Your shampoo, makeup, and deodorant choices affect your health.
Health is not just what we eat and how we exercise - it’s also what we’re putting onto our bodies. SO… let’s talk personal care products!
Why does it matter what kind of hair/skin/beauty/hygiene products we use?
Unfortunately, your body doesn’t have a magic force field that keeps everything out but nutrients. What touches your skin and what you breathe in does make its way into your body.
Second unfortunately, the chemicals and fragrances used in personal care products aren’t regulated. This means that the “natural” label plastered all over products means nothing.
The chemicals and fragrances in personal care products can be carcinogens, damaging to the gut lining, endocrine disruptors, and toxic heavy metals.
Our exposure to these products is variable, but only you can control what you put onto your body. Changing these products is an important piece in the puzzle of health. For women especially, it is an essential part of maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle, preventing cancer, and keeping our bodies free of harmful toxins.
Here’s a quick look at the top 5 ingredients to be on the lookout for:
Aluminum (found in deodorant) is a heavy metal that has been shown to accumulate in breast tissue and interferes with estrogen metabolism.
Parabens (found in deodorant, makeup, body wash, shampoo, facial cleaners) is an endocrine disruptor, mimicking estrogen. Exogenous estrogen is an issue for many women, contributing to estrogen dominance and may ultimately contribute to estrogen linked cancers.
Fragrance (found in pretty much everything… including pads/tampons) is a classification of completely unregulated compounds. Endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, and respiratory irritants. Fragrances are often a big jumble of lots of chemicals.
Phthalates (nail polish, perfume, makeup, lotion, deodorant, hairspray) are, again, endocrine disruptors.
Synthetic colors are known carcinogens. Labels might say FD&C or D&C, Blue 1, etc.
What can we do instead?
#1 Knowledge is power - research and read labels! Do yourself a favor and look into a product before you purchase. The EWG’s Skin Deep database is an excellent starting point to find products that are safest.
#2 Look for alternatives. There are many DIY versions of beauty products out there, find what works for you! Consider using essential oils. Choose products without fragrance (especially for pads/tampons).
#3 Here’s where we start to talk about what we eat/how we exercise again…
For some personal care products, there is no replacement ...BUT for some of the problems that these products address, diet can offer help too. For exmaple:
Dry skin - instead of lotion, consider how your hydration and intake of omega-3’s is going. Dry skin can be a result of a harsh winter, but constant dry skin can speak to a nutrition issue.
Breakouts - instead of applying harsh chemicals to keep breakouts at bay, consider working with a nutritionist to address why breakouts are happening for you.
Sweat - well, I think we all agree the world is a better place with deodorant ...but the smell and amount of sweat you produce can also be affected but what you eat and how your body is functioning.
This is a big topic. When we make the commitment to purchase personal care products free of toxins it can be a process and won’t happen overnight. The biggest thing is to be AWARE. The more you can be conscious of what you are putting on your body, the easier it will become to make a change.