We spend much of our disposable incomes on products that may be doing us more harm than good. But invest your time and energy in a healthy body and your natural beauty will shine through

Every morning, millions of women reach for the shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser and make-up. Without giving it a second thought, they diligently spray, paint and powder, blissfully unaware that this daily ritual exposes them to more than 200 synthetic chemicals — and all that before breakfast.

Our skin is a carrier, not a barrier, and so this brew of chemical ingredients is absorbed into your body.

The cosmetics industry is one of the world’s most poorly regulated. Christine Hoza Farlow, in her book Dying To Look Good, quotes a study by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration in the US) from 1991 that found 65pc of the cosmetic products sampled contained cancer-causing contaminants.

Our bodies struggle to deal with the synthetic chemicals in these products, many of which do not have to be approved before they are sold. In addition, the products listed have names that are so hard to understand, that unless you have a science degree, you won’t know what they are. According to John Bailey, director of the FDA’s Office Of Cosmetics & Colours: “Consumers believe that, if it’s on the market, it can’t hurt,” and this belief is sometimes wrong.

Some of these disrupting chemicals in cosmetics can lower your immune system, cause imbalance of the hormones needed to drop weight and increase your risk of neurological and reproductive damage.

In her book Drop Dead Gorgeous, Kim Erickson quotes a study that found the use of talc tripled the risk of ovarian cancer.  So are your cosmetics still making you feel good?

As a society we have become obsessed with how we look on the outside without considering what’s happening to our bodies on the inside. You could compare it to the treatment of trees in your garden.

When the leaves on a tree turn brown we do not paint them green, thinking everything will be alright. If you thought like a botanist, you would look to the roots, to see if the tree is getting sufficient nutrition, hydration and sunlight.

Your body is not much different. If you want to look better on the outside you have to analyse your lifestyle and your nutrition. Good health will radiate through your skin. Looking good not only makes you more attractive to others but it also makes you feel good about yourself.

Advertisers know this and target your anxieties, using both fear and fantasy to make you believe you can erase the years to become an ideal, perfect man or woman.

They are banking on you looking for a quick fix. Your disposable income would be better spent investing in your health rather than continually looking for a band-aid. As time goes by, no band-aid will be big enough to cover up the cracks created by an unhealthy lifestyle.

Working in a fitness environment I witness too many women entering gyms with make-up on — some at 6am. Wearing make-up to the gym means that people won’t work as hard for fear of it running as soon as they start to sweat. Then they won’t like the way they look in the dreaded mirror.

This inhibits their workout and also stops the body releasing toxins through pores that are blocked up. These same make-up clad gym-goers often won’t bring a healthy, pre-cooked meal to work because they don’t have time!
Our priorities need to change if, as a society, we are to get healthier. Fat stores toxins. Never before have we been as obese or riddled with diseases caused by poor nutrition and these toxins.
The more body fat you have the more toxic you are and no amount of make-up can change this fact.
You need to make time for your health and prioritise the components of nutrition and exercise to achieve a healthy, glowing body.
The majority of the world’s most beautiful women have credited water and going to bed early with helping them keep their skin looking young. Exercise and a diet rich in proteins, vegetables and healthy fats and omega 3s (as found in avocados and nuts), will help you shed unwanted pounds and also release endorphins that make you feel good.
If you want to wear make-up, educate yourself first. Purchase a book that explains the ingredients and the risks in plain language. That way you will be aware and able to make an informed choice. Don’t trust terms such as ‘natural’, ‘botanical’ and ‘organic’ as there are few recognised standards. A cobra’s venom is ‘natural’ but I certainly won’t be queueing up for it.

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