Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chemicals in Body Care Products

When I was a little girl I had (maybe still do) a daredevil tomboy streak in me.  I would just about give my mother a heart attack when she found me scaling the door jams of my house and hanging out by the ceiling.  I would often slide down the banister of my house, climb trees and do anything that would give me an adrenaline rush.  My mom tells me that I even would swing from the drapes - yikes!   I also had a lot of friends who were boys.  Despite the fact that I enjoyed hanging out with the guys, I became very aware of girlie things.  Yes, I do enjoy more exciting things but when it comes right down to it, I am a girlie girl.  I love sun dresses, handbags and shoes and everything that makes me feel feminine.  Growing up I often would go into department stores in Boston with my mother.  Anyone familiar with the now defunct Filene's?  (Remember The Running of the Brides?  Very similar to the Running of the Bulls if you ask me.)  I loved to sample flowery lotions, designer fragrances and cosmetics.  When I slathered on the samples, I never stopped to think about what I was putting on my skin.  I always trusted that if it came from a fancy cosmetic line with some frou frou French name and a fat price tag that it had to be good.  Well, as with almost everything else that is manufactured in a chemistry lab, maybe it just isn't good for us.

There are certain tenets or axiomatic truths of health that we should cement into our brains and I think that this is one of them: Everything that you put on your skin gets absorbed and goes right into your bloodstream.  The thought becomes even more sobering when hearing that women who have breast cancer have been found with a high percentage of parabens in their breast tissue.  Other studies indicate that chemicals can increase the risk of diabetes.  The products obviously don't need to be expensive or high end to be harmful.  I see brands that look like they might be more natural by the way they are packaged.  A closer look reveals that the manufacturers can make them look natural, but the ingredients are far from it.  Think about everything that we expose ourselves to -- deodorants, shampoos, body lotions, hair spray, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc., etc.  Therefore, being careful to not expose ourselves to chemicals becomes a very critical component of reversing or preventing cancer.

Bear in mind that the cosmetic industry is not regulated.  If products need to be tested on animals, then the red flag goes up for me.  Some natural products don't need to be tested on animals at all because they are plant based and not harmful.  Unfortunately, not all natural products are created equally and some natural products do carry chemicals that aren't good. Here is a list of chemicals that are harmful and a list or sources for body care products that I trust.

The Culprits

Harmful ingredients include isopropyl alcohol, mineral oil, petrolatum, PEG polythylene glycol, PG propylene glycol, sodium laurel/laureth sulfate, sodium flouride, chlorine, diethanolamine (DEA, TEA, MEA), FD&C color pigments, artificial fragrances, imidazolindynyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodoprotynyl butylcarbamate,triclosan, phenol, phthalates and parabens.  I'm sure this list is not exhaustive, but it will rule out most everything at your local drug store.

Natural Product Resources

You don't need to go to the sources listed here. I'm sure if you search you could find clean ingredients in the products you find, but I'm just offering options in case you don't want to search. You can find clean products at health food stores or order online. (Check Trader Joe's.)  You could also make them yourselfHere are some great sources(Please click on the title of each section for the link.)

Nadine Artemis - Living Libations.  

Nadine is a true flower child that is so in-tune with natural ingredients and has a great knowledge of their effect on the body.  She has an extensive line of body care products that are truly all natural.  Check out her body care line that includes lotions, dental care, shampoos, deodorants.  She also has a line of products for men.  If you have the time, check her out in these two clips where she discusses the harmful effects of petroleum (petrolatum) on the body.  These are excellent clips!

Vapour's line of cosmetics is probably among the best that I know with a high standard of purity.  They carry an extensive line of cosmetics which includes skincare, nail polish and perfume.  Their philosophy and commitment to using clean ingredients resonates with me.  Take time to look at what they put into their products here.  Vapour Organic Beauty, Tata Harper and Sally B's Skin Yummies are favorites of Celebrity Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder.


Eniva has a couple of different body lotions, shampoos and lip balms that are clean.  Go to their beauty section to find these products.  The manufacturers to these products are also committed to using safe ingredients.

Mountain Rose Herbs body care products

Mountain Rose Herbs

You may remember that this is my source for coconut oil.  If you want to make your own body care products, they carry ingredients you may want to use. If you are like me and don't care to go to such great lengths, you could just purchase their clean body care products.  They also have products for men.   I find their prices to be much more reasonable than some of the other sources I have listed.

Longevity Warehouse

If you haven't already noticed, I'm a big fan of David Wolfe, The Longevity Now conferences and Longevity Warehouse.  I trust this organization to be committed to the cleanest products using the highest grade organic ingredients.

Tonya Zavasta

Remember this ageless woman?  She refuses to get any wrinkles and manages to do it naturally!  She has a great line of beauty products which includes hair, skin and dental care.

Sally B's Skin Yummies Lip gloss

Sally B's Skin Yummies

Sally has a great cosmetic line as well as a line for bath and body care products that are more reasonably priced.  She also carries deodorants and fragrances that are safe to put on your skin.  Her lip glosses look so luxurious; they are on my wishlist!

Palette by Nature

If you are interested in safe hair color, this company seems to be conscientious about using clean ingredients.

Dr. Mercola

I like Dr. Mercola's products.  He has many low cost alternatives.  I have a hard time spending 40.00 on toothpaste!  He has less expensive, clean products you can look up on his site.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to the blue section.  Here he lists the products he carries which include bath, skin, dental and feminine care.

Low Cost Alternatives:

I use pure raw virgin organic coconut oil (from Mountain Rose Herbs) to moisturize my skin.  You could also use it as a moisturizing treatment for your hair before you wash it.  Nadine Artemis mentions brushing her teeth with baking soda and then rinsing her mouth with apple cider vinegar. Whoa!  Imagine the science experiment going off in your mouth!  Green clay can be used as a facial mask.  Exfoliate your skin with skin brushing.  You can use white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle as a deodorant.  There are several low cost, chemical free short cuts you can take if you search for them.

I think it really does matter what you choose to put on you skin.  Staving off and limiting exposure to carcinogens is a big part of cancer prevention or cancer reversal -- not to mention that harmful ingredients also age you faster. I have to be honest, though. I do get exposed to some chemicals.  I do a keratin treatment for my hair once a year.  It has a small amount of formaldehyde, and other not so great ingredients, I know!  The way I see it, I do so much to detoxify my body and try to have the cleanest products otherwise, that I see this once a year treatment as an exception. I don't want to look like the late Gilda Radner (SNL) during the summer months, so I decided to just pick my battles!  Otherwise I still think its fun looking for alternatives and it feels even better knowing you're limiting chemical exposure by using these alternatives. As you clear out your medicine cabinet of the chemical laden products you may have, consider switching your household cleaning products to cleaner, greener products. You can only stand to gain better health by doing so.

Enjoy the Journey!