Did you see the title and roll your eyes? I know. I’ve been there. There’s only so much you can do to protect your family from the toxins of the world and just when you think you’ve got a lot of it covered, you learn about something else to avoid or change. Here’s the thing, when you know better you make better choices. So learning about a few ways to detoxify your home can be an easy fix that you can control, unlike so many of the toxins in our environment that you can’t.
Chemicals and toxins are not just in your food – they are also widely used in your favorite personal care products such as makeup, deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner! I have personally started to switch out all of my personal care products as I read more on how these toxic ingredients are endocrine disruptors, lead to cancer, autoimmune disease & other illnesses.
Our skin absorbs 60% of any topical product we use and more than 10,000 ingredients are allowed for use in our personal care items. Many of these ingredients are hazardous to our health but they are used in everything from makeup to facial moisturizer and nail polish remover!
The average American woman uses 12 skincare and beauty products before she leaves the house, every day. If you are using conventional products, this equals 12 potentially toxic loads applied directly to your body. The skin is an organ of digestion, and the same way it digests nicotine through a patch, it absorbs these toxins into your bloodstream, where your circulation propels them into contact with every single cell.
By entering through the skin, these toxins also bypass the detoxifying bacteria, selective cellular barrier, and sensitive immune system in your gut, meaning they can be deposited and even stored throughout your tissues before your liver has a chance to metabolize and detoxify them.
It’s amazing that the average woman wears nearly 515 chemicals a day and will eat nearly 4 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime, so make sure your lipstick does NOT contain lead or any chemicals.
On the other hand, you could also view this as 12 opportunities to nourish your cells with plant-based non-toxic phytonutrient and antioxidant-rich shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, oils, toners, moisturizers, foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes and perfumes!! (It's all mindset and how you view it).
Which would you choose? The answer is of course obvi, but most people don’t realize they're making this choice when they stock up on their daily regimen. Even many products that claim to be “natural” or are branded with seemingly eco-friendly packaging, are filled with potentially harmful or known-to-be harmful substances.
You've probably seen variations of this list before, but to recap, here are 10 of the most problematic (and frequently used) ingredients to watch out for:
- Parabens—These are known hormone disruptors and estrogen-mimickers.
- Fragrance—There's actually no way to know what "fragrance" is. It's usually a proprietary blend and it's a way that companies often hide potentially harmful substances. Unless you 100% trust the brand, avoid it.
- Phthalates, including “dibutyl phthalate” in nail polish. These are known hormone disruptors in men and pregnant women.
- BHA (aka butylated hyrdroxyanisole). Banned in Europe, this substance has strong evidence of being a carcinogen and a known hormone disruptor.
- Boric Acid or Sodium borate. Also restricted in Europe and known to disrupt male hormones.
- Heavy metals—especially lead in dark hair dyes and mercury in some skin lighteners. Lead is a naturally occurring element in the ground and so many plant-based products may contain minute amounts of it. Ideally, all manufacturers test their botanical sources for heavy metal contamination, especially botanicals from overseas. High levels of heavy metals in the body disrupt biological detoxification processes and are linked with higher rates of everything from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease.
- PEG aka “polyethelyne glycol” or “Carbomax Sentry.” PEGs are frequently used in household products and cosmetics and are often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen.
- Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers like Bromopol, DMDM Hydrantoin and Quanterium-15. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen used commonly as a preservative.
- Preservatives that end in “-thiazolinone” like “Methylisothiazolinone,” for example, are skin irritants and there's some evidence that they may be neurotoxic.
- Triclosan and triclocarban in antimicrobial soaps can disrupt thyroid and reproductive hormones.
You’re not alone!
It’s good to keep these harmful chemicals in mind when you shop, but if reading the fine print on every bottle has you cross-eyed, it’s understandable.
I have made some important lifestyle changes in order to stay healthy. I closely examined the everyday products I used and found that many harbored harmful metals and chemicals that can adversely impact overall health. That is why I am here to help educate you about which ingredients are safe and which are not.
Here are 7 easy ways to eliminate these toxins from your life:
1. Put your mobile device to work.
An app called Think Dirty Shop Clean allows you to can scan a barcode and learn which products in your medicine cabinet are the worst offenders.
2. Do the research.
The Environmental Working Group has a great database of products called Skin Deep, where you can plug in tens of thousands of products and find out how harmful or clean they really are according to best the scientific research available. It's also available as an app.
3. Ask a trusted practitioner, like an integrative doctor or naturopath, for guidance.
He or she can review your products or recommend the ones they trust and love. In my practice, I’m always encouraging clients to take a hard look at the soaps, cleaning products, body care, and makeup they use at home. And if you utilize a house cleaning service, make sure that they use a “green” & non-toxic products.
4. Detox your beauty cabinet
Chemicals like parabens are added to personal care products to keep bacteria and mold from growing in the packaging. These additives are considered endocrine disruptors, which can lead to hormone-related cancers in adults and early onset of puberty in girls. Parabens can be found in many household items, including cosmetics, lotions, soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, fragrances and soaps. Read labels carefully and choose products with a short list of all-natural ingredients.
5. Replace the products you use heavily and regularly every day like lotions and moisturizers first.
I make my own Ayurvedic body oils using organic base oils like sesame, sunflower, and coconut. I then add my favorite essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, and Moroccan rose, to make them aromatherapeutic and herbally active.
6. Replace your shower curtain
Vinyl shower curtains are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can release chemical fumes that linger in your home for months and can impact your health. I now use a water-resistant cotton shower liner made with organic fabric.
One fact about vinyl chloride I find extra scary is this: An excess of spontaneous abortions has been reported among spouses of workers who had been exposed to vinyl chloride (Hazardous Substance fact Sheet).
Yes, I realize this wasn’t from exposure in the shower, but the fact is that if it can do this much damage secondhand, it’s not safe to have around in an area where it’s used daily, especially in a shower, because the chemicals used to make PVC are released under warm and moist conditions, thus making a shower a dangerous place for these already hazardous compounds. What makes them leach is that the additives to PVC do not form a chemical bond with the plastic but exist within the PVC as a mixture. As a result plasticisers and other additives can migrate from the PVC polymer into the environment (Greenpeace).
If you are looking for something on the more affordable side, especially if you are looking to make a quick change, a nylon shower curtain is the way to go. This is the one I have. I was a little wary upon purchase, as I got it to double as a liner and as a curtain and I wasn’t sure if it would leak, being made of a light fabric, but I have had it for five months now and there has been no leakage and no mold, to boot. It’s really more liner material. You can also choose a curtain made out of hemp material or organic cotton.
7. Replace your sheets and towels
Certain fabrics may be laced with toxic chemicals. I have started removing all the towels and sheets from my home and replacing them with items made with organic, all-natural fibers.
Get Even Healthier!!
If you are wanting to create more health and wellness in your life, find the support and accountability you need to make a change. The time is NOW.
Through a holistic approach, I support clients in their quests for health, wholeness, and joy. Using nutrition as a starting point, I work with you as partners in health. Together we will reset your natural vitality, reveal your most radiant self, recharge your relationships, and experience exquisite nourishment. Would you like to create and maintain whole-self wellness? Let's get started!
P.S. Share with us your favorite products in the comments below!!