By Klaus Ferlow HMH, HA
By Klaus Ferlow HMH, HA
By Klaus Ferlow

Everyone hopes to have a perfect body, but unfortunately no matter what we do, our bodies never seems to be perfect. Are the nose or breast too large or too small? Is the skin too dry or too oily? The problems are never ending. That’s why plastic surgeons can’t keep up with the demand. Perhaps it is not the body, but the attitude which is the problem. It is human nature to never be satisfied: unconsciously, we keep wanting more and aiming higher. These feelings are not completely unhealthy, as long as they are not overpowering.

What’s in a jar or bottle?

In the past two decades, natural body care products including: certified organic, organic, wildcrafted, and toxin free items, have changed the way consumers look for, and use cosmetics and personal care products. Today, customers are more savvy about products and more skeptical about the marketing claims. They read labels and know what to look for and what to avoid.

I remember 35 years ago, it would be difficult to find any personal care products without a long list of man-made chemicals in the laboratory on the label. Artificial colors, scents, parabens preservatives and a host of other dangerous, hazardous chemical ingredients were common. For years, the manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products used industrial waste by-products from the synthetic and chemical industry in their formulas. No one ever asked about the impact these poisonous ingredients had on your skin, your body and your health. Interesting enough on August 16, 2012 the multibillion manufacturer of personal care products Johnson & Johnson decided to phase out harmful chemicals are thought to cause cancer, birth defects, and even diabetes inclusive infamous formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in their baby shampoo. Here is a list of companies targeted by the campaign for safe cosmetics and force them also to remove toxic chemical ingredients in their products:

  • L’Oreal (Maybelline, Garnier, Kiehl’s, the Body Shop, Softsheen-Carson, Lancome
  • Procter & Gamble (CoverGirl, Pantene, Secret, Old Spice)
  • Estee Lauder (Clinique, MAC, Prescriptive, Aveda)
  • Avon
  • Unilever (Dove, Ponds, St. Ives, Axe
  • Gloria Vanderbilt
  • Elizabeth Arden
  • Beiersdorf
  • Henkel
  • DM
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Rossmann

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has also on their website known by consumers a much loved Skin Deep database.

Are you aware that as of today there are over 10,500 harmful toxic chemical ingredients used by large well known manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products and it seems they are getting away with it!!

So, to rise awareness, I began in 1998 to research the topic, and in early 1999 wrote an article “What is really in your beauty products?” which later was revised and published as “Cosmetics to die for” and finally “Hidden dangers lurking in your cosmetics and personal care products” listing 80 of the most dangerous, hazardous chemical ingredients which was a real shocking eye opener to consumers!

My premise was that already there were many chemicals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat etc., so why put additional toxic chemicals on your body? Whether using a cream, lotion, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash or make-up, chemicals are readily absorbed into the bloodstream and will damage the liver and kidneys, creating even more health problems. My recommendation to the consumers “read the labels carefully”, and if you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredients, don’t buy the products, it’s a chemical!

Anti-aging hyperbole

Be skeptical about label claims. Anti-aging products in particular are prone to hyperbole. At age twenty five, the oil glands of your body produce double amount of oil as in a 50-year old, and this continues to decrease with age. As skin loses its elasticity becoming thinner and dryer especially with the elderly who mostly don’t drink enough fluid wrinkles appear. The layer of fat that gives the skin its soft appearance in youth, begins to shrink and eventually does not regenerate. Also remember there are three ways people age:

Chronological aging:

This is impossible to stop, and most anti-aging wrinkle creams do not work but, you can buy into the illusion.

Environmental aging:

This happens at any age, so protecting the skin, especially from the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun and wind is recommended.

Lifestyle aging:

You are what you eat. Poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise, a general positive attitude towards life and laugh a lot since laughing is the best medicine will affect how you look and feel. Drinking enough chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals free water is very important since it flushes out toxins.

Words of Wisdom

Health is not everything but without health everything is nothing.- Dr. Bernard Jensen, DC, ND, PhD, Clinical Nutritionist.


Beauty to die for, Judy Vance, Universe 1999

Healthy Beauty, Samuel S. Epstein,, M.D., Ben Bell books 2009

Health risks in cosmetics, Nikolaus J. Smeh, Alliance Publishing 1995

Drop dead gorgeous, Kim Erickson, MaGraw-Hill 2002

Our toxic world, Doris J. Rapp, M.D., Environmental Research Foundation 2003

Dying to look good, Christine Farlow, Kiss for health publishing, 2005

100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, Dangers in every day foods, drugs, and cosmetics, Arthur Kallet & J.J. Schlink, first published January 12, 1933

Klaus Ferlow, Master Herbalist (HMH) & Herbal Advocate, (HA), author, innovator, lecturer, researcher, writer, founder of FERLOW BOTANICALS, Vancouver, B.C. and NEEM RESEARCH, Mission, B.C., member of the Health Action Network Society, Canadian Herbalist’s Association of BC., National Health Federation, International Herb Association, Plant Savers, Neem Foundation, Mumbai, India, co-author of the book “7 Steps to Dental Health.”, author of the book “Neem – Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity,”

This information is offered for its educational value and should not be used in the diagnoses, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease, please contact your health care provider.