When my mother had been newly diagnosed with cancer, we ordered her the best body lotion available from the neighbor lady who sold cosmetics door-to-door. It seemed logical to go with a product that sounded soothing. Little did we know that many popular skin care products ironically contain ingredients now known to possibly cause cancer.
Makeup artist Britta Aragon thought she knew skin care products so well that she could buy the best available for her dad when he was fighting cancer. She knew the side effects of cancer treatments could include damage to skin; and she was disappointed when a cream she thought could soothe his skin actually caused irritation. “That was the first time I thought to turn around the product and read the label,” Aragon shared, “I was shocked to find out that the products I was using had ingredients in them that were potentially carcinogens.”
Aragon had survived Hodgkin’s disease herself as a teenager. As a cancer-free adult, she supported her father during his long struggle with cancer before he eventually died. This skin care professional eventually found her purpose in designing skin care products that she wished her own father could have used.
I met Aragon recently, along with several other thoughtful women, during the first-ever Body & Soul Talk from Women’s Voices for The Earth. WVE aims to educate women through the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics so we can read the labels and make better consumer choices.
Aragon suggests this easy step toward detoxing our bodies from the hundreds of ingredients most of us use every day. “You want to start by using fewer products.” She says we can start replacing just one product at a time from our cosmetic drawer as we run out, not trying to make changes all at once. And she advises reading labels, looking far beyond product claims like “natural,” because there is little to no government oversight for long-term safety of cosmetic ingredients.
When it comes to the most serious ingredients of concern, Aragon says we should look for these on the product labels and avoid them whenever possible:
*Chemical Sunscreens, Micronized and Nanoparticles in Sunscreens
Aragon’s new skin care line, called CV Skinlabs, offers a transparently sourced, rigorously tested, gentle line of lotions and other skincare products designed to soothe the skin of even cancer patients. The product site and companion Cinco Vidas website include detailed ingredient definitions, safety information and lifestyle tips. Aragon also shares from both personal experience and professional sources about coping with cancer through her book When Cancer Hits.