We have never been more spilt for choice when it comes to the beauty products we put on our skin, but how much thought have you given to the effect these could be having on your health?
Harley Street resident, Kim Pearson, has highlighted three ways that your beauty habits might be having a harmful impact on your overall health, and how to counteract the effects.
• Chemical nasties: Unlike the food industry, regulations around what goes into cosmetics are not as strict. Many products we apply on our skin are absorbed into the body, so it’s important to be aware of the impact. Luckily, there are many natural brands using ingredients of plant-based origin. Often, these are not only better for health, but the environment too. Check the chemical safety scores of your cosmetics on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) cosmetics database, opt for natural and organic products and scrutinise ingredients lists just as you would with foods. Take a ‘beauty from the inside out’ approach by focussing on a balanced, healthy diet, plenty of water and supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies, if needed.
• Sunscreen: We are told that when spending time in the sun, we need to protect our skin from harmful rays with sunscreen. But this protective action has a negative impact, inhibiting vitamin D production from the sun’s UVB rays. Exposure to UVB rays provides more than 90 per cent of our vitamin D production but wearing a sunscreen with an SPF as low as eight reduces the skin’s production of vitamin D by an incredible 95 per cent. Many foundations and tinted moisturisers include an SPF, and fake tan can have a similar effect, with the DHA contained in tanning products and professional spray tan solutions leading to the prevention of UVB absorption. Kim’s solution is to take 10-15 minutes in the sunshine without sunscreen, exposing either the arms or legs (avoiding midday sun when the rays are at their most intense) and top up vitamin D levels with a supplement. An oral spray, absorbed through the lining inside your mouth, is ideal, such as BetterYou’s DLux3000 Daily Oral Spray.
• Gel manicures: Light lamps used in gel manicures utilise UVA rays to ‘cure’ the polish. These are the same rays used on tanning beds, and while exposure is short and the area of skin exposed small, risks are still present. Keep gel manicures to a once-in-a-while treat and strengthen nails naturally by including enough protein in your diet. Brittle and flaking nails are a sign that you may not be getting enough protein so if this sounds like you, look at ways of introducing more high-quality protein into your diet. If you are vegetarian or vegan, or you struggle to get enough protein into your diet for other reasons, a good quality plant-based protein shake can be an easy way to do this.