For many people who are actively trying to prevent or reverse disease, heal their bodies from trauma or just feel generally healthier, their focus is solely on food and exercise. They will buy organic produce, go for a walk, and come home for a nice relaxing bubble bath, not knowing the potentially harmful ingredients included in the latter activity.
It’s time people started seeing their personal care products for what they really are; it’s time people started considering how these products can negatively affect their health. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics seeks to educate us on these matters, stating that the personal care “industry spokespeople often claim “it’s just a little bit” of a toxic chemical in a given product, and that a little bit can’t hurt. But when there are carcinogens in the bathtub, hormone disruptors in soaps and fragrances, and traces of toxic chemicals in food, air, water and other consumer goods, it all adds up — and the sum could harm our health.” Ready for a personal care makeover yet?
1. Bath Products
Did you know that many common bath products, even including baby shampoos, contain cancer-causing chemicals like 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde? According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which involves using ethylene oxide (a known breast carcinogen) to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh.” That’s right — a carcinogen is added to make the other chemicals less “harsh,” begging us to also ask what those chemicals are doing to our health. Check this site for more details. Know that there are many chemical compounds to avoid and the easiest way to do this is by going completely natural. You can make a simple shampoo at home using nut or hemp milk, castile soap and your favourite essential oils.
Have you ever looked at the ingredient label to a moisturizer? Many contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BHA and BHT used to preserve the product, DEA-related ingredients that may cause cancer, parfum that has been linked to asthma, allergies, neurotoxicity and cancer, and endocrine-disrupting silicone. Want to avoid these chemicals altogether in your moisturizer? Use a dab of coconut oil instead. Yes, it really is that easy. If you’re looking for a deep moisturizer for tough areas like heels, melt equal parts coconut oil with sustainably-sourced soy wax and let cool completely. This thicker cream can replace common body butters.
3. Antibacterial Hand-Wash
We all know how important it is to wash our hands. Doing so prevents ourselves and others from getting sick. However, did you know that the very act of washing your hands may actually be making you sick, too? If you use antibacterial soaps, you have probably been exposed to triclosan. It’s a common ingredient used in antibacterial products that may indeed be causing endocrine disruptions and creating resistance in bacteria. What’s the alternative? Make your own antibacterial soap sans triclosan and other toxins by mixing castile soap, lemon and tea tree oil with water.
4. Anything Anti-Aging
Anti-aging products are marketed to make consumers believe they can reverse time through the application of creams, soaps, scrubs and more. What many consumers don’t know is that these promises of youth come at the cost of spreading or spraying chemicals all over your body; many of these chemicals, like Acetyl hexapeptide-3 or “Botox in a Jar,” have not been researched for side effects, have not been proven effective and are not regulated. These products, rather than erase age lines or sun spots, may actually threaten the youthfulness and longevity of your body. For instance, because Acetyl hexapeptide-3 relaxes all the face muscles instead of targeting spots like botox, it may indeed cause facial sagging — this is only the surface of “maybes.” Want something safe, effective and delicious instead? Try natural oils and DIY formulas instead, and don’t forget to enjoy some blueberries, lemon water, cucumbers and get adequate rest.
This list is a mere introduction to personal care products to avoid. Green monsters avoid these products because they are bad for our health, the environment (all our products re-enter waterways eventually) and animals (they drink the water, eat the plants that drink that water, etc.). The good news is, more and more companies are going green and avoiding toxic chemicals; you can also make most of these products at home, too.
Image source: The Amazings/Flickr