"Even if conventional medicine tells you that your condition is incurable or that your only option is to live a life dependent on drugs with troublesome side effects, there is hope for improving or reversing your condition."
-Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O.
Here's why we use natural ingredients...
[Terra]cotta Paste products are 100% handmade and paraben, sulfate, and artificial and toxic anything free. We use real, all natural ingredients including some organic ingredients. Our goal is to provide products that will not harm our bodies or the Earth. The high standards we hold for our own lifestyle ensure the quality of the products we create.
Another goal as a business is to bring awareness to cheap, harmful ingredients that are used in conventional products vs. those that are truly natural and beneficial. This article will cover the good, the bad and the ugly - including the basics of what you need to know about what to put (and not to put) on your skin.
Use this article as a reference when shopping for new products, clearing out the old and even creating your own!
And why you should too...
The skin is our body's largest organ. While it provides protection to the elements, it still absorbs some of the toxins we are exposed to. Applying toxic chemicals to our skin can be worse than eating them. When something is consumed it travels through the kidneys and the liver where unwanted substances are eliminated, but when something is absorbed through the skin it is transported straight to the bloodstream. Worse yet, children's bodies absorb 40% - 50% more than adult's. That's why we base our products around safe, edible ingredients. If you wouldn't eat it, why should you feed it to your skin?
Most consumers don't give second thought to the safety of the products they use. If it looks good, smells good and has a convincing catch, they buy it. What many don't know is that the FDA does not actually regulate what goes into personal care products. If you make habit of reading the ingredients in the food you buy, make sure you're checking the ingredients before buying personal care products as well. If the ingredients aren't listed, pass it up. Companies that are proud of what goes into their products will be honest with their labeling.
So, how do you know what's safe and what isn't?
As a general rule of thumb, if the ingredient has letter abbreviations, numbers, is hard to pronounce it or it doesn't sound like a plant it's probably synthetic and possibly harmful. Take note of ingredients with these characteristics and do some quick research on what it is and whether or not they're safe or just avoid the product altogether.
Here are the benefits of just a few of our favourite ingredients used in [Terra]cotta Paste Products.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar has many topical and internal health benefits. It balances the pH of the skin and is a gentle exfoliant. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and build up which promotes new cell growth, eliminating dull skin and fading scars and age spots. ACV seals damaged hair strands, enhances natural highlights and creates naturally healthy, shiny hair. Apple Cider Vinegar is anti-fungal and antimicrobial. It is ideal for disinfecting acne prone skin and reducing inflammation. In addition to it's numerous internal health benefits, Apple Cider Vinegar is the ideal solution for acne, age spots, sunburn, warts and many other skin and hair conditions.
Coconut Oil: Like Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil has many health benefits if consumed or used topically. It is a rich moisturizer, helping to prevent premature aging by delaying the formation of wrinkles. Unlike Petroleum, Coconut Oil penetrates the skin deeply while still allowing it to breathe. Coconut Oil has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, skin soothing and sun protection properties. It is extremely beneficial for treatment of all skin conditions and as a tooth cleaner.
Coconut Oil can even prevent and, in some cases, reverse tooth decay. Internally, Coconut Oil improves blood cholesterol levels, reduces seizures and improves brain function in Alzheimer's patients.
Beeswax: Beeswax is an all natural wax that provides protection from the elements without suffocating the skin. It is also a skin softener with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-allergenic properties. Beeswax is rich in Vitamin A which is necessary for cell growth and regeneration.
Bentonite Clay: Bentonite Clay was used in ancient medicinal health practices to prevent and alleviate health issues. When used as a mask, it heals and draws toxins from skin. It is also a great internal detoxification ingredient. Bentonite clay is a deep pore cleanser and valuable ingredient, especially when dealing with acne.
Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel is a natural astringent great for regulating oil production, shrinking pores, and tightening and toning the skin. It can reduce inflammation in acne lesions as well as reduce puffiness in the eye area. Witch Hazel also helps treat varicose veins, Eczema and Psoriasis. In addition, it helps to heal bruises and sunburn, and even remove wrinkles!
Essential Oils: Essential Oils are distilled from leaves, bark, roots, flowers and other aromatic parts of a plant or tree. There are many different Essential Oils, each with it's own set of uses. Most are very beneficial for all skin and hair conditions. Some also have antibacterial or preservation properties. Essential oils are water soluble and are not oily to the touch, but mix well with carrier oils.
Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet Almond Oil is a light, but effective moisturizer with antibacterial properties. It is wonderful for everything from fighting wrinkles to moisturizing baby's delicate skin.
Jojoba Oil: Jojoba Oil is actually a wax, but is liquid at room temperature and is used like an oil in skin care formulations. Because it's chemical make-up is similar to our body's natural oils, it is well accepted by the skin as a natural moisturizer. Jojoba oil also helps to balance sebum production. This is beneficial for both dry and oily skin types.
Olive Oil: Olive Oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and may also help to protect against harmful UV rays. Olive Oil softens scar tissue, speeding up cell regeneration and new cell growth. It is a wonderful remedy for acne, scars, Eczema and stretch marks.
Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed Oil is a natural moisturizer that is easily absorbed by the skin. It has astringent properties which can help to tighten skin and shrink pores. It's antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for acne prone skin. Grapeseed Oil can also be used to lessen dark circles and wrinkles.
Raw Honey: Raw Honey is full of topical and internal health benefits. Raw Honey is very hydrating and has a healthy pH for use on the skin. It has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties which are very healing for cuts, burns and troubled skin. Raw Honey contains Gluconic Acid which brightens the complexion, evens out skin tone and lightens scars and age spots. Small amounts of Raw Honey can be consumed regularly to ward off serious illness. Raw Honey is also great for use as a natural preservative as it is the only food that never goes bad!
Rosewater: Rosewater has many of the same benefits as Witch Hazel. It balances the skin's pH and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and thread veins. It contains antioxidants which help to regenerate skin tissue. It also hydrates the skin and hair and calms skin and scalp irritations.
Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera's most commonly known benefit is it's ability to heal sunburns and scars. Aloe Vera is high in Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids and Fatty Acids. Aloe Vera also relieves pain and itching. Because of it's healing and anti-inflammatory properties, it is highly beneficial for healing acne and preventing scarring.
Shea Butter: Like Aloe Vera, Shea Butter is extremely healing. It is deeply moisturizing and rich in fatty acids. It also helps to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Shea Butter contains Vitamin A and E, and helps to fight damage from free radicals. Shea Butter is also a wonderful deep moisturizer for dry, damaged hair and won't clog the pores on the scalp.
Here is a brief list of some the many toxic ingredients used in conventional personal care and cleaning products and why they should be avoided:
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS): Sulfates are cheap, harsh foaming agents used in everything from car washes, engine degreasers and rug shampoos to facial cleansers, shampoos and toothpastes. They strip the skin and hair of natural oils that protect from the elements. Undiluted SLS can cause skin and eye irritation as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. SLS is naturally derived from coconuts, but is contaminated with a toxic byproduct (1,4 Dioxane) during the manufacturing process. Don't be fooled - just because something is "naturally derived" doesn't mean it's safe. The toxin 1,4 Dioxane is possibly carcinogenic to humans and may also cause negative effects in the kidneys, liver and central nervous system.
Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl): Parabens are preservatives used in skincare preparations (and even some foods) to prevent bacterial growth and to extend shelf life. Methylparaben applied to the skin may react with UVB rays causing increased aging and DNA damage. Though no direct links between cancer and parabens have been established, parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors. Other risks include paraben's ability to slightly mimic estrogen. Estrogen is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer and may contribute to early puberty in girls.
Petrolatum and Mineral Oil: Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly) is a substance formed during the oil drilling process. Manufacturers use it because it is extremely inexpensive and it can actually dry out your skin, forcing you to apply their product more often (Which equals more money in their pocket!). Petroleum Jelly coats the skin like plastic and clogs the pores. This interferes with your skin's natural moisturizing functions leading to dryness and chapping. It also prevents skin from being able to breathe and expel toxins. This, in turn, slows cell regeneration and promotes premature aging. Mineral Oil is another Petroleum product which is produced as a by-product during distillation to produce gasoline. It has all of the same effects as Petrolatum and yet is still used in almost all baby oils and countless other skin care products.
Synthetic Colours, Fragrances and Flavors: Synthetic colours come from coal tar and contain heavy metals including Arsenic and Lead which are carcinogenic and deposit toxins into the skin. Colours and dyes make products look pretty, but are completely unnecessary otherwise. These dyes are labeled as D&C Red 33 and FD&C Yellow 5, etc. Synthetic fragrances are labeled vaguely as "fragrance" and can contain hundreds of unknown toxins. The International Fragrance Association has finally listed the ingredients used in their fragrances on their website. The list consists of 3,163 ingredients. Some are natural, but most are not and many are carcinogenic. While only a small amount of fragrance is used in lotions and creams, perfumes are composed of only "fragrance", alcohol and water with a few other toxins and dyes mixed in. Synthetic flavors are also labeled vaguely as "natural flavors" or "artificial flavors". "Natural" flavors may sound nicer than artificial, but they are actually not any better. Just because something started out as a plant doesn't mean it ended as one. Similar to products claiming Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a "naturally derived" ingredient (because it comes from coconuts), natural flavors go through many chemical processes before they are used as well. What they end up as is far from natural.
Polyethylene Glycol(PEG): Polyethylene Glycol is used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. Naturally, this ingredient is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol (both natural), but in most applications it is a man-made version composed of synthetic chemicals instead. A potentially carcinogenic Petroleum ingredient, Polyethylene Glycol alters and reduces the skin's moisture levels. This increases signs of aging and susceptibility to bacteria.
Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl Peroxide is used in many acne products. It is a free radical generator that is potentially carcinogenic. It can be explosive in concentrated doses. Though there is no risk of explosion from the small doses used in skin care products, it can cause extreme eye and skin irritation and is toxic when inhaled.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Triethanolamine (TEA): These ingredients are used as foaming and emulsifying agents. They can cause allergic reactions, irritations, dryness of the skin and hair, and contact dermatitis. MEA, DEA and TEA can react with certain preservatives, when used in the same product, creating Nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as both
possible and known carcinogens.
Triclosan: Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide (and still is). It is used as a mold and bacteria inhibitor in everything from soap to mattresses and insulation. Triclosan, reacted with chlorine in tap water, can form chloroform, a probable human carcinogen. Low doses of Triclosan in animals have been shown to act as endocrine disruptors. Triclosan has also been shown to interfere with muscle contraction.
Amazed by all of the benefits natural ingredients have to offer and wondering why we ever stopped using them in the first place? We are too.
Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself and make better choices about what you're feeding your skin. Speaking of feeding, all of the natural ingredients listed in this booklet are edible, with the exception of a few Essential Oils. In fact, almost all of the ingredients used in [Terra]cotta Products are edible. What better way to know you're making the right choice on your journey to health and longevity than by sticking to ingredients we already know are safe?
Please share this information with a friend and help us change the world we live in, one small step at a time.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the information in this article, the ingredients we use, our products or anything else!
"Treatment originates outside you; healing comes from within."
- Andrew Weil, M.D.
The information and statements in this article are the opinions of [Terra]cotta Paste. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.