I read this blog post by Grace from Pure & Green Organics with great interest as it outlines some great Shopping Guides that help you to navigate your way through the maze of ingredients on cosmetic labels. I have personally used all of these guides and found them excellent. I particularly like the phone apps as they are portable.
Grace from Pure & Green writes: The good news is there are guides already in existence and most of them very reasonably priced, and some are even free. I have broken the options down to the ones I have used and feel comfortable recommending & also into three formats (1) PC downloads you can print out (2) apps for your iphone or (3) apps for your android phone
While most cosmetic dictionaries are so bulky you couldn’t possibly bring them to the shops with you, one very clever lady named Ruth Winter has prepared her dictionary in multiple formats making life a little easier. The book is titled “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients – 7th edition” . Here is a blurb from her about the latest edition
“Everything you need to know about the safety and efficacy of cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. Is it a cosmetic? A drug? A nutrient? Its becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference with the cosmetic companies combining the three. …. . So before you slather on that wrinkle-reducing cream or swallow a skin-rejuvenating vitamin, find out whats in your health and beauty products with A Consumers Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients.”
I bought her dictionary in e-book form and it does the job although the focus is on explaining the ingredients, not emphatically stating avoid this or that.
You can buy the book as an e-book or in hard cover (which is probably easier to navigate than the e-book) both versions cost $17.99
or as an iphone app – also $17.99
nothing available for android phones at the moment
If $17.99 is outside your budget you could print out the free shoppers guide from the David Suzuki Foundation. This little guide is well, little, so it focuses on what they have called the dirty dozen, the top 12 “families” of chemicals to avoid. It’s not as comprehensive as Ruth Winter’s book but it’s free, easy to carry and a good start.
Update: readers have recommended “The Chemical Maze Shopping Companion 4th edition: Your Guide to Food Additives and Cosmetic Ingredients”. Author – Bill Statham. This book is very small – compact enough to fit into your handbag while shopping, and is available through online booksellers for approx $16.00
For help in choosing a sunscreen, there is a free guide available from Friends of the Earth which you can print out. It’s focus is on nano-free products not the overall toxicity.
Environmental Working Group have produced a report into the toxicity of sunscreens, which you could access free with an iphone app
I find a combination of the two guides is useful as they each have a different focus, it’s only by combining them that you get the whole picture.
Ed. note: Do you know of any great cosmetic resources. If so please share the love so we can all benefit! Thanks.Twitter It!
A couple of people recently have asked me about small bumps on the backs of their arms – what they are, what causes this condition and what can they do about it. The official name for this common skin condition is Keratosis pilaris and it appears as rough, bumpy, sometimes red skin most often found on upper arms, thighs and sometimes even on the cheeks.
It occurs due to a hard protective protein found in skin, hair, and nails called keratin, which builds up, forms a plug blocking the opening of hair follicles. When these plugs, or bumps, become irritated it causes redness.
Keratosis pilaris is a hereditary condition that usually presents in childhood, often worsening during puberty and occasionally continuing into adulthood. Warm weather can cause improvement but the drier weather in winter will commonly exacerbate the condition by drying out skin and further blocking hair follicles. At this stage there is no completely effective treatment however there are a number of things you can do that will improve the overall look and feel of the skin:
If you experience Keratosis and have had good results with a particular treatment please comment so other readers can benefit from your experience.Twitter It!
A bush tucker food native to the Northern Territory and Western Australia has raised the interest of a major US cosmetics giant. Last year Mary Kay cosmetics applied for an international patent on the Kakadu Plum extract to be used in skin care products. Traditionally used for food and medicine by the Mirrar people of Kakadu, this patent would create a monopoly of use for Mary Kay for up to the next 20 years. There is concern about this patent application as it may limit future use of similar extracts and indeed may exclude the use of Kakadu Plum in existing cosmetic products. The application had also angered some indigenous people as it doesn’t take into account any benefit sharing for traditional use of the plum.
Also known as Billygoat plum, the round, light green fruits are usually eaten raw or made into jam. The fruits gained increased popularity after the vitamin C content became known. Significantly the Kakadu Plum has been identified world wide as the single natural food source with the highest vitamin C content on the planet. It contains up to 3000mg of vitamin C per 100g of fruit, which is over 50 times the concentration found in oranges. In addition high levels of folate and polyphenolic antioxidants were also found.
Unfortunately, supply of high-vitamin C content Kakadu Plum may be limited. Antioxidant levels including vitamin C respond to harsh growing conditions and rise when the plant is under environmental threat which is common in wild stands of trees. Plantation crops of the fruit have lower levels of vitamin C due to irrigation and less harsh growing conditions.
The vitamin C content in particular explains why it Kakadu Plum has gained the recent interest of Mary Kay. Among other benefits Vitamin C – supports and stimulates collagen synthesis and reduces free radical damage. Significantly in the Australian climate, it also minimised photoaging. Photo-aging damage includes but is not limited to: wrinkles, dark blotches, freckles, leathery texture and loss of elasticity.Twitter It!
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