The Beauty in Saving Your Skin and the Water Supply

I have sensitive skin and so a while ago I went to a dermatologist for some over the counter skin care cleanser and spot treatment cream. When the labels said the products might bleach clothes, not to mention some other unpleasant side effects,  I paused and thought “wait this might bleach my face towel and yet I want to put it on my skin”? What am I putting on and ultimately onto my body? Moreover, how will these products affect the environment when they are washed  down the drain?

This is not to say that before this realization I was completely naive about skin care products. A couple of years ago I heard about this website Skin Deep and have since been trying to green my cosmetics, skin care products, shampoo etc.

The problem is I have sensitive skin as I mentioned, which is also problem prone skin, and lots of soap free natural products just were not cutting it, hence the prescription from my doctor

But after my “A Ha!” moment with the bleaching cleanser and cream, I was truly committed to greening my skin care regimen without spending too much money! So I’ve been testing several products and have finally found some that really work for me

So twice a day I cleanse my face with Avalon Organics Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk. Twice a week I use dermae’s Microdermabrasion Scrub. These can both be found in gourmet grocery stores here as well as health food stores and of course you can also buy them online. What is really remarkable is that you can get these products for pretty much the same price you would any mainstream cleanser and scrub as these both retail for $11.95 and $32.59 respectively. I used to use similar products where the cleanser would cost $7-$15 and the scrub $30-50 so my budget on these items is relatively unchanged.  However, you are not paying for ingredients you really don’t want to be putting on your face. There are a ton of ingredients you want to avoid in skin care products but the ones I look for and try to avoid are phthalates, parabens and petroleum based products as these can be linked to birth defects, cancer, allergies and other nasties.

There are approximately 3,700 cosmetics companies in Canada, most of which were small and medium-sized ones, producing more than 20,000 kinds of cosmetic products. The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) is the leading Canadian trade association for the personal care products industry. CCTFA members, which represent 80-90% of the industry in Canada are at the forefront of a $7.5 billion (retail) industry in Canada.  This means Canadians spend about $9 billion (retail) on cosmetics.  These products are usually removed using water and that water ends up flowing freely down the drains in our sinks and enters the water supply.  Scary thought.

Have you tried greening your cosmetics? What products work for you?


31 thoughts on “The Beauty in Saving Your Skin and the Water Supply

  1. I too have sensible skin and I use very gentle cleaning with no artificial perfume and the shortest and naturalness list of ingredients possible. I change them once in a while so I can’t really name one of them, but I really take the time to read the ingredients. It is easy to notice if it’s natural or not.

      1. Yes, that’s basically the main reason, although I heard it was a false consumption. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I guess I’m enjoying it!! Or maybe I just did not find a perfect fit yet.

  2. My skin is very sensitive and it is almost impossible to find something that works for it. I tried A LOT of products, and learned one very important lesson – less is more. A simple moisturiser with a fewer ingredients might be more effective than one loaded with stuff we don’t know nothing about. Like bleach! LOL What a horror that would be! I am really careful with herbal and natural ingredients. They can be irritating too. If you found something that works for you, stick with it. :-)

    1. Aloysa, agreed that less is more, I’m also trying to apply that to the number of products I get-they can all be green but the more products, the more bottles, the more plastic being produced, etc. Anyways thats a new years resolution for me!

  3. I’ve been really big on using organic or facial cleansers that aren’t harsh on my skin. I used to use cetaphil but now I am wary of all the chemicals that it’s made out of.

    It’s really scary how the cosmetic industry is so unregulated…. all these things around us could be giving us cancer and we don’t even realize it.

    I saw on television the Brazilian Blowouts (have you heard of it?) It makes your hair super straight and volumnous, but it is SO BAD for your body. The FDA apparently have banned it but some die hard beauty enthusiasts are still trying to get that done for their hair.

    Some people ended up getting burns on their face and bruising because the chemicals used are so harsh.


  4. Great article.Thanks for including a link to my post.
    I too have really sensitive skin. One thing I find works great for taking makeup off and moisturizing is extra virgin olive oil. If you buy organic and naturally processed versions of it you can’t go wrong.

    1. the timing really worked out nicely-your post gave a lot of insight into particular ingredients…good to know about!
      for the olive oil-does the oil not add excess oil to your skin? do you use it as day moisturizer or at night or both? I must sayI am always intrigued by the make your own or easy kitchen ingredients you can use that actually work!

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  6. My skin gives me all sorts of headaches – super sensitive (many many products burn my face) eczema (which seems to recently have popped up on my face as well as body), insanely dry with occasional oiliness, and now with summer here, breakouts! Sometimes it seems impossible to treat all those issues. I wash twice a day – once with water only and once with a cleanser. This could be one of three depending on the day: organic Sukin gel wash, Cetaphil or simple aqeuous cream for eczema.

  7. My skin gives me a huge trouble just to keep the pores clean. I know that I should care more about the environment, but perhaps I’m more selfish when it comes to my own skin. Are there specific labels that the industry has adopted to help use as consumers make smarter and greener decisions?

  8. I have oil skin and need to wash three times a day. I also have those paper oil absorption products I keep in the purse that helps. I’ve used Kinerase which has a green product.

  9. I too have sensitive skin, but I don’t use any cosmetics. Having said that, we are trying to eliminate food dyes from our diet, and I was surprised to see how many toothpastes have dyes. I never thought about it. . .

    I would definitely not use the products that were recommended to you.

    1. Hi Melissa, hmmm food dyes, yes I would imagine that they would be in many things. Just out of curiosity why are you trying to rid your diet of them? I can’t imagine they are great for you but I admit I don’t know a whole lot about them.

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  11. I too have incredibly sensitive skin, along with exzema which brings its own problems. A little while ago I discovered a homemade oil cleanser and now I use it religiously – and it’s my moisturizer as well :) Basically it’s 1 part castor oil to 3 or 4 parts light oil – I use light olive oil.

    It gets all the makeup and grime off my face and just cuts right through waterproof mascara! And no harsh cleansers :)

    Here’s the website if you want to check it out http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/

  12. This may sound crazy but for the longest time all I could use was Dove for my face; everything else caused me to break out. I can only put Hypoallergenic products on my face, but even those are hit and miss. These days clinique stuff seems to help.

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  14. My rule is, never put things on your skin, that you couldn’t eat!

    For cleansing grains, a pinch of cornmeal does the trick. For dispensing, it can be kept in a sprinkle container, or in a jar or dish with a tiny spoon.

    Lather up with a vegetable based *bar soap, and then take up a pinch of the cornmeal. You can get it at the bulk section of the healthfood store. At this price, you can afford the non-GMO organic cornmeal.

    Post cleansing, a few drops of almond oil, like Spectrum brand, is great, because it’s not a greasy ‘oily oil’. You can transfer it from the to a pump or drip container of your choice. It may take a week to learn the perfect number of drops that your skin likes.

    Pure, healthful, econimical, sustainable, and most important, it works.

    *Bar soap means not trucking water, the main ingredient in liquid soaps, all over the country. For long life, keep the bar in a self draining dish, so it will stay dry and last a long time. The vegetable based soaps can be found in HFS and craft fairs, with NO packaging, and as if that wasn’t enough, you get to support your locals.

  15. Like most of you – I have extremely sensitive skin along with psoriasis and I break out itching with pimples for any little thing that gets on my skin on my body. My face however I am luckier than my body. Here’s how I do it for the face. I use NO cleansers except a once a week exfoliating with JASON apricot scrubble. I dont think is necessarily made for the face, but its good. I washing my face with warm water twice a day. And I use a Alba seaweed moisturizer on my face. Been doing this for 4 years now. No complaints. My thing is to find something for the body.

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