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Top 5 Advancements in Skin Cleansing

Safer Cleansers
The vixen herself
The vixen herself
The Palma Collection/Photodisc/Getty Images

Cleopatra has long had the reputation as one of the great beauties of history. True or not, you'd be wise not to follow her beauty regimen -- unless you like toxic lead-based compounds on your face.

Unfortunately, many modern skin care products used today also contain toxins, allergens and dubious chemical additives.

With public consciousness taking a decidedly healthier and "greener" turn the last decade or so, there has been rising demand -- and alarm -- from consumers who want to take care of their skin, but not at the possible detriment of their overall health.

Even with products marketed as "natural" or "safe," a glance at the ingredients may find otherwise. Chemical additives, such as phthalates, may not break down in the environment (or in your body). There is ongoing debate about the role parabens -- another common skin care ingredient -- in certain forms of cancer and hormonal disruptions.

But a growing market for healthy skin care products -- and growing awareness of product ingredients -- now allows you to have beautiful skin, a healthy body and a cleaner environment. For example, many people with sensitive skin have reactions to perfumed products, so manufacturers have begun offering more mild, hypoallergenic and perfume-free skin cleaners. After all, cleaning your face with a product that makes it break out defeats the very purpose.

Next: Make sure your skin takes its vitamins.