Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kiehl's Promotion to Help the Planet

Pure, organic personal care products cost more to manufacture, take more ingenuity to get the texture right, etc., and are, not surprisingly, more expensive than your run-of-the-mill drugstore lotion. However, the converse is not necessarily true: paying a wad does not necessarily mean you will be shielded from icky, untested chemicals. For instance, check out some labels of tres cher department store cosmetics (even the so-called "natural" or "botanical" ones) and look for "propylene glycol," which is touted as a humectant. Then go into your garage and check out some labels: does "industrial antifreeze" and "brake and hydraulic fluid" smell as sweet? This chemical denatures proteins to keep your car parts flowing along, same thing it does to your skin and hair.

FertilityBitch puts Kiehl's in the tres cher, trop de chemicals category and thus does not recommend their products. I am aware that celebrities love their stuff, which comes in cool retro packaging, and a friend swears by their Blue Astringent Blemish lotion. I therefore did go to the cute Kiehl's store in NYC and purchased a bottle of the above lotion (plus they give even cuter free samples if you ask), in order to squint hard at the label and know whereof I speak.

That nice antifreeze blue in "Blue Astringent Blemish Herbal Lotion," for example, comes from "CL 42090 Blue," a.k.a. FD&C Blue Number1--a known carcinogen that comes with the additional anxiety of a "data gap," i.e., few long term studies of what this stuff does to you over time.

And how does this blemish lotion fight blemishes? Well, back in Hibbing, my brother used to rub antiperspirant on his face to get rid of zits, and this would sometimes work temporarily, but it left the rest of the skin looking rather beseiged. And yup, here indeed the active ingredient is aluminum chlorhydrate. If you insist on setting yourself up for a nice case of Alzheimer's (where you won't remember having zits, anyway), you can achieve the same effect much more cheaply by getting some Speed Stick or something at Wal-Mart. There are many more fun chemicals in this stuff, but to make my point, I will end by carping on paraben, a xenoestrogen linked to breast cancer and fertility problems and it unfortunately is in most cosmetics, so this is not a problem specific to Kiehl's, but you will notice on the website, that they highlight the explanation of a few "select" ingredients, but none of these really interesting ones.

For hardcore clinically curious types, I found this on Medline (from back in bell-bottomy 1978--geez!--in the Journal of Environmental Pathol Toxicol) about aluminum chlorhydrate causing immune activation (i.e., inflammation) in rats and guinea pigs: "The lungs of all rats and guinea pigs exposed to either 2.5 or 25 mg/m3 of ACH contained exposure-related granulomatous reactions characterized by giant vacuoled macrophages containing basophilic material in association with eosinophilic cellular debris." Eosinophils are big-time inflammatory markers. For more punishment:

Personally, if you are healthy and balanced, your skin should not be popping out in zits like dandelions in spring, but I think I'd remedy them first with some serious stress reduction, a squeeze of fresh, organic lemon juice, or Juice Beauty's organic Blemish Clearing Serum, which is a bunch of organic herbs and fruit extracts that feels (and smells heavenly!) like squishing a fruit smoothie onto your face.

But let me give credit where credit is due. While FertilityBitch does not recommend Kiehl's products for your health, wealth (they are very $$$$), or fertility, if you like their products, I'm happy for you, and I do want to commend them with three earths for donating part of their profits for the Greenland Initiative.:


Anonymous said...

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GreenFertility said...

Thank you for the support. I am very annoyed when an icky chemical company puts two drops of organic lavender oil in something and touts the product as good for you. I always wished there was someone out there doing the research to separate the good from the bad...well, I decided I had to do it myself :)

Anonymous said...

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GreenFertility said...

Thanks for taking the time to read...I am honored if not flattered!