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Formaldehyde, Babies & Your Face

Dear Yoga Student,

Your grandmother’s advice for skincare
products might have been something like

“If it’s not good enough for a baby, it’s not
good enough for me.”

Only problem now is that even baby products
have formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, and
sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

Maybe those chemicals aren’t that bad, but most
people would prefer to err on the side of caution.

So what do you do?

With skincare and beauty products, you do the
same as you do with food – you simplify. Less
ingredients, nothing mysterious, and ideally
nothing with a criminal record on file with the

With everything health, stay sane by taking
it slow. If you’re not in the mood to revamp
your shower and bathroom shelves just yet,
I totally understand.

But if you are, here’s a few things I try
to avoid

*PARABENS (preservative believed to be a

*SLS (foaming agent, most concerning in
toothpaste, believed to cause canker sores)

*21-LETTER WORDS (stuff you have no
idea what it is)

It’s easy to get crazy thinking about all the
things that cause cancer in the world, but
if you’re going to rub stuff on your face,
your skull, and your body…

… you have to admit it makes sense to make
sure it’s all good, all-natural stuff. Don’t you

Stay bendy,

Sun Warrior Protein

p.s. I’d love to hear your feedback or tips on
this “healthy skincare” issue. This is a new
area of research for me. Please comment below…

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  1. Lorraine wrote
    at 7:18 am - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,
    I couldn’t agree more with you. As an organic therapist it amazes me, we are not more diligent about what goes on our skin. Your skin DOES absorb the lotions and potions, so it makes sense to only use natural.

  2. Birgit Penzenstadler wrote
    at 7:20 am - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,

    good post, I agree.
    I’ve “simplified” my bathroom shelf a while ago and I (and my skin) like it a lot better now.
    My favorite: Instead of bodylotions I simply use roughly one spoon of pure olive oil or coconut oil (depending on what smell you prefer ;-) right after showering on the wet skin all over my body (on wet skin because that way you don’t get all oily skin but just the right amount of smoothness, it’s really baby skin).

    I’m still looking for the right solution for my hair though as I have very sensitive head skin that is a little overreactive. Ideas from you guys would be appreciated:)


  3. Sally wrote
    at 7:51 am - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi, Lucas; I use MooGoo brand skin wash and skin creams. I’m (gasp) not allergic to it. Please check out their wwebsite at
    I’m nothing to do with the company, by the way. I just like their stuff.

    Sally O

  4. gabe wrote
    at 8:00 am - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi, I’m gabe, I’m from Ecuador and I really appreciate your newsletters.
    Concerning skin care, a friend of mine who is dermatologist has always told me what he was taught in Med-school “if can’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin”.

    So he’s always advised me to use natural products instead. Aloe vera is one those substances that can work wonders on any almost any skin type. It’s the only known substance that can go through the 7 layers of skin and regenerate it from inside out. So I planted in my back yard a ” sabila” plant (that’s how it’s called here in Ec) and I use the pulp (the jelly-like core) on my skin every time I shave like an after-shave product, every week on my entire body to clean it, in juices (like milk shake, without milk) to clean my system, to improve my bowels’ movement and I no longer care what other benefits it might have that plant since it’s benefits are so well known, and yet to be discovered that I just keep on using it and enjoying the ride, so to speak. People do notice the effects on skin, they often ask me what do I do to keep it clean and moist, or how do I do to avoid after-shave irritation?
    I hope this helps you in your research on skin care.


  5. Joanne Constable wrote
    at 8:27 am - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Cured sesame oil is the best moisturiser in the world. Also, it comes in glass bottles so no plastic waste or toxicity in the oil. Weaning myself off hair products was the biggest challenge.

  6. Sharon Jones wrote
    at 9:05 am - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas…and staff,
    I wanted you to know how much the tidbits of info you send out are appreciated. You package it in such a way that it is simple and direct, not to mention fun and very useful. Not buried as if it is hidden treasure. You and all involved, and that is put in to what is done are an inspiration.

    Thank you

  7. Carol Taylor wrote
    at 12:16 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    I totally agree we need to avoid some of the chemicals found in cosmetics. About 3 years ago I went to a web site called skin deep and was shocked that a lot of the chemicals in makeup are carcinogens. I quit using products with paraben, laurel sulfate and etc. The list goes on an on. It opened my eyes. I no longer buy Mary Kay products. Also just because the label says natural it isn’t necessarily so.

  8. Lucas wrote
    at 12:35 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Thanks for your support Sharon!

  9. Lucas wrote
    at 12:35 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Thanks Gabe!

  10. Laila wrote
    at 1:00 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    I always enjoy your e-mails. They’re both encouraging and challenging, and always friendly. I have used a one-stop skin care product on face, body and hair for years: Unrefined jojoba oil. Chemically, jojoba is a waxy ester, not an oil, and as such it is the closest plant-based material to our own skin oil, sebum. I have curly hair if I treat it right. I recently discovered that I get better, softer and curlier results with jojoba than all those expensive hair gels. In the winter I make a heavier body butter by melting a little beeswax into the jojoba. I use this on skin, hands and feet. I notice that a good coat of oil on my feet, covered with socks before bedtime helps me sleep like a baby! It makes a good lip balm too. So simple!

  11. franca wrote
    at 1:19 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,
    I briefly checked the ingredients on some of Dr.Sears’ products, and noticed that he uses
    Grape seed oil, which is solvent extracted, unless otherwise stated. He also uses ‘Phenoxyethanol’ as a preservative.
    Here’s a write up on ‘Phenoxyethanol’:
    Natural Skin Care : The dangers of Phenoxyethanol

    Phenoxyethanol, glycol ether often derived from natural sources, is a popular antibacterial and preservative chemical, used by many so called natural and organic skin care brands. It is also used in many vaccines and bug repellants.

    A few beauty brands marketed as the greenest in the industry use phenoxyethanol as a preservative, suggesting that it is derived from grapefruit. Well, cocamide DEA is derived from coconut but this doesn’t make it any less toxic!

    Chemically known as ethylene glycol phenyl ether or ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, phenoxyethanol is an ethoxylated compound that may be contaminated with carcinogenic toxin 1,4-Dioxane.

    According to Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, phenoxyethanol affected brain and nervous system in animals at moderate doses. In 1990 Journal of the American College of Toxicology reported that phenoxyethanol also acts as an endocrine disruptor that also caused damage to bladder and acute pulmonary edema in animals. Early 1980s studies also suggest that phenoxyethanol can cause DNA mutations – again, only in animals, as it was not tested on humans.

    Phenoxyethanol is a scientifically proven irritant to human skin and eyes (Comparison of objective and sensory skin irritations of several cosmetic preservatives. Lee E, An S, Choi D, Moon S, Chang I. Contact Dermatitis. 2007 Mar;56(3):131-6.) and it is classified as irritant in European Union. Phenoxyethanol is also restricted for use in Japan.

    No matter what the studies say, phenoxyethanol is deemed perfectly safe for use in cosmetics in the U.S. and UK in concentrations of up to 1 percent. This means, a 200 ml bottle of shampoo contains a teaspoon of phenoxyethanol!

    Beware of ‘Grapefruit seed extract’ as well.
    Whole Foods Markets don’t allow products with Grapefruit seed extract, and Phenoxyethanol among other ingredients in their ‘Premium Status’ products.

    Thanks for reading.

  12. Brianna wrote
    at 1:31 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hey Guys! I started looking for alternatives (more natural ones) about 5 years ago. The best ones I’ve found so far are Jojoba oil (organic), which is closest to our own natural sebum, then olive or coconut oil (organic). Jojoba oil has essentially no scent, so you can add your own essential oils. A couple of my favorites are grapefruit (very citrus-y and refreshing) and lavender (so relaxing). I also like tea tree oil for acne/pimple problems, and it’s a great antiseptic for cuts and burns. Aloe vera right from the plant is amazing for the skin (I see that’s been mentioned- I second that for sure!). Neem and neroli are two other great little skin care herbs. Hope that helps!

  13. Mike wrote
    at 2:41 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Gooday! Born and raised in the bush. We only had apple cider vinegar and baking soda to clean my skin with and drink daily to alkalize. I have been using same all my life. Hair cleaning with BSoda and rinse with ACV. I am 60yrs old now and have no facial wrinkles, BSoda as soap, have all my own hair and teeth. Feel like a 21 yr old and my blood proves I have another 60 yrs to go…MG.

  14. graeme wrote
    at 4:35 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Organic coconut oil is possibly the safest and most natural item to benefit your skin

  15. Halina W. wrote
    at 6:20 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Sorry for delay. This matter doesn’t come easy, especially to me. Dear Lucas,
    I like very much to read Your e-mails.
    Thanks a lot.
    Halina Grażyna Wróbel

  16. Marta wrote
    at 6:38 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas!

    I feel the same way about skin care. I have always tried to look after my skin, making sure I stay out of harsh sunlight (I’m in Australia and far too pale to not pay attention), drinking plenty of water and making sure I eat the right way and I’ve finally found great natural skin care with an Australian company called Moo Goo. All the ingredients in their products I recognise and I agree with you that that is important.
    Good luck with your research!

  17. Diane wrote
    at 8:42 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    I just recently started my more natural journey and have been using a skin cleanser recipe from a TV show (I was traveling and watching during the day and have no idea who to give the credit to). A lady said it was her grandmother’s recipe – 3 ingredients: approx. 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use organic greek or strain organic plain) + 1/3 lemon (don’t make it too juicy) + approx. 1 Tbsp. sunflower oil (I couldn’t find it, so I’ve been using olive oil). I started using it 10 days before my daughter’s wedding and I could really tell the difference in my 56-year-old skin. Even my husband remarked at my baby soft smooth skin.
    I notice the difference if I get lazy and run out of it for more than 3-4 days, my skin misses being pampered. Saves a lot of $$$ too.

  18. Anja wrote
    at 11:32 pm - 19th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,

    I like the way how you manage to provide somewhat more depth in your emails than just riding along on a constant sales wave.

    Well, I live in Australia but also have strong connections to my home country which is Germany.

    I personally recommend products from…




    …if you prefer to indulge in readily made cosmetics etc.
    Lavera might still border a tiny bit on the edge of 21-letter-words but overall has a good philosophy and provides a natural range of products.

    If you want to address body care from a more zen-purist point of view…there are two great natural products that I use but I am not sure how accessable they are beyond Europe.

    Lava Erde (lava soil) from Logona (I am sure there are other suppliers also) which is great as body and hair wash.

    Heilerde (healing earth) from Luvos which you can use internally to cleanse and mineralise your body and externally for your skin as a face mask or for irritated areas.

    Okay, as to baby care products…I believe that babies normally (except for some conditions) do not need any specific care products at all and the invention of fancy baby brand baths, lotions, shampoos, soaps and potions ;-) are just part of our need for feel good entertainment and efficiency.
    If a baby has a healthy gut and gets the nutrients it needs to support its immune system the body copes perfectely well and so does the skin.

    We can nurture our skin a lot from within (flaxseed oil, coconut oil and good unprocessed foods) and very often a simple natural soap and/or soil/clay can cater for our need to run around superclean and fragrant :-).

  19. Deslie wrote
    at 5:43 am - 20th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,
    I look forward to your emails every day, they always have something in them to get me going. I especially liked the topic you mentioned today on skin care products and their harmful ingredients. This is a topic that lays close to my heart. I have been researching this subject since I became pregnant with my first child in 1997. i have been trying to find an endless supply of toxin free products since then and finally came across it 4 yrs ago. A friend introduced me to a company who has been elimating toxins from their products since 1989. they are still going strong and always updating their products in regards to ongoing research. This company is Neways International. Their website is listed above. You will be amazed at the lengths that Neways go to for all areas they are passionate in, from, their personal care products to skin care & sun care to home care to car care to nutritionals to dental care to cosmetics to hair care to weight manangement as well as their environmental commitment to reducing our eco footprint. Too much to mention in one message but worth a look. Please check out the websites for yours & your families health, and if you wish, you can contact me via Lucas (he has my email address) and i can give you more info, as well as help you to purchase these products if that’s what you choose to do.
    Thankyou Lucas and many wishes of Well Being to Everyone!
    Deslie :)

  20. Lucas wrote
    at 1:31 pm - 20th November 2010 Permalink

    @Franca – wow, thanks for the info! So you’re saying grape seed extract and grapefruit can be extracted with hexane or something similar?

  21. Lucas wrote
    at 1:32 pm - 20th November 2010 Permalink

    @Laila – thanks! Great ideas…

  22. franca wrote
    at 2:27 pm - 20th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas,
    You want the grape seed oil to be cold pressed. Most cosmetic brands use the solvent extracted (hydrogenated) method because it’s cost effective.
    Here’s a short write up:
    Grape seed oil
    Refined Grape seed oil is obtained from selected grape seed (Vitis Vinifera ) by solvent extraction. After that , crude oil is bleached and deodorized with vacuum and steam assuring a best value product with stable properties.
    It has an attractive yellow color, soft aroma and good taste.

    Here’s a long write up (I’m sorry) about Grapefruit seed extract:
    There are rumors all over the web that Grapefruit Seed Extract works as a natural preservative. Oh, we wish these were true. We even considered using it in our products. However, the sad truth is GSE is not an all natural preservative. GSE is no more natural than parabens. Grapefruit seed extract is not grapefruit juice. It is not simply ground up grapefruit seeds. It is not grapefruit essential oil. Chemical manufacturers take the leftover grapefruit pulp, a waste by-product from grapefruit juice production, and in an intensive, multi-step industrial chemical process, change the natural phenolic compounds into synthetic quaternary ammonium compounds (does this sound natural to you?). Typically, in chemical synthesis of this type, chemical reagents and catalysts are used under extreme high heat and pressure or vacuum. Synthetic ammonium chloride is one of the chemical catalysts used in this process. So, first all, Grapefruit Seed Extract is not “natural”. It’s a chemically altered form of grapefruit seed. If you’re going to call it Grapefruit Seed Extract, you could by the same reasoning call Sodium Laurel Sulfate Coconut Oil Extract. Secondly, studies done on GSE have found that while it may be mildly preserving, it appears to be due to trace contaminants, rather than the GSE itself. A handmade Grapefruit Seed Extract that was not tainted with other chemicals showed zero preservative qualities. Here is one report from the Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany:

    “The antimicrobial efficacy as well as the content of preservative agents of six commercially grapefruit seed extracts were examined. Five of the six extracts showed a high growth-inhibiting activity against the test germs. In all of the antimicrobial active grapefruit seed extracts, the preservative benzethonium chloride was detected by thin layer chromatography. Additionally, three extracts contained the preserving substances triclosan and methyl paraben. In only one of the grapefruit seed extracts tested no preservative agent was found. However, with this extract as well as with several self-made extracts from seed and juiceless pulp of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), no antimicrobial activity could be detected. Thus, it is concluded that the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within. Natural products with antimicrobial activity do not appear to be present.”

    I see that some people have offered natural, and/or organic skincare brands’ websites so here’s another one:
    ALL the ingredients are listed, and explained.
    Happy browsing, and thank you for your time.

  23. Victoria wrote
    at 4:47 pm - 20th November 2010 Permalink

    I have found a company in Canada that produces small batch skin care products from all natural and non toxic as close to raw ingredients as possible called Rocky Mountain Soap Company. I use their bar made for hair care instead of shampoo, and like it quite well. Their skin care products for the face are my preferred mode of skincare. They also have a foot butter that is wonderful for moisturizing and making the skin on your feet soft.

    I really enjoy the practical nature of your emails and the fact that you are not always pitching a product with hook in them.

  24. Dee wrote
    at 5:58 pm - 20th November 2010 Permalink

    Lucas, I had a friend tell me she knew an elderly woman who had beautiful skin, no facial blemishes whatsoever. She asked what she used to wash her face. The lady answered, “I’ve never used anything except hot water and a clean wash cloth. I wash my face morning and night with the hottest water I can stand without burning my hands.”
    I also personally know that if one has a pimple that has cropped up if you take the top off before going to bed and apply a dab of honey and cover with a small Band-Aid by morning when it’s time to wash your face, the pimple is healed.

  25. Zijafreak Bennett wrote
    at 1:53 am - 21st November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas I love getting all the info you send threw the emails,thks , and I’m so glad you are talking about skin,because I have found and use a REALLY good one called GenM from Zija, it has moringa in it, its amazing! you can actually read more about it at on the skin care tab, its all natural too my face for a 51 yr old looks really good at least that what people say, hehe thanks ,sandy

  26. Anne wrote
    at 4:52 am - 22nd November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas
    I have started using the Oil Cleansing Method, OCM, and my face hasn’t looked this clear and smooth in a very long while… I have Rosacea, which gives me a a reddish tint, spots and dry patches. But with OCM it clears immediately! I have tried switching back to other mild cleansers, but after 2 or 3 days I (and my husband, which is saying a lot!) notice how my skin again is red, uneven etc.

    I use a mixture of 20% castor oil and 80% coldpressed almond oil. Massage it onto/into the skin for a while, steam with a clean cloth, massage a bit more, steam again, and finally rubs it off with the cloth. A splash of cold water, some more almond oil as moisturiser and voila! Done.

    @ Birgit: Have you tried baking soda for your hair? Or conditioner-only (search for CO-wash or No Poo)


  27. Camilla wrote
    at 7:06 am - 22nd November 2010 Permalink

    I already have knowledge of this, being a Spa therapist, I know that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in to it, when you eat.
    Bring it on!

  28. Lucas wrote
    at 6:15 am - 23rd November 2010 Permalink

    @Anne – baking soda is great. Agreed!

  29. Elzina wrote
    at 2:08 am - 24th November 2010 Permalink

    Hi Lucas, thanks for the great newsletters!
    keep them coming!
    I use mostly organic virgin coconut oil for my face and body, or avocado oil. It is wonderful! My skin is really smooth. Also good to cook with it!