A FitPerez reader is worried about toxic chemicals in her beauty products, so she wrote Fran Drescher for advice, asking:
My name is Lisa, and I'm from Atlanta. I've read about all of the toxic chemicals in beauty products, but there are so many, I have trouble remembering them when I'm at the store. Do you have any suggestions?
I look for ingredients that are plant-based, not petroleum-based. If you don't know what it is, probably not a good idea to slather it all over yourself. Remember, everything you put ON your body eventually makes its way IN your body.
One caveat — Exfoliants and chemical peels. Alpha-hydroxyl and beta-hydroxyl acids are organic. But they peel off a protective layer of skin. That makes you more vulnerable to sun damage and skin cancer. Use a high SPF sunscreen for a week afterward while that protective layer grows back. Also, try to shield yourself as much as possible with hats and scarves. (This has the added benefit of not scaring small children with your beet-red face.)
Of course, you should be wearing sunscreen all the time anyway, doll. Better choices for exfoliants are the gentler, natural abrasives like apricot or almond scrubs.