By Pam Archer

Beauty is skin deep.”  I’ve heard this all of my life.  It refers to the appearance of beauty, but alludes to true beauty lying beneath the surface.   Humans have an innate desire to be beautiful.  If you don’t believe me, tune in to cable TV and you will find entire programs devoted to makeovers, extreme makeovers, nips and tucks, and plastic surgery on every conceivable body part or feature.

I don’t begrudge anyone who can afford the luxury of erasing the lines of time.  I would be the first in line for a tune-up, if I had the means by which to indulge.  I was reminded of this last week when I borrowed an inverter from a friend, to relieve a back issue.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this contraption, it is a stretcher type of thing on which you strap yourself.  It will turn you upside down in varying degrees.   Its purpose is to lengthen the spine, allowing decompression of the vertebra.  If you have nerves caught between the discs, it will most likely free them, providing you with pain relief.  I stretched out on the platform and with one flip of my body everything was where it should be.  My abdomen was flat and my breasts were up where they belong.  If only I could learn to walk around on my hands, I would look twenty years younger.

Cosmetics improve our appearance, that’s for sure.  Hair care products, eye solutions for contact wearers, nail polish, perfumes, deodorants, body lotions, and various and sundry body products all work together for the common good of making us look our best.  But, is the beauty going deeper than the surface of the skin?  Honestly, I hadn’t really thought much about it until recently.  Little did I know there are multiple organizations involved in research and are proactive in demanding FDA regulation of all of these products.

The concern is for the chemicals that are in them, which are being absorbed into the body and are purely toxic.  One of the main chemicals is called phthalates (pronounced pha-lates).  According to the Toxic Free Legacy Coalition,, these phthalates are used as additives in our cosmetics, perfumes, plastic toys, and automotive products.  The mere fact they are using the same chemical in automotive products that they are using in my face products, revs my motor.  Just so that you can check the labels, DEP, DBP, and DEHP, are the forms used in cosmetics, fragrances, and nail polish.

So what’s the big deal?  “Phthalates are endocrine disruptor chemicals.  Phthalates can impair reproduction and development, alter liver and kidney function, damage the heart and lungs, and affect blood clotting.  Boys are especially vulnerable to the effects of phthalates as they impair development of male reproductive organs.” according to the article on the web site.  They have also been linked to breast cancer and found in breast cancer tumors.

Phthalates, along with other chemicals are common in our personal care products.  They are making us sick!  These chemicals are causing birth defects in our unborn children!  Baby shampoos and lotions are loaded with these toxic chemicals.

So, what can we do about it?  Here are some suggestions from the Environmental Working Group:

Contact your state legislator to ask them to get toxics out of children’s products, including baby lotions and shampoos.

Join one of the organizations on our Working Group and get involved with their Safe Cosmetics activities.

Read the label before buying personal care products and avoid potentially harmful ingredients.

Support companies that have pledged to use non-toxic ingredients.

The Environmental Working Group can be found on-line at .  Here, you can also find a list of products, which are rated according to toxicity.  Basically, I was able to research the specific products that I use, and the effects of the chemicals on my body.  This site provides safer alternatives for us as well.  I strongly encourage you to check it out and become informed of the risks of using some personal care products.  Doing a Google search on “toxic cosmetics” will produce a vast array of information for us.  We need to become pro-active in assuring that we can lather up, smell good, and look good without worrying about polluting our bodies.
It appears that beauty may be skin deep, but what lies beneath can do us bodily harm.