One rainy afternoon in the autumn of 2013 I went to pick up my daughter from the daycare. At that time she was one-and-a-half years old. Her diaper needed to be changed and while doing that I noticed a small blue jar at the changing table stating with big letters “100% PURE PETROLEUM JELLY”. Pure petroleum jelly… petroleum jelly…. petroleum… My brain was intrigued by these words which were echoing in my head. This small blue jar was a well-known brand which you can easily buy anywhere in the Netherlands (and the rest of the world) for just a few euros. Many people use it daily. It is a must-have for every baby too. It was also on the list I got from my maternity nurse with things I had to buy when my daughter was born. But wait a second! Petroleum is what they make fuel for the cars from. It just didn’t sound right to put 100% pure petroleum jelly on somebody so small and delicate like my child. Or anybody’s child, as a matter of fact.
My curiosity was ignited. My engineer mind needed answers.
When I got home I started looking up more information about petroleum jelly. It turned out that petroleum jelly was indeed a petroleum by-product. It has been used for more than 100 years. But was it safe?
Though considered generally safe, what petroleum jelly essentially does is to wrap your skin like plastic foil, not allowing it to breathe and preventing cells regeneration.
I was shocked that something like petroleum jelly was approved for use on babies! I immediately checked the products I used for my daughter, every single one of them. The majority contained mineral oil, paraffin or petrolatum. Different names for petroleum jelly. Then I checked my products, these of my husband too. It was everywhere!
Once I started reading the labels, I wanted to know more about the rest of the ingredients. The more I read, the dirtier it got. Fragrance, Paraben, PEG, SLS and many others impossible to write or pronounce.
The jar of petroleum jelly helped me realize that we are sold products made of ingredients which are potentially dangerous. We just don’t know that yet because there isn’t enough data on how those ingredients affect our health or what happens when they react with each other IN our body. More and more researches show evidence that the synthetic ingredients in our beauty products cause cancer, low sperm count, birth defects, early puberty among children to name just a few.
I’m often asked why we should use organic cosmetics and the story above is my answer. I could say that your skin is your largest organ. I could tell you that up to 60% of what you put on our skin gets absorbed and goes straight into your bloodstream. I could write about toxicity, cancer and animal testing too. But those are the statistics and figures which are distant and even boring. They might get you to try a few products and then you’d go back to your favorite non-natural brands. Just like with diets and working out. If you do it for the wrong reasons – because somebody tells you to or because it’s trendy, it won’t work. If you feel it with your heart, it will be part of you forever.One of the most important things I learned as a parent is that there are no good or wrong decisions as long as you’re comfortable with the consequences of it. I sure wasn’t untroubled about the risks of what I had been using on myself or my baby girl.
Promise me one thing – be curious. Next time you reach for a shampoo or mascara – read the labels. Skip the beautiful sales words about the miracles it does for you and head straight to the ingredients list. Do you feel comfortable with what you read?
the eco chic beauty paradise