Most of us don not even realize that personal care products contain thousands of chemicals that affect our hormones and could be linked to many illnesses. Cosmetic manufacturers aren’t regulated, and terms like “organic” and “natural” aren’t enforced, so it can be incredibly hard to tell what’s in the bottles and if a product is safe.
Every day we use products that we think are safe, but the truth is most of these items are NOT safe, and manufacturers don’t have to tell us. In 1938 the FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetics industry which means that products can be marketed without government approval of ingredients, regardless of what tests show. Because of this fact, most of the 25,000 chemicals used have not been tested for long-term toxic effects. In a typical day, you might be exposed to over 200 different chemicals, many of which are suspected of causing cancer, and EPA tests conclude that ingredients in shampoos, dyes, and other personal care products could be wreaking havoc on our hormones that control reproduction and development.
Though generally regarded as safe, ingredients like petroleum is derived from natural sources, yet it’s a “beauty bad guy,” because it’s harvested from the same crude oil source as the stuff that goes into your car! Petroleum is non-digestable by the human body, so our body naturally rejects it. It’s also linked to contact dermatitis (inflammation) which can in turn cause cellular damage, stress and even result in premature aging.
Components that are removed from the oil during the refining process of petroleum jelly are carcinogenic in some cases, and while Vaseline supposedly has all of these components removed, there are plenty of petroleum jelly imitators that don’t conform to the same standards. Because petroleum jelly can be found in different grades of purity, you don’t always know how non-toxic your petroleum jelly-based beauty products really are.
Even though Vaseline is highly-refined, triple-purified and regarded as non-carcinogenic, it only creates the illusion of moisturized, hydrated skin, when it is actually suffocating your pores. This product is water-repellant and not water-soluble, meaning it creates a barrier so that moisture does not leave the skin, and while you might feel an instant gratification of a softened surface, you’re actually drying out your pores by keeping out air and moisture. Further, the thick texture makes it difficult to cleanse from the skin, so never slather Vaseline on an unwashed face if you want to avoid breakouts, because this will essentially seal in the dirt.
Top Cosmetic Items To Avoid
Here are some of the most common products found in bathrooms everywhere that you need to swap out for a cleaner alternative. One thing to remember always is that if you would not put a certain substance in your mouth, you should put it on your body/skin either.
Avoid BHA in lipsticks, as well as mineral oil which is a known carcinogen, and choose options based on plant oils or beeswax. Some lipsticks contain hydrogenated cotton seed oil that may be contaminated with arsenic, lead, and mercury. Also avoid Padimate O and Petrolatum that can be contaminated with nitrosamines and PAHs that are also found in car exhaust!
If you want clean hair ditch the sodium laureth sulfate-heavy shampoos. This is an inexpensive and effective foaming agent, but it doesn’t actually do much to get your hair “clean.” In actuality it’s a known skin irritant that strips the natural oils from your hair and skin. The bubbles it creates aren’t actually doing anything for your hair and scalp, they are just there to make us feel like our hair is more clean. It’s a marketing ploy
When purchasing shampoos, avoid formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin. Look for shampoos without –eth compounds, like sodium laureth sulfate, since they may be contaminated with known endocrine disruptor 1,4-dioxane. Shampoo does not need UV filters like octinoxate or oxybenzone because they get washed out, and some other chemicals of concern are Ethanolamines, Parabens, Formaldehyde releasing preservatives, and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Try my DIY shampoo recipes that are easy to make, and non-toxic!
With conditioners, avoid ingredients with ethanolamine and cocamide dea, and just like shampoo, look for conditioners without –eth compounds. Avoid formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin) in conditioners. Other chemicals of Concern are Ethanolamines, Parabens, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Formaldehyde releasing preservatives, Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Try my simple DIY conditioner (recipe below) that works amazingly well, and you will LOVE how your hair looks and feels after!
- 1 Tbsp ACV (apple cider vinegar)
- 1 Cup water
Combine these 2 ingredients in a clean repurposed squirt bottle. (You can also double up on ingredients until you fill your bottle, as the recipe above makes 8 ounces.)
Simply shake the bottle before each use and gently massage into the hair and scalp for a minute or two and rinse. After drying, your hair will not smell like vinegar.
Want to know how that deodorant stick keeps itself from drying out? It’s called propylene glycol and it’s been associated with dermatitis, eye irritations and organ system toxicity. It’s also a component of antifreeze. You don’t what to put on your skin, what you put in the engine of your car. You can easily and naturally combat body odor by following these simple tips detailed HERE!
Many body lotions contain parabens (listed as methylparaben or propylparaben) which are added to keep a product from going bad too quickly. Despite the prolonged shelf life, this ingredient can wreak havoc on your body is parabens have been shown to irritate skin, eyes and lungs, and since they mimic estrogen in the human body, they’ve been linked to breast cancer tissue growth. Also avoid Polycacrylamide and PTFE in any anti-aging cream, UV filters like octinoxate, oxybenzone and homosalate should be replaced with options like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide I mentioned above, and acrylamide contamination, PFOA contamination, and Placental extracts. For a simple, natural, clean alternative, use coconut oil!
If your favorite brand contains avobenzone, PABA, oxybenzone, ethoxycinnamate, throw it in the trash. These ingredients have been linked to skin irritations, allergies and endocrine disruption. You’re better off using a sunscreen that uses a mineral block, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.