April 20, 2011

Some Truth about the Cosmetics Industry. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko

Photo: Alexander Persona Grata

What are our skin cream companies hiding from us?

Ed’s note: Pangea is, for one month, a sponsor of elephant. We’re proud of that: we only work with sponsors we can vouch for personally. That said, in any case, this article is offered as editorial, and we regard it as genuine editorial, and would publish it (or not, if we didn’t believe in it) whether or not Pangea sponsored elephant this month. ~ ed.

I get asked about this a lot [Josh is CEO, founder of Pangea Organics. ~ed.] so I’m going to try and break it all down in this article.

The cosmetics industry is completely unregulated, except if they are making medical claims such as “acne treatment” or “SPF” etc., etc. These products are not regulated for safety, just for effectiveness of the claim, and even that is suspect.

There are over 100,000 chemicals being used in the cosmetic and cleaning industry in the U.S. Less than 10% of them have ever been tested for human safety, and next to none have been tested for safety when combined with other components, which is exactly what a cosmetic product is—a cocktail of ingredients.

How does the industry work?

Well, like most things, it’s based on fear—fear of aging, and fear of not being beautiful enough. These fears are preyed upon by slick marketing campaigns and false claims. The average cosmetic product is 95% petroleum filler with an active compound to give you the desired effect for about six hours; long-term effectiveness is not part of the plan. Within that formulation, there are generally about 12 known carcinogens. The average person uses 12-15 products a day.

Photo: sunshinecity

If you do the math, that’s over 144 chemicals per person, per day!

What is a carcinogen, exactly? Carcinogens may increase the risk of cancer by altering cellular metabolism, or damaging DNA directly in cells. This interferes with biological processes, and induces the uncontrolled, malignant division, ultimately leading to the formation of tumors.

This is unfortunate, because most people believe that if you can buy something from a retailer, it must be safe, right? We have been programmed to believe this, but it’s not true.

Or maybe it means the products are effective: if we die before we age, well then that is “anti-aging,” isn’t it?!

In fact, in my 11 years of research, most products on the market today are actually causing long term effects, like premature aging, skin thinning and of course, cancer. All for six hours of reduced fine lines and wrinkles.

Here are a few more examples of lies from the cosmetic industry:

You know when you go to a nice hotel, and you see your favorite cosmetic brand in tiny little bottles? Well guess what—those are not what you think they are. Even 5 star hotels are only willing to spend about $0.20 per bottle for amenities.

Here’s how it works. There are a few companies that license the brand names, and then create an even more toxic cocktail of carcinogens and make it look and smell like the brand name original, but it’s really not the same at all. Chemicals are cheap.

Photo: paz. ca

How do they get away with this? “Not for resale,” that’s how. If you can’t buy it, they don’t have to list the ingredients. Pretty slick, eh?

You’re probably reading this and saying, “Wow! Good thing I buy all natural products.” But being natural or organic when it comes to skin care means nothing. Again, there is nobody regulating the use of these words, so you can still find plenty of carcinogens and formaldehyde donors in the “natural” aisle.

It’s very tricky. Many cosmetic ingredients are manufactured by component companies, and they come up with great names for things like “vegetable emulsifying wax.” That’s just peas and carrots, right?

Nope. It’s 78% petroleum.

In the last few years, there’s been a lot of buzz about parabens. Well, what do you think replaced parabens? Answer: sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, a known formaldehyde donor.

But wait, there’s good news…

Understanding the skin is quite simple, really. Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs up to 80% of what you put on it. Feed it a healthy diet. Aging can be understood very simply: when you are born, your skin produces new skin cells about every 30 days; this keeps us youthful. As we grow older, this process slows down; this is called aging. By the time we are 70, it can take up to 120 days to produce new skin cells.

Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt

Inflammation also has a lot to do with skin health, both external factors, (i.e. sun, smoke, environmental pollution and of course, toxic products), as well as our diets affect the PH of our body and our skin. Our diets are loaded with acidic foods, coffee, soda, alcohol, pretty much all animal products, etc.

So the way we formulate at Pangea Organics—and how skin care should be formulated—is to treat the skin as we should treat the body. 100% of our ingredients are active; therefore, if an ingredient isn’t doing something positive for your skin, we don’t use it. We don’t use fillers. We fill our tubes and bottles up with powerful antioxidants (did you know that organic foods have 30% more antioxidants than conventional?).

We use ingredients that speed up skin cell regeneration, and we use a lot of anti-inflammatory ingredients. We feed your skin what it thirsts for. What do you get in return? Healthy skin, and products that outlast, outperform and outdo all of your expectations.

Nobody does it like we do it.

I hope this all helps. By the way, there’s no better time to toss the toxins than this month. All Pangea products are 25% off on our site, as well as in select stores nationwide. We’re all about accessibility: though we use quality, hard-to-source ingredients, you can find other such deals through the year by following us on Facebook or getting our newsletter.

Please feel free to post any questions you may have below, I’ll answer best I can.

Cheers to healthy skin!


Joshua-Scott Onysko, a longtime friend to elephant, is founder and CEO of Pangea Organics. You can read more from Josh here. Click here for 25% off through earth day.

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