Health | Wellness | Yoga | Chicago

Non-Toxic Skincare: Part One

Have you ever thought about how things that you put on your body gets absorbed into your body as well?You can eat the cleanest diet in the entire world; but if you are using toxic products in your daily life, your body is going to be filled with toxins.

I could go on and on about the toxins that are in all beauty products; especially makeup. However, for this post I am going to stick strictly to skincare and another post about Non-Toxic Makeup will be coming soon!

In this post I am going to outline what you should be looking for as far as harmful toxins in skin care products. Part 2 will be published next week and will outline specific “must-have” skincare products that I love and use on a daily basis.

Me and my kitten, @yogi_thekitten (yes she has an Instagram… go follow!)

How To Spot the Toxic Products

It can be tricky to make absolutely sure of which products are truly non toxic. Most products labeled “natural” or “non-toxic” actually contain harmful and toxic ingredients. One way to check toxins in a product is to review “The Never List” by BeautyCounter. BeautyCounter is one of my go-to brands for makeup, and skincare as well. They have a list on their site of ingredients you should never find in any if you products. It is extremely helpful, however it can be tedious to go through every ingredient in a product and cross checking it with the list. Another resource you can use us database. Basically, you type in a products and it rates in red, yellow, or green, according to how “toxic” it is. This is a great resource to use, but I find that they don’t have every product that I have tried to research. It is a great way to take a look at certain brands as a whole and whether the brand as a whole makes toxic products or not. The last resource I can think of is an app called ThinkDirty. I have only used it a couple of times, but the idea is that while you’re shopping in a store, you can scan a product directly through the app and it will tell you if it is toxic. The main thing that I do to truly make sure that my products are completely, transparently, truly, clean and non toxic, is: I get to know and research the company. Find companies you trust and go from there. I try to do this in all aspects of my life: skincare, makeup, electronics, food, etc. There’s really no way to truly know if a company is telling the absolute truth on packages, so research and talk to companies and go with your gut feeling about whether it is a brand you want to trust. It may seem tedious, but, it’s kind of a big deal. This is your body and your overall health and well being that’s on the line.


Harmful Ingredients & Toxins

I won’t bore you with listing all of the ingredients to look out for; that’s why the BeautyCounter Never list is a great resource. However, I will name the a few of the more harmful ones to lookout for on the back of your skincare and beauty products.


Look for: anything that has -paraben at the end of the word.  (benzylparaben, methylparaben, etc.)
Contains estrogen-mimicking properties, can cause increased risk of breast cancer,

Synthetic Colors
Look for: Anything that says D&C or FD&C with a color that follows. (D&C Red-1, FD&C Blue 18, etc.)
Skin irritant, human carcinogen, linked to ADHD in children

There can be anything in a “fragrance” mix, which is why it can be scary. Similar to saying “natural flavors” in a food item (it’s bullshit and a disguise for harmful ingredients)
Associated with allergies, dermatitis, and harmful effects on the reproductive system

Human carcinogen, linked to causing cancer, skin irritant, harmful to immune system

Propylene glycol
Skin irritator, causes dermatitis and hives

Look for: Petrolatum, Xylene, Toluene, Mineral Oil, Liquid Paraffin
This disturbs me. Yes, it is the same petroleum that goes in the motor of your car.
Contains 1,4 Dioxane which is a probable carcinogen and cancer causing agent


Why Does It Matter?

I talked about similar circumstances when talking about toxic tampons in my “Code Red: Menstrual Cramp Remedies” post. Chemicals get absorbed directly into your skin and into your body and bloodstream and can cause a plethora of long term health issues. Most of these toxins are hormone disruptors, which can be very dangerous and cause a lot of other issues as well. These hormone disruptors can also cause acne and it can be extremely hard to get rid of.



I have had cystic acne since high school. If you have struggled with acne as well, you know how hard it can be. I was never able to leave my house, let alone my room, without some sort of makeup on. I wasn’t comfortable being around anybody without makeup on; boyfriends, family, best friends, and even myself. I looked like a different person without makeup on– literally it got to the point where people didn’t recognize me when I wasn’t wearing makeup. It would bother me so much when people would say, “Oh my gosh I look so bad without makeup on,” because they simply looked like themselves, just without makeup on and maybe a little bit more tired. They didn’t know how it actually felt to really look bad without makeup on. I think one of the reasons why people didn’t recognize me without makeup is because I am extremely good as using makeup to cover my acne. People are very surprised to learn that I have acne because I do such a good job of covering it. To combat my acne, I tried products that claimed to be the best out there: Proactive, Rodan & Fields, etc. My acne would sometimes subside, when I was out in the sun or just on a lucky day, but then it would go right back to monopolizing my face.

My OBGYN even wanted to put me on strong birth control to “help” my acne. The Western Medical system is not aware of hormonal imbalances and it makes me to sad that doctors are further disrupting and manipulating people’s hormones in order to cover up their [acne] problems rather than getting to the root of the problem. My doctors also recommended I go on Accutane. I need to take a moment to talk about Accutane because people are unaware of how horrible it is for your body. Accutane can cause depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, not to mention that when you’re taking it, it has a 100% birth defect rate. Why the fuck would anybody want to put something in their body that literally has the power to cause birth defects? Although Accutane and other antobiotics normally do work to clear up acne, they do not in any way get to the root of the cause. The Western Medical system as a whole always wants to cover up the problems that we face rather than truly understand why they are happening and truly fix the root cause. (I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here).

Honestly, to this day, my acne is still pretty bad, which is why this is not a post about how to fix your acne (when I figure it out, I will gladly let you know). Eating a Paleo or anti-inflammatory diet and cutting out dairy and gluten has helped a lot of people with their acne, but that alone didn’t necessarily work for me. I have noticed one big change in my acne since I switched to living a non-toxic lifestyle; it has moved. Ever since I switched over to non-toxic beauty and makeup products, my acne no longer resides on my cheeks, it is now mostly on my chin. Chin acne is stress acne, which means hormonal acne. Honestly this gives me a sense of hope and relief because now I have complete confidence that I can fix my acne once and for all by balancing my hormones and working on my stress levels. Non toxic skin care has helped me take control of my body and become in touch with what it needs. Switching over to non toxic products was one of the best things I have done for myself and my body.



Sunscreen gets its own section because it is one of the number one items that you should be SURE is non-toxic. The chemicals found in sunscreens are severe endocrine disruptors, and can cause cancer and cellular damage to the body. Common dangerous chemicals to look out for in sunscreen include: benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate, and ethoxycinnmate, and oxybenzone. Honestly though, if you aren’t using a sunscreen that you know is completely non toxic, there are definitely harmful chemicals in it.

Using large amounts of sunscreen also blocks your body’s ability to manufacture Vitamin D. “But I don’t want to age and get all wrinkly from the sun!” Well, sunscreen doesn’t even really prevent that from happening! Sunscreen mostly blocks UVB, which is what caused sunburn. However, it barely blocks UVA which is what causes wrinkles and aging.


How should I protect my skin from sunburn and aging?

Dr. Joseph Mercola says that the two main ways to naturally help your body to be more “sun resistant” is by using Zinc Oxide (present in most natural sunscreens), or by eating certain foods to help protect your body from the sun. He says the most effective thing to consume is the fat soluble carotenoid astaxanthin, (the thing that creates the pink coloring of salmon).  You can either consume it through eating things like salmon and krill, or take it in pill form. He explains that consuming carotenoid astaxanthin will help your body become more naturally resistant to the harmful effects of the sun.

The sunscreen that I currently use is the Face and Body sticks from BeautyCounter. (More on BeautyCounter and other products I use in next week’s post)

I don’t know about you, but something relaxing for me to do once in awhile is sunbathe. To be completely honest, I used to go tanning in the tanning beds on a regular basis, because I loved being tan, and it helped my skin. Then I changed to just laying directly in the sun for long periods of time. Now, I still enjoy going to the pool to lay out on occasion to soak up some Vitamin D. Most tanning oils are just as toxic as sunscreens, so I decided to make my own all natural tanning oil! It is in my “Eats” section because it is in recipe format. It does have SPF naturally through the oils that I used and it’s extremely moisturizing for your skin.

I cannot wait to share my must have skincare and beauty products next week! I will tell you right now almost every single product I use is from BeautyCounter or Franklin and Whitman. These are two brands I absolutely trust and love; more on that in Part Two.

If you want to get a head start and are interested in these two non toxic brands, here are my codes/shopping links!

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I am a BeautyCounter consultant; I can answer any questions you may have and I would LOVE to talk about the brand with you and give you recommendations:


Franklin & Whitman 15% off code!
Use this code at checkout: SHAPEDUPSAM


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