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Why natural cosmetics are healthier for your microbiome

March 23rd, 2022  

As a qualified nurse, certified micronutrient advisor and cosmetician, Marina Prskalo helps you step by step to a better, holistic and naturally physiological skin care. In this guest article you will learn why natural cosmetics are not always natural cosmetics, why it is essential to pay attention to the ingredients of your skincare and why the gut also plays an essential role in your skin health.

Natural cosmetics are not always all natural

The demand for natural cosmetics is growing steadily. However, you should also take a closer look here, because not all natural cosmetics are the same. Often, non-physiological substances are used that can harm the skin’s ecosystem. The use of 100 % natural physiological skin care, on the other hand, has the potential to unite health in all its aspects (body, mind and soul) with genuine active ingredients, to supply the skin with the right nutrients and, moreover, to live in harmony with the environment.

The dark side of conventional cosmetics

Microplastics, petroleum products, mineral and paraffin oils are non-degradable substances that are mostly used in conventional cosmetic products. These non-physiological substances are produced unnaturally and artificially and cannot be metabolised by the skin’s microorganisms. The skin’s ecosystem is thrown out of balance.

The example of the banana peel and its plastic sticker

You probably know the little plastic stickers that are attached to bananas or other fruits and vegetables. But what actually happens to them when you throw the banana peel and its sticker into the organic waste bin after eating it? First, the microorganisms living in the organic waste bin start to metabolise the banana peel, for which they need a total of about 6 weeks. The plastic sticker, on the other hand, cannot do anything with the microorganisms; it remains. Thus, after six weeks, six months or even six years, the plastic sticker remains undecomposed in the organic waste bin and hinders the inhabitants of the bin in their metabolic processes. 

Something similar can be seen with the inhabitants of our skin microbiome:

Synthetic substances, which are contained in many cosmetic products, cannot interact optimally with the microorganisms on our skin. These substances often serve a specific purpose (abrasive, opacifier, shelf life & co) but do not show any positive effects on the metabolic processes of our skin.

A few facts in summary

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is clearly in favour of “doing without microplastics in cosmetic products and looking for solutions to reduce them in order to protect the environment”. According to the UBA, there should be a Europe-wide ban on the “use of microplastics in cosmetic products as defined in Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009″. Although the UBA explicitly recommends that “as few or as few as possible substances that are difficult to degrade” should be used in cosmetic products, other synthetic polymers are used in cosmetics in addition to microplastics (Umweltbundesamt, 2021).

 Parabens are hormonally active substances that are often used as preservatives to prevent germination and extend shelf life (Bayrisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit, 2011).

 The dermal application of cosmetic products can lead to parabens being absorbed through the skin and entering the bloodstream (Janjua, Fredericksen, Skakkebaek, Wulf & Andersson, 2008). Due to their comparable chemical structure, parabens, like endogenous hormones, can influence the sensitive hormone balance, especially of women (Bayrisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit, 2011).

 Since 2015, the EU Commission has banned the use of propylparaben and butylparaben in non-wash-off cosmetics for children under three years of age due to their potential endocrine activity (Commission Regulation EU No. 358/2014).

 According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), mineral oil hydrocarbon atoms (MHCs), in particular aromatic MHCs, are suspected of being genotoxic carcinogens (damage to DNA, damage to genetic cell material, carcinogenic) (European Food Safety Autonomy, 2014).

Naturally physiological intestinal and skin care:

Our body needs essential and non-essential fatty acids, both from the inside and the outside. Essential fatty acids (i.e. polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega 3) cannot be produced by the body itself and must be ingested with food. They ensure that our cells remain elastic and that the processes in the body run smoothly. They support regeneration, the production of hormones, cell renewal, the formation of membranes and the immune system. When buying fatty vegetable oils, one should always make sure that they are cold-pressed and of native origin and, above all, unrefined. Refined oils increase the yield – but are bound with the help of solvents (mostly hexane). In order to separate the harmful hexane from the oil, it has to be degummed, heated, deacidified, deodorised, bleached and/or finely filtered. This means that all valuable plant substances (such as fat-soluble vitamins, phytosterols, carotenoids, antioxidants, etc.) have to leave the valuable fatty oil.

If we take a look at the cosmetics industry, we can see that skin care in the broadest sense is based on dead substances such as mineral oils or paraffins:

Vegetable fats and oils

  • Numerous plant-based substances
  • Contain active ingredients
  • Body can break down and metabolise fatty acids + glycerine
  • Are absorbed by the skin = deep action
  • Are recognised by the skin’s microorganisms
  • Metabolically active
  • Nourish the skin microbiome
  • Promote the skin flora
  • Have an antimicrobial effect
  • Positively support skin functions
  • Support the functions of the skin barrier
  • Promote cell regeneration
  • Repair the horny layer barrier
  • Protect against environmental influences
  • Protect against UV rays

Mineral oil / paraffin

  • No plant-based ingredients
  • No active ingredients
  • Are not metabolised, are not degradable
  • Are only adsorbed = no deep action
  • Are foreign to the skin’s microorganisms.
  • Metabolic inertia
  • Damage the skin microbiome
  • Weaken the skin flora
  • Facilitate the colonisation of the skin
  • Do not support skin function
  • Do not support the functions of the skin barrier
  • Do not promote cell regeneration
  • Do not repair the horny layer barrier
  • Do not protect against environmental influences
  • Do not protect against UV rays

Fatty acids, as found in virgin and unrefined oils, should not be missing from healthy skin care. Applied externally, they strengthen and stabilise the cell membranes, build up the skin barrier and protect it at the same time. The high proportion of fatty substances allows for a good deep penetrating effect. Native oils also have a skin-replenishing and moisture-binding effect. Used internally, the fatty acids also take care of a healthy gut by promoting the diversity of the gut flora and basically serve as an important building block for our cells.

The gut-skin-axis

As a certified micronutrient counsellor and qualified beautician, I have been able to see the impact of macro and micronutrients in the diet and in relation to healthy skin flora. Especially the right omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, L-glutamine, vitamin E and prebiotics can positively support the skin and improve its appearance. Zinc supports wound healing processes and has a balancing effect on sebum production. I therefore like to use the myBioma microbiome analysis to assess the gut-skin axis.

“With every wrinkle on your face you are writing your personal life-story that lets you grow and age naturally.” – Marina Prskalo 

Who is Marina Prskalodiegesundheitsschwester?

During my five years of work as a health care nurse in an operative intensive care unit, I was already able to gain my first experiences in the field of skin care. During my training as a cosmetician and make-up artist, I was able to deepen my knowledge in the areas of skin and facial care. My work in an aesthetic practice finally led me to question conventional cosmetics. In the end, it was my further training in the field of aroma care that inspired me to combine my passion and my knowledge on the subject of natural cosmetics versus conventional cosmetics and to disseminate it. In this context, women’s health is especially close to my heart. Because in a world with models, Instagram & Co, an ideal of beauty is often suggested, which can be identified as being far removed from reality. Often, this false image leads to chasing after a beauty craze that seems to be endless, even with Botox, fillers and the like. Because human nature is and remains ageing – and every single wrinkle ultimately writes a story – a story that allows us humans to grow, develop and age naturally.

“With every wrinkle on your face you are writing your personal life-story that lets you grow and age naturally.” – Marina Prskalo 

My health-promoting consultation is primarily oriented towards women and men who would like to dedicate themselves holistically to the topic of “naturally physiological skin care”. In doing so, I combine my knowledge as a health care and nursing professional with my additional training in complementary care – aroma care according to § 64 of the GuKG. My experience as a qualified beautician/visceral practitioner and certified micronutrient consultant is incorporated into the skin analysis and consultation. If you are interested, please contact me by email at info@fyrb-essentials.com or directly at +436643915494 – you can also find me on Instagram at fyrb.essentials.

References

Bayrisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelrecht (2011)

European Food Safety Authority (2014)

European Food Safety Authority (2012)

Janjua N., Fredericksen H., Skakkebaek N., Wulf H. & Andersson A. (2008): Urinary excretion of phthalates and paraben after repeated whole-body topical application in humans. In: Int J Androl 2008; 31: 118-30 

Umweltbundesamt (2021)

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