By Kamila Fiore, ARNP, NP-C
I’m a firm believer that beautiful skin begins on the inside...but I still like to wear a little makeup. And, even though I try to look for natural products, I usually have to settle for something I’m not entirely comfortable with.
Have you noticed how many of the top brands of make up these days have ingredients in them that are considered toxic chemicals?
It makes sense that so many women—myself included—have switched to mineral makeup instead of the traditional stuff.
But, I have to warn you about something.
Just because it says “mineral” on your make up package doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin.
In fact, while you’re trying to cover up wrinkles or imperfections, the hidden chemicals in your makeup could be working against you. They may even be damaging your skin.
My name is Kamila Fiore and I’m the Nurse Practitioner for one of the world’s most prestigious anti-aging doctors, Dr. Al Sears, MD. Every day, I help patients here at Dr. Sears' Center for Health and Wellness make safer choices about what goes into their bodies and onto their skin.
The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I’ve helped the women I work with to feel good on the inside and look their best on the outside. So when I did some digging to find out what was really in some of those “mineral” foundations, I couldn’t believe what I saw...
How to tell if you’re using a mineral makeup impostor
Thanks to infomercials and the Internet, you’ve probably already heard how mineral makeup can be a healthier choice for your skin. But, that’s only true if you’re using the real thing.
“Mineral” has become a buzzword...and a lot of brands out there are trying to jump on the bandwagon. But some hardly contain any healthy minerals at all. And many contain dangerous additives that can irritate your skin and clog your pores.
They can even make you look older!
Take a look at just a few of the toxins I found in popular “mineral” foundations:
• Parabens. Used as preservatives, parabens are nothing but toxins that can disrupt your hormones. I switched to mineral makeup to avoid them...so I was shocked to see them on the labels of so many “mineral” formulas. You’ll see them listed as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
• Bismuth oxychloride. This ingredient is not found in nature. It’s made by combining water, chloride (from chlorine) and a by-product of lead smelting. Lots of brands use it as a filler. When it gets warm on your skin, it can cause itching and irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin and rosacea.
• Talc. One study showed that inhaling talc can irritate the lungs and lead to breathing problems. That’s reason enough for me to avoid mineral powders with talc.
• Dimethicone. In some women, this silicone compound can cause a mild rash or tingling sensation...and even irritate acne-prone skin.
• Micronized minerals. Some mineral makeup is made with very small particles—or even nanoparticles. These microscopic particles are more likely to be absorbed right into the skin, instead of remaining on the surface. There’s growing concern that this could be hazardous. These smaller particles also have a way of settling into fine lines, which magnifies the look of wrinkles.
• Chemical coatings. Here’s where it gets even trickier. Some brands start out with great mineral ingredients...but then they coat them in chemicals as a preservative! And the law doesn’t require this to be listed on the label.
This shocking problem has been making headlines this month. You may have read that the FDA found lead in 400 brands of lipstick. Another Canadian study tested 49 common makeup products. Each one had at least one heavy metal – including cadmium, arsenic, lead and nickel.
It’s pretty uncomfortable, the idea of covering your face in toxins that aren’t good for you...especially since many of us wear makeup for 12 to 16 hours every day.
And, when you think about how much effort you’ve put into finding just the right cleansers and creams...why should you have to ruin all that hard work by using a makeup loaded with toxins?
And, is it possible to make a good make up with natural ingredients that actually make our skin healthier as we are wearing it?
With this questions in mind, Dr. Sears and I set out to try to create a new mineral makeup that was not only natural, but also had the ability to heal the skin and fight visible signs of aging: We wanted to find out whether we could still get the same kind of coverage and results as traditional makeup…using only natural ingredients. And this is what we found out…
Creating a Mineral Makeup
That Lives Up to Its Name
After much investigation, our team discovered that is possible to create a chemical-free mineral foundation with about five ingredients.
That’s all you really need.
The minerals have a long shelf life, so if you keep your makeup dry, there’s no reason at all to add preservatives.
Our next step was to what ingredients we could add that contained skin-rejuvenating antioxidants.
Here are the top age-defying nutrients that can improve the youthful appearance of your complexion…look for them in the ingredients next time you buy make up.
• CoQ10, to help your skin look younger and keep your complexion radiant. It rejuvenates your skin all the way down at the cellular level.
• Resveratrol, a supercharged form of red wine extract known for zapping wrinkles and making your skin look younger.
• Allantoin, a natural, skin-soothing moisturizer that’s great for sensitive skin.
• Pomegranate seed, a potent antioxidant extract with 95% ellegic acid, to protect your delicate skin cells from free radical damage.
• Licorice root, which is very soothing for troubled skin, and used for itching and redness.
• Acerola extract, also known as West Indian cherry, is one of the most potent sources of vitamin C—a healing antioxidant that’s important for healthy skin.
• Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, to condition the skin. It’s particularly good for reducing the signs of acne scars and wrinkles.
• Zinc oxide, a natural healing compound with antimicrobial properties. Plus it’s a chemical-free sunscreen. It’s so gentle that it’s used in creams for babies.
• Honey powder is naturally antibacterial—just one more reason we don’t need artificial preservatives!
When we were done we called our creation Pure Essentials.
At first the women in our office were skeptical about trying it. Some of them had been wearing traditional liquid foundation for more than a decade and just didn’t believe a mineral powder could work as well.
But then we started testing it. The first thing we noticed was the creamier texture. The different mix of ingredients made the foundation smoother—so it would glide right onto the skin. No emulsifiers or chemicals needed!
Here are my own before and after photos. I was impressed with how light our natural foundation felt on my skin.
Take a look at the beautiful, even coverage on A.L.’s severe rosacea.
After a few days we started hearing raving reviews. My coworker J.S. got great results. She came in after using the makeup and said: “I hardly feel like I’m wearing makeup at all. My mom even said ‘You look made up, but you don’t look like you’re wearing makeup!’”
K.B. came bursting into my office to tell me, “I put it on in the morning and when I get home from work, I still look as fresh as I did when I left! Plus my excess oil is gone.”
My favorite success story is from my friend A.L., who has severe rosacea and very sensitive skin. Take a look at the before and after photos she bravely shared with us.
I like the idea of giving my skin extra nourishment and protection every time I apply my makeup…instead of worrying about what else is in it.
I’m glad we were able to prove that you can get the same flawless results as traditional makeup without sacrificing your skin!
About the Author
Kamila Fiore is the resident Nurse Practitioner at the Sears’ Center for Health and Wellness in Royal Palm Beach, Fla. Kamila is passionate about taking a natural approach to healthcare. She believes it’s a vital necessity in this day and age – a time when our health is being jeopardized by the chemicals, toxins and processes that are incorporated in almost everything we consume, touch or breathe. She earned her Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Florida and became state-licensed and board-certified in 2007. Her professional experience includes Aesthetics, Internal Medicine/Geriatrics and Anti-Aging. Kamila educates her patients on health promotion and disease prevention.