Would you knowingly wash your hair with a chemical that could give you osteoporosis?
Would you get in the shower every morning and lather up with something that would irreparably damage your kidneys or lungs? Or that could cause cancer?
I thought not.
But without knowing it, you could be inviting poisons to hijack your body, wreck your hormones and cause cancer… unless you’re really careful about avoiding toxins in personal care products.
Like many people aware of the risks these days, you might reach for “natural” health and beauty products.
But the word “natural” on a bottle or jar simply means that the product has to contain ingredients that were once derived from a natural substance. Even if it’s been so highly processed you couldn’t truthfully call it “natural” anymore.
Be aware that the term “natural” on shampoos, toothpastes, body washes, cosmetics and the like is a totally unregulated term. No agency is there to question its use. It is definitely no guarantee that the product is safe.
So, what other choice do we have?
You’ve probably heard about people who make their own shampoo, lotion, and other products to avoid putting dangerous poisons onto their skin and hair. Websites that tell you how to do this are plentiful.
But who has time to do that? And isn’t it expensive?
The answers to those two questions are “YOU” and “NO.”
Chemicals in your personal care products: a quick review
If you’re going to embark on making your own personal care products, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself right off the bat. As much as we want to stay safe, most of us don’t have time to spend making a constant supply of shampoo, body wash, makeup, toothpaste, and other items.
But you can start with one or two items. To help you decide what’s best for you, let’s review just a few of the more common and dangerous toxins in the products you’re now using.
Formaldehyde. A known human carcinogen, found in shampoos, hair gel, baby shampoo, and body wash — and nail polish. Even if formaldehyde is not used directly, preservatives that release it are also used in these products.
Mercury. A buildup of this heavy metal over time can cause mercury poisoning, including kidney damage. Mercuric iodide, ammoniated mercury, quicksilver, or cinnabaris (mercury sulfide) are code names for mercury. If product directions recommend avoiding contact with silver, gold, rubber or aluminum, it probably has mercury in it.
Parabens. These preservatives are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and yeast in makeup, increasing its shelf life. But they are also endocrine disruptors linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Any product that foams or bubbles (think body wash, shampoo and toothpaste) contains this chemical that’s also used in car washes. It’s fine for a car, but it can irritate your skin and is a possible carcinogen and known endocrine disruptor.
Making your own natural self-care products
As mentioned earlier, there is a huge amount of information online about how to make your own self-care products. There are many options, and most involve ingredients that are easy to find.
And, if you add up the costs, you’ll find they’re often less expensive than those bottles and tubes full of chemicals and artificial fragrances.
For a gentle, fragrant body wash, try this homemade citrus body wash.
For a chemical-free toothpaste alternative, make your own with clay and coconut oil. Clay may sound icky, but it’s actually tasteless. Through a process known as adsorption (with a “d”, not a “b”), it has been used to detoxify the digestive system, eliminate intestinal parasites, strengthen the immune system, and fight free radicals.
To avoid formaldehyde and sodium lauryl sulfate, and for a deliciously fragrant natural product, make your own homemade coconut milk shampoo and body wash.
This is just a start, but hopefully, it will encourage you to explore protecting your health from the outside in.
- It’s Easy to Be Green–18 Homemade Natural Personal Care Products — Whole New Mom
- Homemade Bubble Bath Without All The Chemicals — DIY Natural
- Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients You Need to Avoid — Mercola.com
- 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid — huffpost.com
- Is Non-Toxic Makeup Also Natural and Organic? — Well.org
- Dangerous Levels of Mercury Found in Skin Creams Purchased on Amazon, eBay — Environmental Working Group