Recognizing Toxins in Skincare

Introduction

More and more in today’s society, we all have to be our own advocates to ensure that the products we are using on our bodies and in our homes are safe. Many of us have taken to reading every label and ingredient before buying. However, when something is purchased in a medical office, like a Medical Spa, many people just assume that because it is “medical” it is automatically safe and non-toxic. 

We have to remember that every skincare line, medical grade or not, is for profit and they often have non-medical or non-science based people on their boards making decisions on where to save money. Skincare ingredients are also highly unregulated as the FDA allows over 3,000 chemicals to be masked under the terms “fragrance” or “parfum” alone. 

We recently went through months of back and forth with various companies trying to get them to be transparent about exactly what chemicals and ingredients they use under the blanket terms “fragrance” or “parfum” and we were hit over and over with the non-answer that it was “proprietary information”.

In our opinion, people have the right to know what they are putting on their bodies that could harm their health. So we refuse to buy products with these ingredients. However, companies will only change their behavior if the consumer demands they do or they take a hit to their bottom line, because people ARE becoming more aware.

👇 This article is to shed light on the lack of transparency in “Medical Grade” Skincare and what you can do to protect yourself from toxic ingredients 👇 

Table of Contents

What's the easiest toxin to recognize in skincare?

The easiest toxin to recognize, and therefore avoid, in skincare is “fragrance/parfum”.  

Any ingredient labeled “fragrance” or “parfum” is a blanket term that represents OVER 3,000 toxins that do not have to be recorded or reported. Source link for statistic found HERE. These chemicals include toxins, endocrine distruptors (hormone distruptors), carcinogens, allergens and more! 

⭐️ Look, we are realistic and fully understand that sometimes “chemicals” are needed in certain products in order to create lather, increase absorption of an active ingredient, increase stability for shelf life, etc.. However, any scents (and the other hidden chemicals) are 100% not necessary! 

Why does it matter?

The skin is the largest organ in the body and is absorbing whatever we put on it. Smells (aka fumes) are also inhaled and can cause other symptoms such as headaches and breathing issues. the fumes we are inhaling also absorb through our nasal and lung mucosa and can act systemically throughout the body.

Not only is this unethical, in our opinion, but also harmful to our overall health if companies do not disclose exactly what is in a product we use every day! We understand companies have a right to their proprietary information, but no one can replicate their product without exact ingredients AND proportions. So…why not disclose the exact ingredients unless they have something to hide?

Are fragrances unnecessary in skincare products?

Yes, fragrances are completely unnecessary to have in skincare products. These toxins only provide a scent or smell to products, they do not actually give a purpose to the product formulation. As above, while there are some ingredients that may not be as “pure” in skincare, they may be needed in order to create a lather, sud, or provide a barrier for hydration. 

⭐️ Overall, fragrances or parfum are NOT needed for any functionality of the product…so why are they put in there?!

How are fragrances endocrine disruptors?

When toxic fragrances are inhaled or absorbed in the skin, they mimic our delicate endocrine system by interfering with healthy hormone functions as well as the release of hormones in our body. 

⭐️ Dr. Hanisha Patel states ” Environmental toxins are one of the leading causes of infertility in both men and women and if we are not actively minimizing our exposure then it is easy for our bodies to be overburdened leading to hormonal imbalances”. 

Below are additional medical sources that explain how toxic skincare ingredients can be harmful to our health/hormones:

Here is a short explanation, from Dr. Jolene Brighton Hormone Expert, as to why endocrine disruptors like fragrances and parfumes are toxic to our health/hormones. 

Another example from Dr. Mark Hyman about how toxins (fragrances) in our skincare are related to many hormone and health issues. 

Dr. Ben Lynch explains in this diagram how fragrances are considered chemicals to our bodies. They rank with some of the most dangerous chemicals.

What are common health-related symptoms fragrances cause?

A few, but not all symptoms that are common from toxic fragrances include the following: 

  • Unbalanced hormone levels 
  • Headache, nausea, brain fog, or just feeling “off” 
  • Thyroid complications
  • Negative impact on fertility (both men & women) and women’s cycles
  • Skin concerns: acne, dermatitis, eczema, rashes 
  • General allergic reaction

These symptoms arise from topical absorption of toxins in our bloodstream, as well as inhaling the fragrances. Many people may not notice any negative symptoms from products with fragrances right away, but the daily (or even twice daily) use of these products accumulate overtime, increasing our toxic load (more below), which then leads to the negative symptoms. 

⭐️ Disclaimer: Everyone is different and some people will be affected more that others, especially those with histamine intolerance or a “dirty” DAO gene (Read “Dirty Genes“).  

Does medical grade skincare have fragrance in it?

Yes, many “medical grade” skincare products have fragrance in them. However, this it not to say that ALL medical grade skincare has fragrance in it. That is why it is important as a consumer, to read ingredient labels before purchasing skincare (or any product). It is such a bummer that clients come to medical offices trusting that medical grade skincare is a better option for them, when in reality it can be filled with these unnecessary toxins.

⭐️ Overall, we expect medical grade skincare companies to do better, especially if they really care about client safety and treatment outcomes. 

Examples of a FEW medical-grade skincare products with fragrances:

Below you can see many popular medical grade skincare brands that have fragrance listed in their ingredient list. This was from a very LIGHT search for fragrances in commonly used and sold skincare in the aesthetic industry. We are not trying to bash any one brand, but simply want to shed light on how common these toxic ingredients are. That way you can learn to be your own advocate if your medical spa does not carry options without known fragrances or parfum in them. 

Again, fragrance and parfum are 100% non essential to the product working and only cause harm to ones health. 

⭐️ Each product listed below has the official ingredient list with a circle around “fragrance/parfum” listed. You can also view the product ingredient list with the source link provided. 

Is Clinical Perfect Neck Correct:

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Serum:

Obagi Professional C Serum 20%:

Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser:

Skin Medica Dermal Repair Cream:

Trying to get companies to disclose ingredients:

Topix Skincare:

In our office at Elite, we have carried a private label skincare line, Topix, for a few years now. Previously they really marketed themselves as “clean”, “hypoallergenic”, “fragrance free” and heavily researched. Unfortunately over the years we have received many products that contain fragrance when we were told they were fragrance free, or they now have fragrance in them when previously they did not. 

The sales reps were clearly naive to the dangers of the blanket terms “fragrance” and “parfum” and during our back and forth made several claims that ended up being false. Including that they only had 5 skus with fragrance and no parfum (they have both and there are over 15 now). They also claimed that none of their ingredients were toxic because they were prescription strength.

As someone with a license to prescribe, Ali-NP countered that many many prescriptions contain toxins and other unnecessary ingredients. Otherwise why would some prescription pills have bright artificial colors and why would creams contain fragrance and other additives and preservatives (see chart below for full source)?

Ali asked several times for the exact ingredients and was told over and over they would not tell her because it was “proprietary information”. 

 

⭐️ ⭐️ But, if none of their products are toxic, then why would they need to use the blanket ingredient label “fragrance”? This is just one example of how hard it is to get transparency in ingredients in skincare. 

Is prescription strength skincare non-toxic?

No, prescription strength skincare is not necessarily non-toxic. Just because a skincare product is prescription strength, does not mean it is non-toxic! There are many additives in prescription strength skincare that can be toxic to our health and hormones, too. Below are just a few examples of common additives in these types of products we get from Doctors and Dermatologists for our skin concerns 👇 

 Again, most of these additives are unnecessary ingredients needed for skincare products to do their job.

Link to read entire study  below. 

Please Do BETTER!

From a few of our personal encounters with this issue, it is known that these medical companies need to do better! Like mentioned earlier, we feel it is unethical to promote a product as “medical grade” or “clean” and then hide toxins under the terms “fragrance” and “parfum”. Consumers deserve to know what they are using on their skin, bottom line. The only way for change is to call these companies out and stop purchasing their products…it should not be a mystery for anyone. 

What are some non-toxic skincare options?

At Elite, we want to give a shout-out to skincare brands like Alastin Skincare and Dr. Alkatis Skincare who are transparent with their ingredient lists and avoid toxic fragrances. We will continue to carry and support skincare lines like this because they clearly state on their ingredient labels where the scent of the product is coming from.

  • For example: “Fragrance from orange oil” or “Orange essential oil” are not blanket terms for “fragrance” 👇 

Alastin TransFORM Body Cream:

Dr. Alkatis Organic Nourishing Oil:

Toxic Cup Example:

Above is an image demonstrating two different types of “toxic cups” that represent the toxic overload in our bodies. 

1. Many different lifestyle factors can create an over-flowing toxic cup such as:

  • Alcohol consumption, unfiltered/tap water, fast food, abundant stress, sugary caffeine drinks, not exercising, limited sleep, excessive news/consumption of media, dehydration, exposure to fragrances, toxic household supplies, etc.

2. Someone with a low toxic up usually finds themselves prioritizing their health in ways like:

  • Meditation, organic/balanced diet, hydration, managed stress levels, detoxification practices, adequate sleep, proper gut health, exercise, spending time outside, avoid toxic personal/hygiene products, etc.

When someone is exposing themselves to excess toxins every day, their toxic cup eventually overfills and negative health symptoms may arise. If a person with a full toxic cup comes in for an elective procedure such as  botox or fillers, negative side effects and adverse reactions are more likely to happen. Versus someone with a low toxic cup can handle a few “toxins” much better and safer (i.e. botox quarterly or lip filler yearly), because there are less toxins for their body to manage. 

⭐️ This is why it’s very important to go to a medical office with providers that asses each client before treating them AND take a holistic approach to injectables by offering cleaner options in the office for procedures like Xeomin and RHA

Why does this matter?

We bring this up  because we are seeing social media flooded with reels/posts similar to the one here. 

While we understand the humor in it, we also want to make a point that it is VERY important to live a healthy lifestyle for anyone doing elective procedures. It’s controversial but aesthetic treatments, or any elective treatments (think tattoos, hair chemical treatments, etc.), are less likely to cause problems for someone with a low “toxic cup” (see figure above). 

People that have a high toxic cup and don’t get any elective treatments also aren’t necessarily healthier either (in our humble opinion). Eating fast food, wearing tons of artificial fragrances and drinking tap water could very likely be more harmful to health overtime compared with getting injections quarterly or yearly. 

⭐️ There are also ways to have treatments that are cleaner/less toxic when you go to an office like Elite Medical & Aesthetics that prioritizes this!

Bottom Line:

  • What we put on our skin daily affects our hormones and our health
  • Just because something is labeled as “Medical Grade” or “Prescription Strength” does not make it non-toxic
  • Just because someone works for a skincare company doesn’t mean they know what is in their products or why (i.e. you can’t just trust what a sales rep tells you)
  • YOU have to advocate for yourself by reading ingredients and choosing safer products
  • It matters because your toxic load (toxic cup level) can greatly affect your overall health
  • Getting any elective procedure could increase stress or “toxic load” so it is important to live a healthy lifestyle 
  • Go to a medical provider that cares about overall health to keep toxic load down if you choose to have any elective treatment

Elite Medical & Aesthetics is a premier med spa located in Lone Tree, CO. Our staff of Nurse Practitioners provide a holistic approach for natural results with safety as a #1 priority.

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Talk to one of our providers

Reasons why people are triggered by you getting aesthetic treatments

Introduction:

FYI: This article may have some triggering content in it for those reading, but we feel it is important to share our take on this topic, as we are tired of seeing others being shamed for getting aesthetic treatments done. Especially when they are done in moderation with a natural result! 

For starters, we want to emphasize the fact that only people who are insecure with themselves will judge others for doing treatments, this is because:

⭐️ A really secure person does not actually care what other people do, so long as it is not hurting anyone else= if they’re triggered, it’s about THEM and not about YOU⭐️

While keeping that main point in mind, this article explains a few reasons why people tend to feel triggered by others getting aesthetic treatments done. 

Table of Contents

They believe they cannot have it for themselves

Oftentimes people who have to make rude comments or judge others for something, it is actually because they are upset that they cannot have it for themselves. AKA they are “hating” on you for getting a treatment done that they really want, too. 

So rather than digging deep and admitting they want something they can’t have, they try to bring you down to their level and make it sound bad or like they don’t even want it. 

There have been a few main reasons we see this issue arise from instances in our own practice👇 

1. Financial Reasons

At Elite, we have heard many times that people cannot afford certain treatments. And while we understand aesthetics can be expensive, we also believe that people can prioritize and budget what they want in life. 

Bottom line, if you truly cannot afford aesthetic treatments, that is absolutely understandable, but do not shame the people who can/choose to afford and budget for them! 

2. Society Expectations

It is such a shame that SO many celebrities lie about getting plastic surgery and aesthetic treatments done. This sets an unrealistic expectation for women that they need to look/age a certain way with all natural methods (or with their olive oil skincare line, haha).

We can understand how this may turn people sour towards the aesthetic industry, but trust us they all have work done and will continue to try and hide it instead of empowering women with truth!

3. Pleasing someone else

It can be frustrating trying to live up to someone else’s expectations as to how you should look. BUT you will never please everyone in your life, so it is important to let go of that expectation.

Instead, do aesthetic treatments because it feels empowering to you, not because someone else does or doesn’t want you to do them!

Their partner or family will judge them for it

Like mentioned earlier, you will NEVER please everyone in your life. It is also funny, because oftentimes partners/family members that are judgmental, ALSO expect their partners to look a certain way…can we say hypocritical?! 

Overall, people who get aesthetic treatments should do it because they feel empowered to and love the way it boosts their confidence. If you think about it, these treatments are just as comparable as people who alter the way they look through

  • Makeup (regular and permanent)
  • Hairstyles (especially perms or relaxers that are not reversible)
  • Clothing or high heels 
  • Fake nails 
  • Padded bras

Again, someone who is really secure with themselves does not care what other people do, so long as it is not negatively impacting them. Even more so, really secure people tend to support and congratulate people who do what they love because it can be viewed as a form of self care and self love (PS: those are the kinds of people you want in your life anyways 😘).

Overall, we are not trying to convince people to get any treatments done, we are just emphasizing to STOP shaming the people who do! 

We especially love this quote written by, Alex Pike, because it sums everything up in a few short words.

They think it is "unhealthy"

To put it simply, health is not that black and white. Many people claim that getting treatments such as Tox is just injecting a toxin into your body…and while this can be argued, consuming foods such as:

  • Processed foods
  • Inflammatory oils 
  • Refined sugar 
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial dyes and fragrances 

Are just as toxic for your health if, not worse. What people do not understand is that Tox injections only occur every 3-4 months in a very localized area. People consume and apply toxins on a daily basis that accumulate overtime to a very large amount. Everything in life is about balance, and one extreme over the other is not healthy either way, we are the first to say “NO” to people who are over-filled, or want aesthetic treatments for the wrong reasons. 

 

Hence our motto “Holistic approach, Natural results” 💜 

They are projecting their own experiences on you

If someone had a really bad experience with an aesthetic treatment or an injector, they might have the tendency to project that negativity onto you. Sure, that is only human to do (to a point) but it does not mean that all aesthetic treatments should be given that kind of reputation. That is why it is always important to do your research before going to an injector or a medical spa in general, to ensure your safety is number one, but that their morals align with yours and that their credentials/before and after work is legitimate!  

⭐️ It is also important to keep in mind that you never know someone’s intentions behind getting an aesthetic treatment done or the reasoning behind their decisions. Aesthetic treatments and surgeries can oftentimes change people’s depression or help heal past trauma that they experienced in their lifetime. 

Many therapists indicate that people who stop caring about their appearance are actually more likely to have signs of depression and lack of self confidence. Compared to the people who take the time to do self care acts (whatever form this may be) and do things that make them feel beautiful and confident. 

Ali, NP's Personal Experience with Health & Aesthetics

Ali, NP takes her health and wellness very seriously as she has put in thousands of hours as a Nurse Practitioner and is training in the functional medicine field. For example: 

-She eats an all organic diet full of vegetables, fruits, animal protein, and supplements based on her own body’s needs; drinks filtered water and has a reverse osmosis system installed in the office too! She limits caffeine to ~2-3 servings/week and rarely drinks alcohol. 

– Not only does she factor in diet, she also uses non-toxic beauty products and household products. 

– Alongside those important lifestyle choices she focuses on mental health by reading, meditating, and spending time doing things she loves like painting, playing sand volleyball and doing pilates. 

-With all of that being said, she DOES get aesthetic treatments done that are appropriate for her and make her feel even more confident and beautiful with a holistic and natural approach. 

Ali clearly takes care of her health and even jokes that, “the only toxin I put into my body is localized Botulinum Toxin”. However, others may put toxins in their bodies daily and then believe they are healthy by not getting tox injections. It is not that simple, health is not that black and white!

Running her own medical spa, Ali also prioritizes carrying less-toxic, cleaner products for her clients such as:

  • Xeomin: double filtered, purified neurotoxin that does not have any added/unnecessary proteins
  • RHA filler: the only HA filler on the market that closely mimics our body’s own HA with a cleaner formula
  • Dr. Alkaitis holistic skincare line that is organic, raw, and toxin free

Conclusion

Overall, we want to inform people that if someone has to make comments or shame you for getting aesthetic treatments, remember that it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them! Usually people are triggered by others getting treatments because of the four main reason explained above 👆 

1. They believe they cannot have it for themselves 

2. Their partner or family will judge them for it 

3. They think it is “unhealthy”

4. They are projecting their own experiences onto you 

At Elite, we want to use aesthetic treatments as a way to feel empowered as women (and men) and to do them because we feel even more confident and beautiful than we already are 😉 

Elite Medical & Aesthetics is a premier med spa located in Lone Tree, CO. Our staff of Nurse Practitioners provide a holistic approach for natural results with safety as a #1 priority.

Book a Consult

Talk to one of our providers

5 Reasons NOT to get Aesthetic Treatments

Introduction

While we support and empower women (and men) to get aesthetic treatments that make them feel good, we also are not afraid to say “no” to clients getting aesthetic treatments. Our providers care about our clients on a personal level to advise them to do what is best for them at that time, and sometimes that means not doing a treatment at all. 

💜 In this article we will cover our Nurse Practitioner’s top 5 reasons to NOT to get aesthetics treatments and frequently asked questions regarding this subject.

Table of Contents

Reason #1

Because everyone else is doing it:

Just because there is a new trend on Tik Tok, or you’re seeing the new “latest and greatest” treatment on social media does not mean it is going to be a treatment best for you. There are side effects and risks to every medical treatment that could cause complications later on if not taken seriously or done for the appropriate reasons. If you are interested in a certain treatment, talk with your provider/injector about your options, instead of seeking a medical spa that offers the trendy treatment at that time.

 ⭐️ FYI- it’s not uncommon for these trends to end, and people end up not being happy with the treatment/results anymore because there is a new trend. 

Example

  • Ozempic aka “the skinny shot”: This is all the rage right now for losing weight! But, while you may see many people taking/using a certain medication, this does not mean it is a safe option for everyone. Also, we strongly believe that not everyone is meant to look the same, and “skinny” does not mean you are healthy! Consider taking care of your total health/wellness through a balanced diet and exercise and consult with a medical professional for any type of weight-loss medication. 

Reason #2

Your partner wants you to look a certain way:

First and foremost, do not let anyone make you feel like you should look a certain way! We recommend to refrain from doing treatments because someone wants you to look differently. It is never a good idea to do aesthetic treatments to “people please”. 

⭐️ Instead, do treatments because you want to, and it empowers you to feel your best! Your partner should support and care about you just as you are, with or without aesthetic treatments done. 

Example

  • Your partner says you “need botox”: Ali, NP and owner of Elite has had clients in her office tell their partners that they “need” botox in front of her. While there may be jokes aside, it is important to note these kind of comments from your partner (if any) and talk to them about it, because you should never feel like you have to change for someone else in order to feel loved or accepted! 

Reason #3

You think it will make you feel more secure:

Consider doing aesthetic treatments because they are empowering to you, not because you feel the need to “fix” something about yourself to feel secure or beautiful. Your mental health is #1 priority, and oftentimes if you are struggling with an insecurity, there is an underlying reason that needs to be addressed (ie. your inner child was made fun of for something that is still affecting you). 

⭐️ Our EMA team strives to make aesthetic treatments an empowering thing to do that makes YOU feel good, bottom line.

Example:

  • You were once made fun of for “chicken lips”:  So naturally, getting lip filler might make you feel better about your appearance, but it doesn’t fix the “inner child” that was made fun of for her lips to begin with. PLUS, the same person that made fun of you for having “chicken lips” will most likely make fun of you for getting lip filler! Overall, you have to do it for yourself…you will never make everyone happy 💜 

Reason #4

You are under immense stress:

We understand that when life feels out of control, you usually feel the need to control something. But, aesthetic treatments should never be used as a coping mechanism in hard, stressful times. When you are not in the right headspace, it is only human to make impulse decisions that you may regret later when things have calmed down. 

⭐️ This is often when our NP providers will say “no” to a client and tell them to come back when things are less stressful and consult about it then (and most of them thank us for it)!

Example

  • Someone is going through a family crisis: Getting any type of medical treatment is not the way to go about handling a stressful time/event in your life. It is also posing a risk for you to have adverse reactions to a treatment or slower healing time, simply because your body is already being triggered by other stressors. Don’t worry, our providers will still be here for you when things have calmed down and when you can enjoy getting treatments done 💜 

Reason #5

You have an uncontrolled illness:

Having uncontrolled illnesses like autoimmune diseases simply puts your body at risk for more complications, reactions, or longer downtime post-treatment. This is why it is important to see a real medical provider that has practiced in a health care setting not just in the aesthetics industry. 

⭐️ Providers with actual medical backgrounds know how to identify symptoms of diseases that could put you at risk, and what to look for before considering if someone is a candidate for a treatment. Your safety is always a #1 priority, and should be taken seriously. 

Examples that our providers refrain from doing treatments:

  • Recent vaccines of any kind within a 2 week time frame
  • Any dental work within a 2 week time frame (for filler treatments)
  • Being on steroids. This causes the immune system to be lowered
  • ANY uncontrolled autoimmune disease that is not being treated

In general, any illnesses, or just not feeling well in general, is also not a good time to do elective aesthetic treatments. 

Other Commonly Asked Questions

Can aesthetic treatments improve mental health?

Aesthetic treatments should not be used as a coping mechanism for mental health issues. If you are experiencing any kind of mental health struggles, please consult with a therapist and get help. Your mental health should always come first/be a priority. 

  • However, aesthetic treatments can be empowering to people, thus making them feel more confident and even more beautiful than they already are! But we emphasize that these treatments are meant to be done for you, and not to please other people (because lets face it, you will never please everyone so do it for YOURSELF) 😉 

Can aesthetic treatments become addictive?

Yes, aesthetic treatments can become a behavioral addiction if people are getting them for the wrong reasons. Like mentioned earlier, we support people getting aesthetic treatments because they feel empowered to and use it to feel good about themselves, NOT to “fix” something about themselves. If our providers sense alternative motives from clients they, will have a discussion and are not afraid to say “no” if things are no longer a good fit (because we genuinely care about our clients on a personal level).

💜 Note: There are also some people who are diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder that can become addictive to cosmetic treatments/surgeries to look a certain way. This is a serious disorder and if recognized to seek help from a trusted provider/therapist.

Does botox improve depression?

Botox, or “Tox” Xeomin, Dysport, Daxxi, Jeuveau, may work in treating depression by inhibiting the muscle movements in the face that occur when certain emotions linked to depression occur:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness

These neurotoxin results work by regulating these emotions and also help patients have improved self-esteem with or without underlying depression. A 2006 case study by Finzi & Wasserman evaluated how effective Botulinum Toxin A glabellar treatments were on patients with major depression. 9 out of the 10 patients were no longer depressed 2 months post treatment (the 10th patient had improved mood). 

In Summary:

All in all, we want to emphasize that there is a right time and place to do aesthetic treatments. Unfortunately, we have seen many cases where aesthetic treatments are being used for the wrong reasons. And while we support the aesthetic industry and most treatments, it is important to us and our values to know when to say “no” to clients for their safety (and to have their best interest at heart 💜)

We hope you view aesthetic treatments the way we do: to empower yourself and show a form of self care that makes YOU feel good at the end of the day. 

Elite Medical & Aesthetics is a premier med spa located in Lone Tree, CO. Our all nursing staff of Nurse Practitioners take a holistic approach to natural results with safety as #1 priority. 

Talk with one of our providers.

Book a Consultation