Have you ever tried to read the full ingredients list on the back of your shampoo bottle? Do you stand in your shower for a couple of seconds trying to read the ingredient after “aqua”? You’re not alone and chances are if you can’t read it, it shouldn’t be going anywhere near your mouth, head, skin, or household!
Many of our moisturizers, house care products, makeup, shampoo, tooth paste, soap, and deodorant are chemical induced and potentially harmful products that we use on a daily basis.
As an avid swimmer, I rely on high quality shampoos and conditioners to keep my hair luxurious and resistant to the chlorine I subject it to on a daily basis. Now I’m sure some of you are thinking “You’re worried about the chemicals in your hygiene products when you’re swimming in chlorine every morning? There’s your killer right there!” I’m a firm believer in health in balance, this means that if I like swimming, I feel that it’s good for me, and I feel great doing it, I do it. Is chlorine bad for me? It’s not the greatest. Do I take steps in other aspects of my life to lower my toxic load? Heck yes I do!
And there you have it. Health in balance.
So now that we have that out of the way, let’s chat about which products can affect our health and what ingredients we should look out for.
The nasty chemicals in your products
When you place a product on your skin, in your mouth, or on your hair, a portion of the products’ ingredients will be absorbed. If the ingredients are toxic (which many store bought brands are) they can contribute to the development of breast cancer, heart disease, birth defects, memory loss, and depression.
These toxic, carcinogenic (cancer causing)ingredients are commonly referred to as the “Dirty dozen” or “Toxic 12”. When you’re reading through your shampoo bottle, see if you can match up any of the following ingredients:
- Dioxins: can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer
- Diethanolamine (DEA): affects eyes, skin, respiratory system by irritating membranes inducing sneezing, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, headache, and nausea
- Parabens: mimics the effects of estrogen in the body
- Phenylenediamine (PPD): main ingredient in hair dyes, culprit of contributing to itchy and irritated scalp after dying your hair
- Phthalates: the famous “new car smell”. Potentially cancer causing, issues with adult infertility, and dangerous for pregnant women.
- Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS, SLES): makes our products foam up while being used and causes skin corrosion and is a known carcinogen
- Toluene: attacking the nervous system and brain functioning
- Triclosan: used mainly in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent. Due to the anti-bacterial function of Triclosan, heavy users of this chemical will begin to develop antibiotic resistant bacteria. Is also irritating to the skin and eyes, and as very toxic to aquatic organisms
- Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol: found in skin firming lotions, brake fluid, antifreeze, and tile grout. Can cause throat irritation, headache, backache, kidney problems, edema (swelling), necrosis (cell death)
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)- Formaldehyde: this one always surprises me. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, shown to be toxic to human cells yet it can be found in deodorants, lotions, makeup, but is also an ingredient in brake fluid, floor wax, and de-icer. The danger warning on formaldehyde advises users to wash immediately if it has contact with your skin… yet we put this same ingredient on our bodies every day.
Many of these toxins are endocrine disruptors aka they’ve been known to interfere with our endocrine (hormone) systems. Our hormones contribute to our ability to maintain homeostasis or balance throughout our body. Without our hormones managing normal cell metabolism, reproduction, development, and behavior, we become more susceptible to disease.
Where are you going to find products that don’t contain these chemicals? Stay tuned…