The Top 5 Chemicals I Avoid In Our Personal Care Products
I hope you have been enjoying and learning from my health story so far. I am still learning more and more every day. In fact, some of the things I found out about to try for myself were discovered in blogs like this, written by others who were trying to figure things out regarding their own health and wanted to share to help others! So, here's more of my story-maybe something I share will spark an idea for you!
So far, I have shared how I have to eat gluten free due to Celiac's Disease, what happened when I removed gluten and another food from my diet and how I used a food journal to uncover other dietary triggers like GMO's.
The entire realization that every food you put on your fork either contributes to inflammation (and disease) or reduces inflammation (and risk of disease) really opened my eyes! No doctor had ever told me how impactful dietary choices can be! This truly made me more aware of what the ingredients are in our foods. I decided that if I can't pronounce it, we shouldn't be eating it in our family. The kids were really good about all the changes and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I educated them about why we are no longer eating ingredients like dyes, additives and artificial flavorings. Since they learned all the horrible things those fake "foods" can do to our bodies, they understood why I didn't want them to eat these chemicals.
Then I got really thinking...I know, me, analyze something...unheard of, right (for all of those who know me by now through my blog or personally, you know I am a bit of a, ummm thinker!!! LOL!) So, I wondered, if things like the patch, used to stop smoking, and the birth control patch get through our skin and effect our bodies, then what does that mean about things like body wash, shampoo, hand soap and deodorant?? Do all the big long fancy names on these products absorb through our skin too? Well, sure enough, once I started some research, I uncovered just that...everything we put on our skin absorbs into our bodies within seconds! YIKES!
Think about how many products you put on your skin/hair in your morning routine alone...if you're like most people, especially women, there's a ton...shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, body lotion, perfume, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, hair products and hair spray and that's not even counting all the cosmetic products in your make up routine!! Now think about the long list of chemicals on each of those products! Mind blowing when you start to add up all the chemicals you put on before you even eat breakfast, right! According to the EWG's site, "The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average." Then we wonder why as women we suffer from a higher rate of autoimmune disease and other illnesses. No more wondering for me...especially when I learned all the horrible things these chemicals do to us.
Here's my list of what I personally consider to be the top 5 chemicals I discovered in my personal care products that I think are the most dangerous. I'll also share with you how I either make or buy safer alternatives because you guys keep asking me what I use, so here you go!
1. Propylene Glycol-Ok, I have to start with this one because do you know what Propylene Glycol is...don't worry, I didn't either, but brace yourself...it's ANTIFREEZE! Yup, there was antifreeze in my toothpaste! WHAT? Yup, go read yours...I actually learned my toothpaste had a poison warning seen below! I even found some "natural" brands still claiming their source of propylene glycol was naturally sourced, renewably sourced and is approved by the US government. Now I don't know about you, but the government thinks a lot of things are "safe in small quantities." But my question is, what happens over time from daily exposure to these chemicals. I decided I no longer want to be a human guinea pig! For starters, I quickly swapped out the toothpaste I use and my kids use. I use the Thieves Aromabright Toothpaste...no icky ingredients in there and my holistic dentist just told me that my teeth and gums look "beautiful!" My cuties use the kids version from Young Living.
If you prefer to make your own tooth powder for pennies, here is what I do: Mix the following in a glass container and sprinkle on a wet toothbrush! This will last you a LONG time!
1/3 C pure baking soda (not the kind found in the orange box at supermarkets...I get mine here: food grade baking soda
1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
several drops of pure essential oil, my favorite choices are Peppermint or Clove from Young Living, which are both supportive of a clean, healthy mouth!
2. Triclosan-This is found in most antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers, but unfortunately it causes major health issues, like thyroid conditions (yup, how many of you reading this have thyroid issues like me...could our soap be to blame as one of the causes?) and antibiotic resistance! Not good. Read the label on your soaps and body washes and make sure they don't contain triclosan! Mine did!
3. Parabens-increase the shelf life of your products, but do you know they also disrupt our hormones (especially estrogen in women), cause allergic reactions, have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues. What if women are having trouble conceiving due in part to these parabens? Making simple switches can really impact our health so dramatically! I wish I knew this back when we were 'trying" since I had trouble AND because all these chemicals in the mom's body gets passed along to baby! According to a past study by the EWG, poor innocent babies are being born with 287 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood. "We know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests." This makes me SICK. We are poisoning our unborn babies and ourselves! What's worse is other countries ban parabens in personal care products and the good USA does NOT! Nice, real nice, right!
So, once I learned all this, I vowed to only use paraben free products! Castile Soap is a safe option for an all-purpose soap/body wash that we dilute with water. Or you can check out some safe choices here.
4. Fragrance- This one scares me because sooo many things can be hidden in this word because the FDA doesn't require fragrance ingredients to be listed! Sooo not good since the EWG says they can be carcinogenic. I stopped using any products with a non-descript "fragrance" ingredient. Yet why do people tell me everywhere I go that I smell AMAZING? Well, I use all natural essential oils from Young Living as my "perfumes!" My favorites are StressAway or Bergamot! Both not only smell amazing, but help me to feel calmer and less stressed! Do your research if you decide to give essential oils a try, since purity makes a HUGE difference. Go here to learn how to select a safe brand.
5. Petroleum- Yup, that's right, Vaseline, which we've all used at some point, but did you know that it contains petroleum, meaning it's a byproduct of the oil industry!? Now, while that particular brand claims to use what the government considers to be "noncarcinogenic," I remain skeptical. The government seems to think many things are safe in small quantities that other countries flat out ban! And just so you know, petroleum can appear as mineral oil, liquid paraffin or paraffin oil on labels.
So, I now make sure all or our products are petroleum free. For a moisturizer, we use coconut oil (get a huge jug of it at Costco), jojoba oil (I like Trader Joe's) or for severe, cracked skin we cut open a Vitamin E capsule (or Trader Joe's sells Vitamin E Oil)!
But what do you use when you or your kiddos are feeling in need of some respiratory support? You guess it, we don't use the popular Vicks Vapor Rub anymore! Here's what I use on both myself and my cuties:
We mix together Coconut Oil or Jojoba Oil with a drop or 2 of R.C Essential Oil Blend and rub onto our feet! I know, you're thinking, FEET??? Yup, the feet are one of the most effective places to apply natural, health supporting products since the feet are a map of the entire body (google vitaflex foot points)! Plus, no matter where you apply essential oils, like any other substance, they absorb into the skin and get throughout the body in seconds! Now, finally good news when it comes to things absorbing into my body! As long as you are using pure, properly grown, distilled and bottled essential oils like we do, then you will be SO GLAD they are absorbing into your skin and in this case of RC, helping to support your respiration!
Even easier, you can diffuse RC or other respiratory supportive essential oils as an alternative to smearing your kids or yourself with petroleum! You're welcome!! ;)
Of course, we avoid other chemicals I've discovered in our personal care products like SLS, DEA and others, but those are the 5 biggies I wanted to share with you! I hope this has helped to open your eyes to see that in addition to what is on our forks, we need to consider what we put on our bodies all day long!
Don't try to change everything all at once or you'll drive yourself crazy! Just pick up one thing, and I suggest you start with your toothpaste since you put that in your mouth 2 times a day! Read what is in there and if you see some of these scary ingredients or a poison warning, don't wig out, just shop for or make your own safe alternative! Small changes over time make a BIG impact! I'm living proof! The more chemicals you get out of your life, the less your liver is stressed from all the toxins and it can work more efficiently! I have found this helps me have more energy and less symptoms from my auto immune issues!
So, until my next post, let me know what products you changed first! I hope you too are amazed at how great you feel the more you eliminate chemicals from your life and your children's lives!