaigns that influence our thinking about a brand. Without even knowing what ingredients are put into the soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners we readily expose our families to. Our buying patterns have fallen victim to a herd mentality.

Skin, Our Largest Organ
Our skin forms the largest organ of our body, and acts as a vehicle through which we absorb whatever is put on it. Applying beauty products to your skin is the same as eating it, as it will enter the bloodstream regardless whether it be digested through the mouth or absorbed through the skin (nicotine patches are proof of this.) If you were to take a moment to consider the implications those skincare products hold for your health and the environment, you are likely to buy more consciously.

Scary Ingredients In Skincare Products

If you were to have a look at the list of ingredients on the back of your moisturiser bottle, or any other of your hair, skincare and make up products you will likely be presented with a variety of ingredients which you won’t even be able to pronounce. Cosmetic companies capitalise on the fact that the layman won’t be able to identify, or be interested in the ingredient list. The safest rule to follow is that if you don’t know what the ingredients are in the products you use; don’t use it!

Shockingly, the most common ingredients in commercial everyday skincare and general body and beauty products include a list of toxic and harmful substances. These include:

  • Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben, quite a mouthful. A combination of these synthetic ingredients can be found in most any hair and skincare product available commercially. These ingredients have known toxic qualities and can cause allergic skin reactions. Manufacturers use these ingredients as they are cheap, and extend the shelf life of the product by hampering microbial growth.
  • Propylene Glycol is a Petroleum by-product and synthetic ingredient used as humectants. It is also used as industrial antifreeze. It is responsible for many allergic reactions, and research has shown that through skin contact, it can cause ‘liver abnormalities and kidney damage.’ So much for the considerate manufacturer, right?
  • DMDM Hydantion, a petro-chemical used as antifreeze in cars. It is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative.
  • Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Laurel is highly toxic. These synthetic substances are used in many cosmetic beauty products due to their cleansing and emulsifying properties. It’s known to cause bladder and kidney infections, urinary tract infections, genital disorders, skin rashes, eye irritations, hair loss, scalp scurf which is similar to dandruff and a host of other allergic reactions. It has also occurred that Sodium Laurel or Laureth Sulfate produce eye and skin irritation in experiments on animals, and in some cases humans. Various products which contain SLES were also found to contain levels of the carcinogen 1.4-dioxane. I bet they didn’t tell you that in the 30 second TV ad.

There are many other harmful and shocking ingredients and the list goes on. Synthetic coloring and fragrances are all known to consist of toxic ingredients which can cause headaches, rashes, violent coughing and skin irritations.

Organic Skincare Products As An Alternative?

Taking the above into account, would it not be in your and family’s best interest to at least look into viable alternatives? There is a wide range of locally produced natural alternatives that holds plenty of benefits to you, and the environment. You are guaranteed to feel the difference.

(Article sources


Aloha! I'm Carien. I live in South Africa in an area called the Swartland (Black Land). I live on a small holding (Homestead) and I am a full time house wife with one husband (yes, only one), one son, one dog, a few sheep and plenty of chickens. Living as natural as possible is a passion of mine. Inclined to a mostly organic vegetarian diet I tend to post healthy food recipes, green tips and information on natural and organic and natural living.


  1. where can i find a list of some natural skincare products?

    • Carien

      Unfortunately, at this stage it is quite difficult to find 100% natural and organic skin care products in your everyday stores. I have seen a few brands, like Bloublommetjies and Earthsap, available at our local grocery store. However, our online store will be launching in October 2010 and you will be able to get everything you need from shampoo to home cleaning products. Rest assured that whatever you buy from us will be safe for your family and the environment. Please sign up for our newsletter. We’ll notify you as soon as we launch.