I am really having a hard time with this time change. I had a really hard time falling asleep last night, and I'm not sure if I really even slept, so I'm moving kind of slow today. Hopefully I will be used to it in a few days. Anyway, since I covered toxic cleaning products last week, I wanted to talk about your cosmetics this week.
Anything that you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so it absorbs about 60% of what you put on it. And, just like your body has to detox any toxic substances that your eat, your body has to do the same with anything that you put on your body also. When your body absorbs these toxic substances, they have to be eliminated the same way as the toxic substances in your food. When your detox system isn't functioning properly (which it isn't for many people), any excess toxins your body is unable to remove will get stored in your fat cells.
So, which products should we watch out for? Most mainstream cosmetics...toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, soap, baby powder, vaseline, mouthwash, baby wipes, baby care products, moisturizer, shaving cream, makeup, perfume, sunscreen...the list goes on. It's likely that, if you are purchasing your cosmetics from your local drug store, they are going to contain the chemicals that we should try to avoid.
What happens if we continue to use these products? Depending on what the toxic ingredient is, it can cause anything from interfering with your hormones (which can affect growth, development, intelligence, and reproduction, which can be irreversible and be passed on to future generations) to Alzheimer's to cancer. The good news is that, if you switch to safer cosmetics, the concentration of the chemicals in your body will decrease pretty quickly. A recent study done on 100 teenage girls, found that, after just 3 days of switching from their regular personal care products to products free of endocrine disruptors phthalates, parabens and triclosan, the concentration of the chemicals dropped rapidly.
How do you now what to look for when buying your products? You should look for products that don't contain any phthalates, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, aluminum, fragrance or petrochemicals. I have created a FREE cheat sheet with 10 common toxins that you should try to avoid, and it includes more specific names of what to look for. You can download it by clicking here.
Also, it is more likely that these products will be at a grocery store that specializes in natural and organic foods such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, or a local Co-op, or there are some companies, such as Beauty Counter or Arbonne that are known for selling products with lower toxins. Don't be fooled by products that say "natural" or "botanical." That does not mean that they are toxin free. You can also go to www.ewg.org to look up specific products or if you want to see how toxic your current products are. I think they even have a Skin Deep app that you can download to your phone so you can use it when you are out.
Another option is to make your own products so that you are aware of all of the ingredients that are in them. Recipes for these can easily be found online. I always make my own body scrub (some type of oil - usually grapeseed or olive, sugar and an essential oil), deodorant, and toothpaste. I have also made my own lotion, but that didn't turn out too well. I now just use coconut oil as my lotion. I plan to make my own face wash, body wash, makeup remover, sunscreen, and dog shampoo (I need Charlotte to be safe from toxins too!). I even put coconut oil in my hair this morning as a hair mask, which really made my hair soft. If you do this, make sure that you wash your hair really well. Otherwise, it will be really greasy. There are so many products that you can make on your own from just a few ingredients that you have laying around your house!