How important is what we place on our skin? As many people begin taking care in the sort of food they put in their body, it serves just as much purpose to examine what they put on it as well.
In a society struggling with cancer, allergies, and illness, we often overlook products as a potential cause. Things absorbed by the skin head straight to the bloodstream. If foreign, things we place our skin, scalps, and invite to our nostrils send our systems into chemical chaos, giving us a head start on illness unbeknownst to us.
Here is a guide to ditching the dangers & embracing what’s beneficial.
What To Avoid
Anything you can’t pronounce or produce.
If you can’t pronounce it, and you can’t make it yourself without a lab, leave it alone. Soap, lotion, detergent, whatever, it should contain less than 10 easily recognizable ingredients.
When manufacturers recognize growing interest in natural products, they can take advantage of those too lazy, confused, or under informed to make genuinely beneficial choices. Adding something “positive” to a laundry list of suspicious ingredients does not mitigate its negative effects.
Don’t be fooled by companies throwing words like “natural” “organic” “extract” “with shea,” “cocoa butter,” and “jojoba” on labels.
If the ingredients list doesn’t pass the test, avoid the product.
Anything that makes you feel weird
We often mistake irritation we encounter in cleaning “the cost of getting things clean.” Not so. Irritation in your nostrils, eyes, and skin are signals from your body to use something else.
Don’t use products that leave your skin, hair, etc. feeling anything less than amazing.
The Story of Stuff provides an excellent, short view of how what we use affects us.
These Label Ingredients
Label Names: “Propylparaben” “Methylparaben” Ethylparaben”
Found in: Hair Products, Skin Products, Foods, Moisturizers… everything.
A preservative & carcinogen widely linked to breast cancer. Awareness about the ingredient has lead some major manufacturers to shy away from it. It contains disruptive absorbed directly through your skin pores; its prevalence in so many products facilitates large deposits of the disrupter in the body over time, preparing a cozy home for cancer.
Label Names: DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) DEP (diethyl phthalate) DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
Found in: plastics, nail polish, toys, fragrance, air fresheners, vinyl, recycle code 3 and 7 plastic containers
Phlathates are known “endocrine disrupters,” or hormone imitators. They have been proven to cause reproductive and neurological damage. They are also known to lower sperm count and are suspected as the cause for the great decline in male fertility since the 40s, this agent is also responsible for cases of baby boys growing breasts.
BPA (Bisphenol A)
Found in: plastics, food packaging containers, bottles, etc.
BPA has similar effects to DBP, resulting in heart disease, diabetes, liver abnormalities, and brain & hormone development problems in fetuses/ children. What makes BPA different?
BPA can be seen as the hefty cost of doing business with plastic. Plastic is derived from the same oil that we put in our gas tanks, making it intrinsically toxic. Because so much of our day to day surroundings now hold plastic, avoiding it proves to be a true challenge, but its nothing the GOYS can’t subdue! Steer clear by avoiding plastic wherever you can. Buy things that come in glass.
Use metal containers, glass jars, mason jars and used glass bottles (olive oil, etc.) to store your liquid and dry goods. If it comes in a plastic container, transfer it to a safe one when you get home. Use alternative bio plastics such as potato ‘plastic’, which is made from potatoes alone.
Other harmful agents: Fluoride, Sodium Lauryl/ Laureth Sulfates
How to Avoid It
One Pollutant at A Time
I began my better ingredient journey with one simple ingredient: parabens. When I learned this ingredient was cancerous, I searched all of my body products, giving away anything that included it. You might begin your journey in a similar fashion: learn about and eliminate one major ingredient at a time.
Nasty ingredients hang together. Most products that hold one a major pollutant hold many lesser known harmful ingredients. Targeting one doesn’t put you in the clear, but it does rid a number of suspects, giving you a great start & putting you in a much better place.
The blindspot in ingredient hunting. As ingredients become consumer watch words, companies simply present slightly different chemicals that are just as harmful. The point here is not to make you a paranoid ingredient hunter. The goal is to make you a conscious consumer who can recognize what’s good for them and what isn’t. Why freak yourself out about what products have, when you could just grab products with ingredients you know to be good? It’s less stressful and more effective.
Once you’ve taken your first major step toward product improvement, take the next and eliminate all of the sub-par products in your household by buying and/ or making a whole new set.
Its easier to improve 5 products than 25. Bring your household’s body product collection to include only the basics. Keep only 1-2 sorts of toothpaste, bath soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, lip balm, etc. around.
What to Use Instead
Suggestion One: Do It Yourself. It is inexpensive & easy once you get the hang of it.
Suggestion Two: Buy Better Stuff. This Post features great contaminant-free products that work well, their price, and where to get them.
Laundry: Trader Joe’s Laundry. 24 loads, $4.7
Detergent: Meyers Ultra Concentrated $16 (lasts.)
Bleach: BioKleen Oxygen Bleach
Toothpaste: Trader Joe’s Fennel, Propolis, & Myrrh $2 Flouride Free!
Soap: Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil Soap $2 Many Options on the market for soap, lots of handmade companies
Lotion: Coconut Oil, Pure Cocoa Butter, Nubian Heritage Lotion
Deoderant: Chlorophyll, DIY Deoderant
If you have any questions about switching, feel free to let us know!
Good Related Reads
Female Infants Growing Breasts- Huffington Post