Detoxification Through Natural Personal Care Products – Step 3
We must remember that our skin absorbs anything we put on it. It’s a bit like a huge sponge. I discussed this in the post “What are the bad things in life to be avoided?”. Anything that’s on our skin is also in our bodies. That sounds a bit scary, but this is a very important way that toxins get into our bodies that we generally disregard.
Personal care products are one of the big sources of toxins that end up invading our bodies and causing the stress of their elimination. Here are some examples of the potential problems.
Not just something we put on our skin, but something we put in our mouths. Unlike food, we generally don’t swallow it, but it can obviously get into our bodies. Have you ever considered the ingredients in common, commercial toothpaste? It doesn’t take much of a search to find pages like this that warn of all the harmful chemicals contained in common toothpastes. Some of the things to be concerned about are sodium fluoride, sodium laurel sulphate (only added to create a foaming effect so it looks like it’s working, but this substance is toxic to the body), triclosan (keeps bacteria out of the toothpaste, but is toxic and classified by the EPA as a dangerous pesticide), artificial sweeteners like sodium saccharin (a lot of debate about whether it causes cancer or not, but why take the risk?), artificial colourings, artificial flavourings and artificial perfumes. Wow! And these are just a few. What a dangerous cocktail of chemicals for our bodies. What can we do about this?
Natural Personal Care Products
One of the main themes of this post is that there are alternatives to common commercial personal care products like toothpaste. There are companies that make much more natural products that are kinder to our bodies.
These companies don’t have the advertising budget of the huge conventional companies, so we generally haven’t heard of them.
Making natural alternatives is more expensive than using lots of cheap, nasty chemicals, so the big companies really don’t want to make them because they’d make less profit. Once again, they don’t really care about you or the environment. They are after profits.
I have reasonable experience with two natural personal care product companies in the U.S. and two in Europe. These are Burt’s Bees and Tom’s of Maine in the U.S. and Melvita and Weleda in Europe. I’d happily recommend these four companies as huge improvements over the conventional companies you hear about all the time and are probably patronising right now. Just switching to products from more natural companies will significantly help detoxify your body.
My favourite toothpaste right now is from Melvita. It doesn’t contain fluoride or anything artificial. There’s a big debate on fluoride, and many arguments on the side for it and against it. So far, I haven’t seen anything convincing for it and I’ve seen some stuff against it that’s really scary. In the end, all I need to do is apply the guiding principle that everything we allow into our bodies should be things we could easily come across in nature, then I’ll avoid fluoride added in my toothpaste.
Guiding principle – everything we allow into our bodies should be things we could easily come across in nature
These are another big source of toxins, and we put them directly on our skin. Let’s not even worry here about how unnatural it is to try and stop your body from perspiring as it was designed to do, let’s just look at the toxic exposure. Again, it doesn’t take much to find scary stuff about deodorants and antiperspirants- see, for example, this post. In just a few minutes, I found the following information about one conventional antiperspirant;
Rexona – Ultra Dry, Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorant – Clinical Protection Anti Perspirant Deodorant for Women
For external use only.
Do not use on broken skin.
Stop use if rash or irritation occurs.
Keep out of reach of children.
Cyclopentasiloxane, Aluminium Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, Dimethicone, Paraffin, Cera Microcrystallina, Fragrance, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Starch Octenyl Succinate, Mannitol, Hydrated Silica, Citric Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Silica, BHT
There’s plenty here to be worried about. Firstly, anything that contains warnings like that is dangerous. It can’t be natural and it’s not good to have near your body. That’s enough for me. If you need more, just try looking at one ingredient like calcium disodium EDTA. One of the ingredients used to make this substance is formaldehyde!! Browsing through a few pages like these (page1, page2, page3) and we can easily see warnings like this for EDTA –
Oral exposures have been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effects.
That’s more than enough for me.
If you’re not worried about this list of toxic chemicals, try thinking this way. What if I fill a bathtub full of calcium disodium EDTA and ask you to sit in it for a few minutes? I’m pretty sure you’d say no. But you’re happy to put it directly on your skin through your anti-perspirant or deodorant. Remember putting it on you skin is the same as putting it in your body. Effectively the same as putting it in your mouth.
Today, I’m using a deodorant (I won’t use an anti-perspirant for the argument I made above) from Tom’s of Maine. I’m very happy with this and I’m pleased to know that less toxins are in my body as a result.
Ah, simple soap. What could be the problem with that? Well, the ingredients in the well known “Dove” soap are listed as (from this page);
Sodium Lauroyl Istethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.
There’s a whole range of potentially terrible chemicals here (just like in any conventional personal care product). It’s worth being concerned over anything that’s unnatural, but let’s just consider the Yellow 5 artificial coloring. Even in an article by Dr. Oz, he notes how this coloring is linked to ADHD in children.
All of these artificial chemicals and there potential dangers are not to be ignored, especially in something you are going to smear all over your skin and certainly when there are plenty of alternatives.
I’ve used some soaps from Tom’s of Maine that we’re made without any of these toxins and they were very nice.
Today I’m using a soap that’s even more natural.
It’s a Neem soap, where the only ingredients are coconut oil, palm oil, castor oil, sesame oil and neem oil (with natural perfumes from essential oils). The Neem tree is a medicinal tree from India. I really like the feel of this soap and enjoy using it, and I’m glad to know it’s 100% natural.
Don’t forget the hand soaps you might have all around the house. These are all potential sources of toxic load for your body. Also, the shower gel you might use. I’ve used a natural shower gel from Melvita and it was very agreeable. Today, I prefer the Neem soap.
I can remember from when I was very little, that you had to “be careful not to get soap in your eyes, because it stings”. Well, if we’re using a natural soap, it shouldn’t really be a problem if it gets in our eyes, or even our mouths.
I certainly find that getting natural soap in my eyes is not really a problem.
I don’t do it on purpose, but if some gets in my eyes, I don’t have any violent sensation if stinging. That’s a good sign.
This is a big one. This is a substance you consciously “rub into” your skin. Do you ever wonder where it goes? It’s going into you body. If there are toxins in these products, that’s going to be a source of stress for your system. A typical conventional product here contains, once again, a long list of artificial colours, fragrances and unnatural, toxic chemicals.
Once again there are much more natural alternatives. As an example, Burt’s Bees has a really nice range of creams for the face, eyes, feet and hands. They are really nice to use.
However, how natural can we go?
Some people say you should not put anything on your skin that you’re not prepared to put in your mouth.
Well today, I happen to be using almond oil as a face moisturiser. Pure, extra virgin, cold pressed almond oil. I’m very happy with this. I think it does the best job of actually moisturising of anything I’ve tried, and it couldn’t be more natural and it’s absolutely fine to go in my mouth (most people buy it to put on salads and other foods). I’ve also tried coconut oil, which works very well, but my preference for now is almond oil. I’d have to recommend that you give this a try.
This is a huge topic, worthy of post on its own. As an Australian, I was brought up to believe that we needed to put this all over our exposed skin anytime we’re in the sun. I was very commonly slapping huge quantities of chemicals on my skin and “reapplying every 3-4 hours”. From my childhood, I remember occasions of very bad sunburn, with blisters, and I certainly wanted to avoid that. I was led to believe that such sunburn would lead to skin cancer. I never gave it a second thought that my skin was now soaking up a range of toxic chemicals every day to avoid this.
There are certainly more natural ways to avoid sunburn. For example, just don’t be in the sun for too long. Sit under a tree. Easy. In Australia, we were made so scared of sun exposure that even 20 minutes in the sun required a sun screen. They even sell face moisturisers for daily use that contain sunscreen chemicals.
In fact, new research is now suggesting that the act of regularly putting toxic chemicals on our skin is a cause of skin cancer. Other research showing that lack of exposure to sun causes vitamin D deficiency (this is well known) and that one of the side effects of vitamin D deficiency is skin cancer (for example, see the FoodMatters movie). And yet, further research showing that sunscreens don’t block all the types of ultraviolet radiation and that when only one is allowed into the skin, that increases the risk of skin cancer.
However, let’s apply the rule that we are made to be natural and should be as natural as possible. Sunlight is natural and is a life force for our planet.
It’s only natural for us to get some sun and we’d naturally avoid so much of it to avoid burning. Putting toxic chemicals on our skin is not natural. We should stop doing that. It doesn’t matter if the research mentioned above is true or not, we should get a little sun whenever possible and we should not put toxins on our skin. I’m happy with that.
Luckily, if we do have to be exposed to the sun for extended periods, there are more natural sunscreens available. You just have to try and find them. I’ve used some sunscreen products from Burt’s Bees and from Kiss My Face.
Other personal care products
There are many more personal care products to be concerned about like shaving cream, lip gloss, mouthwash and cosmetics in general. We don’t need to go into all of them because the same theory applies. We don’t need to know all of the details of all of the chemicals in each of these products. We just have to apply the principle that anything we put on or in our bodies should be natural products and not artificial. Avoid ingredients that look like you’d need Ph.D in chemistry to understand. Avoid products with artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives, sweeteners, etc.
Our bodies don’t deserve to be loaded up with toxins.
More small steps towards detoxification
This is the third post in the following detoxification series. As the posts become live, the links below will become active.
- Detoxification Through Organic Food – Step 1
- Detoxification Through Avoiding Alcohol – Step 2
- Detoxification Through Natural Personal Care Products – Step 3 (this post)
- Detoxification Through Natural Cleaning Products – Step 4
- Detoxification Through Water – Step 5
- Detoxification Through Eliminating Medications – Step 6
- Detoxification Through Eliminating Mercury Fillings – Step 7
I’d love to hear you thoughts and experiences on toxic personal care products and their alternatives. Please leave a comment. Thanks.