..The Intuitive Times
Wellness Articles


Hidden Dangers Lurking in Beauty Products

by Klaus Ferlow

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Were you aware that the cosmetics industry in North America is big business with over $30 billion in sales each year? Their products are sold mostly with a "brainwashing" type of advertising through multimedia, television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Lots of claim are made as to how good the products are at rejuvenating the skin by reducing wrinkles and lines. Do you really know what the ingredients are that are in these products? Even if they are listed on the product label... do you understand for example what sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol and mineral oil mean?

The "flowery" and often misleading language of cosmetics advertising tells you very little about the actual effectiveness. In Canada there is no labeling law, so manufacturers can deceive the consumer. In the U.S. the law provides for mandatory labeling of ingredients, but only chemists understand their purpose and dermatologists their problems. It seems that a large percentage of the population is suffering adverse reactions and consequences when using cosmetic products that contain many harmful chemicals and synthetic ingredients.

The purpose of this article is to offer alternative methods of caring for your hair and skin. We are actively involved in the manufacture of truly NATURAL herbal. creams, lotions, shampoo and sprays made with premium quality botanical herbal extracts, which am certified organic. organic. or wildcrafted without synthetics, artificial color, scents or preservatives. Our products are available only through professional Health & Wellness practitioners.

We would like to inform you of the various chemicals; by name, where they come from, and what they can do for your skin and hair. Be aware that there are over 900 chemicals available for use in cosmetics that have toxic substances and are dangerous to your health and well-being. (Source: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)

Large corporations in the personal-care industry are for the most part interested in the promotion and profit potential of their products, not your health. They are selling an image, not necessarily a safe and effective product. You have to ask yourself what "New & Improved!” means on the label. Aren't you overwhelmed by all the claims made promoting their natural skin care products? Many of the so-called new and unproved products are old formulas in flashy new packaging designed to appeal to today’s consumer. All this does is up the price, not the quality.

Companies selling personal care products hide controversial or dangerous ingredients under the label of “Trade secrets". Because of intense competition in the industry, if a company believes it uses an ingredient that, is relatively new to the industry, or that it makes their product unique, it can petition the FDA (m Canada the HPB - Health Protection Branch) to prevent disclosure of that ingredient by granting trade secret status. This spell delight for the company and disaster for you.

Many people are very health and beauty conscious and are willing to spend large amounts of money on cosmetics promising firming of sagging skin, removal of wrinkles, nourishing the starving skin and/or removal of blemishes. Brand name cosmetics companies have developed a large profitable industry selling products that imply these and other non-existing impossible virtues and cures! Every cosmetic product on the market is formulated for a shelf life of over three years, therefore it contains a large amount (usually four synthetic parabens) of preservatives to prevent spoilage. These preservatives are cellular toxins, otherwise they could not kill microbes. They do penetrate the skin to a certain extent and many of them have been shown to cause allergic reactions and dermatitis. Over 90% of all ingredients in commercially available cosmetic products are of synthetic origin, and induce all the associated health risks. On the other hand there is a wealth of disclosed information and practical knowledge available about NATURAL products. because they have been used successfully for thousands of years starting way back with aboriginal and native peoples.
In North America literally thousands of people are suffering from adverse effects and reactions from cosmetic products. Most people don't associate burning, reddening of the skin or pimples and rashes with a cosmetic product they are using. People simply discontinue to use the product but seldom report it to the FDA or HPB. Many chemicals used in cosmetics never cause visible signs of toxicity on the skin, but contain potent systemic toxins that can remain in the body for a very long time.

Finally a list of cosmetic chemicals that have caused adverse effects was first published for the general public in the book “Health Risks in Today's Cosmetics". The book contains the surprising results of a recently conducted sample survey of the estimated 20,000 different off-the-shelf cosmetic products that are for sale in the U.S. Over 80% of the products surveyed contained one or more ingredients that have caused documented adverse reactions in humans and animals in the past! l Best advice: carefully read the label of all products, comparing them against a list of reportedly harmful ingredients or contammants. Only if enough consumers do that, will products that contain harmful substances eventually disappear from the marketplace.

How often have you seen die words "Natural" or "Hypo-allergenic”at the front of a skincare product? Cosmetic companies use slick advertising to convince you that you we buying a safe product. There are no industry-wide standards for what the word "Natural” refers to. Every week companies introduce new products which are supposed to be better, more effective and healthier - but are they really? What happened to the 'old' ones? A quote from the Boston Globe, September 6, 1997: “The General Accounting Office, the investigative branch of Congress, has identified more than 125 cosmetic ingredients suspected of causing cancer - and others that may cause birth defects!”

What can you do to protect yourself and your family? Read labels and learn to decipher some of the chemcal jargon. An explanation of many chemicals that are hazardous to your skin and health follows in the upcoming issue of the “Intuitive Times”. Understanding the long-term effects of these dangerous chemicals and which products contain them is the first step in avoiding disastrous results for you and you loved ones. If nothing else this information will make you a better informed consumer, and hopefully more aware of potential health risks. Most importantly it could save your life


Many toothpaste and soap companies include this warning on their labels, "Not for use by children under 6.” What you may not realize is the dangers in your home are just as likely to harm your children as anything outside. Products that your children use every day may contain ingredients the studies have linked to cancer, blindness, and even-death. One of the most widespread of these chemicals is SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS). Manufacturers primarily use it because it is inexpensive and readily available. Some products that can contain SLS are shampoo, soap, toothpaste and lotions. You are probably aware that your children’s toothpaste contains fluoride because that’s what dentists have recommended for years to prevent cavities. However, most toothpaste contains enough fluoride in four ounces to kill a small child! In 1990 a study stated that fluoride has been shown to NOT reduce cavities and now scientists are linking fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions and about 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year from cancer. Fluoride can corrode the tooth enamel and research indicates that it can lead to Crohn’s disease when swallowing toothpaste.

In the same category is mouthwash. Did you know that some mouthwash contains even higher concentrations of alcohol than beer, wine and liquor. Containing more than 25% alcohol can be dangerous to young children - one ounce can cause seizures and brain damage and five ounces can kill! According to the National Cancer Institute mouthwash with over 25% alcohol concentration increases the risk of oral and throat cancer by 60% for men and 90% for women compared to those who do not use mouthwash.

Another dangerous product is propylene glycol, an ingredient that is commonly used as a humectant (additive to keep products moist). It is an inexpensive glycerine substitute. Propylene glycol is bad enough for your skin but has also been seen in commercially made baked goods such as muffins to keep them moist for a long time. Consumers bewarel

Some women experience rashes, eczema, and/or acne from using cosmetics loaded with synthetic ingrediients. Occasionally they use the same irritating product to try to alleviate the problem but are actually making it worse! When young women start using makeup - (some really overdo it and the synthetics in the products are absorbed into their skin), it dries the skin and changes the pH level (pH refers to the acid or alkaline level of a product which is detennined by the amount of hydrogen in vanous ingredients). Normal hair and skin have a pH between 4.0 and 6.0 or slightly acidic. Synthetic cosmetic products will change the pH allowing secondary infections to occur. Acne is a widespread problem and results from an increased production of sebum (oils of the skin) which blocks pores. Those suffering from acne need to keep the skin clean and use only natural products with certified organic, organic or wild-crafted herbal extracts. Of course some of us are more prone to acne because of previous genetics. Clean unclogged pores and a balanced diet helps considerably. Certain preservatives, artificial firagrances, colours and mineral oils can cause itchy rashes, skin damage and asthma-like symptoms. The origin of a significant portion of dermatological complaints can be traced back to a chemical or non-natural substance that has been applied to the skin.


Everyone uses hair shampoo on a daily or weekly basis. Complaints about irritations from shampoo are among the most frequent made to the FDA/HPB, as well as to manufactures. People often complain about different brands of shampoo that have caused various conditions such as scalp irritation, hair loss, eye inritation and severe hair damage. The vast majority of commercially available shampoos are loaded with chemicals that are hazardous to your skin and health! Have you ever wondered why we have a higher percentage of brain tumors among the population in North America than elsewhere in the world. Scientific studies have proven that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) found in most shampoos damages protein formation in the eyes. After damage has been done, SLS even retards the healing process. Kenneth Gree, PH.D., D.Sc. of the Medical College of Georgia, warns that eyes affected by SLS take five times as long to heal. SLS can lead to cataract formation and eventually blindness. Not only from direct eye contact but through skin absorption over the long term. Many varieties of shampoo we designed to treat dandruff and flaky scalp conditions but these contain coal tar. However you won’t find it on the label. It is listed as FD&C or D&C colour. Our youngest son Harald, works in a hair salon. Without the use of rubber gloves, he would suffer serious skin problems from washing and dying his clients hair.

Shampoo sales are over 2 billion dollar; in North America each year. There are many manufacturers offering an incredible assortment of products. Recently I checked some of the large chain and drug stores and was amazed that approximately 70-80% of the shampoos and conditioners had no ingredients listing. In the U.S. the law mandates an accurate ingredient listing. It seems that most of the products that are on Canadian store shelves without the proper labeling are from the U.S. The remaining products which did have ingredients shown, listed many synthetics and chemicals. The consumer really has no alternative in these stores.

This article is to inform you that NATURAL alternatives are definitely available that do not contain any of the harmful ingredients that have been mentioned. Read all labels!

Editor’s Note: In the next issue of “ The Intuitive Times” we will include Part 2 of this article which is “A Glossary of Chemicals & Synthetics to Avoid in Personal Care Products.” The author of the article, Klaus Ferlow is President of Ferlow Brothers


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