All-Natural Ingredients?

I recently bought a new bottle of my favourite moisturizer.  I like it because it is not tested on animals and it contains 100% natural ingredients.  I am not a certified tree-hugger, but I like the idea of not slathering myself in chemicals and artificial colours and scents.  And the vanilla fragrance is to die for!!
31 December 2011

I have been reading a lot about ingredients in skincare lately.  To make great products, it makes sense to do your research.  With my new-found knowledge, I pulled out my bottle of moisturizer and searched out the ingredient list.  After digging out a magnifying glass to read the teeny tiny words, I saw mineral oil, triethanolamine (pH adjuster), dimethicone (a skin lubricant and conditioner),  phenoxyethanol (a preservative) and fragrance.  Huh?  A bit of googling led me to discover that these ingredients are indeed natural (so is motor oil, but I don't really want to moisturize with it).  They are also toxic and known carcinogens.  Yes, they are poisonous and cancer-causing.  Exposure to these substances has been known to cause allergic reactions, organ system toxicity, irritation to skin, eyes and lungs, and immune system toxicity.  Even my beloved vanilla fragrance is a secret recipe of who-knows-what chemical, synthetic ingredients.  Yikes!  (Check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at to see for yourself).
Food guru Michael Pollan recommends that we “avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.”  Solid advice.  I think we should take this same logic and apply it to the products we smear on our bodies.  If we can't pronounce it, we shouldn't use it.  Indeed.