Our Top 7: For a Greener and Healthier Body
This is Chapter Two in our series, “Top Toxins to Remove from your Life”. If you missed Chapter One, you can find it here. In Chapter One, we talked about the Top 7 Toxins to remove from your home. In Chapter Two, we address the toxins you are putting on your body. You can find a plethora of information online about this topic and our research was, to say the least, a bit overwhelming.
We remember how difficult it was when we were first starting out on our journey towards a healthier and greener lifestyle. It was a time when we were not sure where to begin because so many things needed to change. Simply put, we were overwhelmed. If you are starting to feel the same way, we want to encourage you. We understand how you feel and we want to help you get started on your journey. You can do this!
As we have said a few times before on this Blog, you do not have to accomplish everything in a day, a week, a month or even a year. The important thing is, you make an effort each and every day towards your goal. Several small steps over time add up to big changes. This is a marathon; not a sprint — so take the first step, pace yourself and do not get discouraged.
So, here we go! Let’s start by thinking about our morning routine and the products we use to make ourselves presentable for the day. We use body-soaps, hand-soaps, conditioners and other hair-care products, lotions, make-up, perfume / cologne and various other female hygiene products, just to name a few.
In the United States, the average woman uses about 15 Personal Care Products (PCPs) on a daily basis, containing approximately 168 different ingredients. In the United States, the average man uses about 6 PCPs on a daily basis, containing approximately 85 different ingredients. Each PCP contains, on average, a dozen or more chemicals. Things like phthalates, parabens and triclosan. These ingredients are commonly found in our bodies; be us man, woman or child.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. This is an important piece of information because much of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream. If the PCPs we use every day contain toxic chemicals, guess what? Your body is absorbing it — and that is a problem. The answer to this problem then, is to replace the PCPs we use with healthier and less-toxic choices.
“What we put on our skin should be as clean as what we eat. But for most people, it’s not. Even in tiny amounts, many of the chemicals commonly found in our cosmetics can have a tremendous health and hormonal impact, and we are only beginning to understand the consequences,” Dr. Cates writes in DailyMail.co.uk.
When first starting this journey, I was probably like many of the folks reading this post. I used Crest toothpaste, Oil of Olay face lotion, Dove antiperspirant, whatever shampoo and conditioner was on sale, Always female products and whatever make-up brand was the cheapest (truth be told, I really didn’t have a make-up brand). After a lot of research, I knew I wanted — no, I needed to make better choices for me and my family.
Remove Antiperspirant - Replace with Deodorant
Start with tossing out your toxic antiperspirant and replacing it with a deodorant. Antiperspirants contain ingredients like parabens and phthalates. The main ingredient in the Dove antiperspirant above is Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly.
Parabens are commonly used preservatives in various beauty products. The chemical is linked to breast cancer cell growth in women and lower testosterone levels and sperm count in men (natural news).Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers (www.huffingtonpost.com).
I am currently using Kiss My Face deodorant and my husband switched to Every Man Jack. While these are better choices than what we were using, I am aware room for improvement still exists.
Remove Toxin-Laden Toothpaste - Replace with Toxin-free Toothpaste
Next, remove toothpaste containing fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Triclosan, just to name a few.
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical added to toothpaste to help fight plaque and gingivitis. However, while it has been shown to be effective for this purpose, triclosan has also been linked to concerns over antibiotic resistance, endocrine disruption and thyroid dysfunction (articles.mercola.com).The chemical structure of triclosan is similar to thyroid hormones and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). This similarity allows it to attach to hormone receptors.10Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as triclosan can promote a wide variety of health problems, including breast, ovarian, prostate and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys.Some animal studies found triclosan caused fetal bone malformations in mice and rats, which may hint at hormonal effects. Triclosan may also interfere with a type of cell signaling in brain, heart and other cells, such that researchers noted it “may not be worth potential risks.”Over the course of a lifetime, the average American uses about 20 gallons of toothpaste, and even though you don’t swallow it, chemicals in the toothpaste can make their way into your bloodstream, courtesy of the fact that your mouth has an absorption efficiency rate of more than 90 percent (articles.mercola.com).
I tried a few different brands, like Tom’s and Nature’s Gate, but I currently make my own toothpaste.
Remove Toxic Shampoo and Conditioner - Replace with Toxic-Free Options
Some of the ingredients to avoid in your shampoos and conditioners are, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – sometimes referred to as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES), Parabens, Triclosan and Fragrance. Even when the bottle uses a word like “Natural”, it does not mean it is a green or healthy choice.
SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLS), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products). SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. They can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment (huffingtonpost.com).
FRAGRANCE According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. It can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers (huffingtonpost.com).
I am still looking for a shampoo and conditioner that both fits my desire for health and gives me the results I want. I have tried both the shampoo and the conditioner in the following brands: Ren pure Originals and Nature’s Gate. I am currently using Maui Naturals.
Remove Lotions/Face Moisturizers filled with toxins - Replace with Toxic-Free Lotions/Face Moisturizers
We lather ourselves with lotions and facial moisturizers every day. One of the toxic ingredients in lotion products is petrolatum. It coats the skin like plastic; clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins.
They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They’re implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity (huffingtonpost.com).
Mineral oils, along with petroleum, are key ingredients in cosmetic products such as foundation, moisturizers and cleansers. However, these chemicals contain dioxane. According to Dr. Cates, dioxane is found to be carcinogenic in various animal studies (natural news).
Be sure to pick out products with as little toxins as possible. For body lotion, I currently use coconut oil and for face lotion, I use an Essential Oil blend.
Remove Toxic-filled Body Soaps - Replace with Toxic-Free Body Soaps
Think about it. We wash our bodies every day with soap that contains harmful ingredients. This adds up over a lifetime and wreaks havoc on our health. Choose to improve your health by selecting a soap that is free of hormone-disrupting toxins.
Coal tar – Coal tar is a known carcinogenic. The chemical can be found in dandruff shampoos, creams, soap, and ointments (naturalnews.com).
I am currently using soap from A La Maison.
Remove Toxin-filled Feminine Hygiene Product - Replace with Toxin-Free Options
Over her life-span, a woman will have about 450 periods, according to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (prevention.com)
We use these products on our intimate areas month after month but what, exactly, is in our feminine hygiene products? That is a tough question to answer because most tampon and pad manufacturers only provide a partial list of ingredients.
Since feminine hygiene products are considered medical devices, manufacturers aren’t required to disclose what’s in them or how they’re made – and most of them don’t, says Lona Prasad, MD, FACOG, an OB/GYN at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine.
Many tampon applicators contain phthalates, a group of hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to everything from early-onset menopause to diabetes, and the cotton used to make tampons and pads is typically bleached (prevention.com).
I use the healthier feminine hygiene products above and I love them!
Remove toxin-filled make-up - Replace with Toxin-Free Make-up
There are so many toxins in make-up – and this includes what is considered “better” options, like mineral-based make-up. Most women wear it every day. We need to be aware of the ingredients in our make-up and make better and healthier choices.
Mica, silica, talc, and nanoparticled titanium dioxide –
According to Dr. Cates, these minute particles may lead to lung disease when they accumulated in the body over time (naturalnews.com).Heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, arsenic and aluminum — can cause brain and nervous system impairment and hormone disruption. These heavy metals are also known carcinogens (naturalnews.com).
Mercury is a known carcinogen that impairs brain development. It is found in mascara and some eyedrops (ewtritionny.com).
Lead: A known carcinogen found in lipstick and hair dye, but never listed because it’s a contaminant; not an ingredient (ewtritionny.com).
I have tried a number of different make-ups. At the beginning of this journey, I started with what was available at my local store: Physicians Formula loose mineral foundation. I also tried L’ORÉAL Powdered Mineral foundation and BareMinerals. I am currently using Jane Iredale make-up.
So, what do you do to find healthier personal products? Read labels! You want to make sure your health and beauty products are free from toxins like those mentioned above. I am still not where I want to be as far as my personal products are concerned but I am trying to make better choices each and every day.
One additional and important detail I want to mention is, if you find a healthier option, be sure to check and re-check the ingredient list periodically. Those sneaky manufactures like to change things up on you sometimes and I have found a number of products that have changed their ingredient list and what I once thought was a good choice, no longer was. Be diligent in your research and never stop trying to find better options!
Another thing that has happened is, a number of products I have used and grown to love have been discontinued. While it is frustrating when this happens, it forces me to always be looking for other options for the products I use.
Try using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The site has over 70,000 product ratings. After you enter the product name, the database will return a rating and risk information. I have provided ratings for the products pictured in this post. The scale is from 1 to 10; with 1 being the safest and 10 being the most toxic.
Educate yourself and do your research before (and after) you buy!
As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave us a comment or contact us.