Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Are You Eating Propylene Glycol?

by JJ Virgin

You eat organic food whenever possible,  you drink filtered water, you use environmentally healthy cleaning products and you wash your hair and moisturize your body with …. Phthalates, parabens, gluten, hydrogenated oils and GMO’s?  I hate to break it to you but even some of the most well known products out there claiming to be organic and safe may still contain harmful chemicals that can increase your body burden of toxins.   Just the bottles alone are often doing the product in by adding harmful plasticizers and xenoestrogens into your product. 
Remember your skin is a sieve, if you are washing with it or slathering it on your skin, you are effectively eating it.  When you think about it that way, it makes you really re-evaluate the products you are using! I did a fascinating interview with a toxicity expert, Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis* and she went into detail about what we are getting in our personal care products (and guess what, just because you spent a lot of money on those products doesn’t mean they are organic or safe). 
She recommended we all go check out the info on the environmental working group’s website ( where they have compiled the list of products and their safety ratings. I was dismayed to find out that my favorite mascara didn’t make the grade (some of the top brands even had mercury in them) nor did my lipstick.
Turns out many lipsticks and lip balms contain propylene glycol.  And while toxicology reports show that this substance (used also as anti-freeze) poses no health risks (or so they say) at minute amounts, consider that over the course of a year you EAT (yep, eat) over 10 pounds of lipstick.  Then combine this with the other chemicals you are getting in your shampoo, conditioner, Brazilian Blowout (I knew that was too good to be true- can you say silicone!), moisturizer, eye cream….etc.etc. and guess what, Houston, we could have a problem here because these chemicals all get absorbed into your skin and then your body has to handle them.  And one of the top places to store these toxins is in your fat cells.  Dr. Angelo Tremblay showed that rats with higher toxic burdens actually had 30% lower metabolisms! 
 Hey, there’s no way around it, we live in an increasingly toxic world.  So we have to control what we can control by reducing our toxic burden in every way possible while improving our daily detoxification.  I realized recently after spending an enlightening evening with a skin care products expert, Jama Russano, that I was getting toxic exposure in places I wasn’t even thinking about!  So you will start to see me talk more about this in the coming weeks AND I will also be giving you amazing skin & hair care alternatives that will support your quest for optimal health.   For now I want you to become aware of what is in what you are currently using and make that decision to extend your healthy habits to your beauty regimen as well!
Here are a few of the things that SHOULDN’T be in your personal care products or the containers that are transporting them:  artificial colorings & fragrances, benzene, bisphenol A, dimethicone, EDTA, formaldehyde, gluten, GMO’s, hydrogenated oils, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, plastics, phthalates, PVC’s, PEG’s(1,4-dioxane), propylene glycol, silicates, silicones, sodium lauryl sulfates, wheat, triethanolamine. 
So just like we have you read the labels in the grocery store, start checking out the labels in the drug store and beauty counters and insist on organic, non toxic products just like you do for your food!
*you can grab this enlightening (okay and a bit disturbing) interview free here:  Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis

©2011 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Nutrition and Fitness Expert JJ Virgin is a the author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy and the co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters reality series. Visit her at to grab her free audio: Top Ten Hottest Tips to Get Slim and Sexy Fast 


  1. Food Grade Propylene Glycol USP is approved for direct use in food, beverage, and medical applications. Food Grade Propylene Glycol USP can be used in replace of Technical Grade PG specifications. All products conform to USP requirements and have been packaged in a clean room environment in decontaminated containers.

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