Hey, we know it’s virtually impossible to avoid all the things that are supposed to be bad for us today, but think about it – the skin is the body’s largest organ. Anything harmful that you lather on is going to get absorbed right into the bloodstream, and the products that don’t get sucked up like a sponge end up going down the drain and into the environment, which is the second-worst place they could be. Here are the top culprits to look out for – and because we prefer to be positive, some great natural alternatives:
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT(butylated hydroxytoluene)
These synthetic preservatives are often found in moisturizers. There is some evidence that it interferes with hormone function, and is absolutely toxic to marine life. A great natural moisturizer that is super kind to your skin is sweet almond oil – massage it in before bedtime and wake up to soft, nourished skin.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate
Often used in shampoos and shower gel, the problem is not the sodium laureth sulphate itself but the fact that it can be contaminated with ethelyne oxide, which is bad news for the nervous system. Another risk is SLS’s potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. There are lots of great organic, sulphate-free shampoos you can switch to (check out this list).
The scary thing about this category is that we don’t really know what it is. Companies do not have to disclose what chemicals are added to perfume creams, deodorant and make up, and as many of us with sensitive skin have found out the hard way, these secret additives can be extreme irritants causing burning, rashes, dermatitis, headaches and respiratory problems. For a safer way to smell great, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to unfragranced products like shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer.
This worrying group of chemicals is used as a preservative in lots of products, including deodorants. This is pretty serious, as they have been linked to estrogenic activity, and we’re starting to see that excess estrogen could lead to reproductive cancers. For really sweaty situations, you can easily find paraben-free antiperspirants or natural deodorants in your local health food store, but for cooler temperatures or just before bed for instance a gentle powder like arrowroot, cornstarch, or rice flour (you could mix them together and add essential oil) would keep you soft and dry too.
To help you making an informed choice
Dont forget to check for labels indicating your cosmetics have not been tested on animals, nowadays, there is no need to torture innocent creatures to create cosmetics and you don’t have to support these methods. The recently launched GoodGuide.com website is helping us finding safe, healthy, green and ethical products based on scientific ratings.
Photo credit: The4thMonkey.com