I often get asked why you should make the switch to all-natural products. And no matter what I say, there’s a number of arguments back like, “Are chemicals really that bad?” but what it boils down to is that you love your beauty products and don’t want to change them, even if they are bad for you!
Thing is, the natural beauty industry is only just getting started. There are now natural products which are better than their synthetic counterparts which were formulated over 50 years ago (old, bad for you ingredients), so you really have no excuse. Need more convincing? We spoke to Anthia Koullouros who has been a naturopath for 24 years and asked her why she makes her patients switch to all-natural beauty products (she also has the gorgeous organic tea and herb company, Ovvio Organics - try them and you won’t go back).
What’s so bad about synthetic beauty products?
I have a certified organic company because I have the belief that what you consume is no different to what you apply topically. It boils down to the cumulative effect of chemicals, so while companies can still say that one ingredient in one product might be fine on its own, it’s the cumulative effect of products we should be concerned about - chemicals are in everything: in makeup, cleaning products, personal care products and then of course chemicals in food. I think it’s important that we add up everything and look at it as a whole.
We know that certain beauty product ingredients can cause diseases like cancer because they are endocrine disruptors, they do things like mimic oestrogen and disrupt the balance in your body. If there’s an imbalance in oestrogen, there’s an imbalance in cortisol which increases stress, which can have an impact of a number of things including your weight. It sets off a whole host of things which can lead to bad health.
How do they cause ill health?
From the skin they enter the bloodstream and immediately spread throughout the body. They can do things like disrupt our gut biome and an imbalance in the gut biome means up to two thirds of your immunity could be disrupted. There’s a direct link from the gut biome to cognitive function which is essentially your concentration and alertness and it also make us feel good.
So the cumulative effects of chemicals can affect how we feel. It can influence weight gain. And some ingredients do immediate things, for example, I’m really sensitive and I know certain ingredients in perfumes instantly give me migraines. Some people get an immediate skin reaction like a rash or a comedogenic reaction which blocks pores. And then there’s the cumulative long term effect which could be chronic disease.
When I’m addressing gut issues, I make my clients go chemical free in their beauty products and household products - whether they’re seeing me for losing weight or for something like balancing hormones, the advice is to go chemical free. It’s a holistic approach, that’s the beauty of naturopathy. You’re looking at the underlying reasons for people feeling bad and cutting these chemicals out helps immensely over the years. People feel better, they feel clearer. I’ve seen this with thousands of patients.
What products do you use?
For skincare I use MV Organics and I love RMS makeup. I like Dr Organic deodorant as it’s one of the few natural deodorants that works. I use straight up Jojoba oil as an eye makeup remover.
What are the main ingredients to avoid?
Parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, paraffin, petrolatum (the products that make your skin feel really silky - that’s because you’ve got a coating of plastic on your skin. Not healthy). Formaldehyde (found in nail polish and a listed carcinogenic), PFC which is in eyeshadows, facial powders; phthalates which are in perfumes, shampoo, hairspray. Like BPA they’re linked to hormonal and developmental disruption. Propylene glycol found in toothpaste and mouthwashes.