A few years ago I used to suffer from fairly regular migraines. These headaches were so intense, that I would oftentimes be non-functional. I then went through a period of time when these head aches no longer plagued me like they used to, and I forgot about them.
A year or so later I ran out of foundation (I had started using a natural makeup foundation), and in an emergency situation I bought some cheap foundation to use because I was going to an event. I ended up with one of the worst migraines I had had in years. It took me a few more incidences like this before I finally put two and two together, and realized that the foundation was causing my migraines.
Once I figured this out, I decided to really look into the beauty products that I was using. I became much more conscious of what I put on my skin, and the chemicals that are present in most products these days.
The skin is the largest organ of the body, and it absorbs everything that we put on it. Think about it: You can absorb medicine through a patch placed on skin, right? Think about nicotine patches and birth control patches. They work because the skin absorbs what is put on it.
If this is the case, your skin is absorbing everything that goes on it from makeup, to lotion, to perfume.
Most of the time we focus on what we’re consuming as far as food goes, when it’s just as important to be looking at what is getting absorbed through the skin.
Here’s a video where my girl Mo and I talk about natural beauty products, and why we avoid chemicals. We recently went to an event at Fig & Flower in Atlanta, and learned about natural beauty products and some cool new products that are available. I can’t decide if the random lady that video-bombed are video was just crazy hilarious, or freaky weird. Perhaps it’s both.
Think about it ladies. If you put it on your lips, not only is it absorbing through your skin, but you’re also eating that stuff. It’s going into your mouth and through your digestive system. Blech. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t enjoy eating lipstick or lip gloss.
Chemicals to watch out for: Lead, Aluminum, Cadmium, Chromium, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, and Tocopheryl Acetate.
There’s been a lot of information and study lately into the effects of Vitamin D deficiency on the body. Skin cancer is prevalent and has actually been linked to a lack of Vitamin D in the body. I’ve long since believed that the overuse of sunscreen is actually what is increasing skin cancer vs. the sun exposure itself. Sunscreens not only block the body absorbing much-needed Vitamin D, but also contain carcinogenic chemicals in them that are absorbing into the bloodstream through the skin.
Chemicals to watch out for: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate), Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene.
Here’s some more information on the Environmental Working Group website.
Cheap foundations have made it pretty evident to me that they aren’t good for us (those migraines were no joke). If we look at the chemicals going into them, we find a not-so-pretty picture of beauty. Most of the chemicals found in foundations are endocrine disruptors. Since the Endocrine system regulates all biological processes in the body, these should be avoided like the plague!
Chemicals to watch out for: Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben.
Antiperspirants contain things like aluminum and other ingredients that eliminate odor by blocking it from escaping through the pores under your arm. There are two main issues with this: 1. Blocking toxins from escaping from the body means they have to go somewhere. And what’s right next to the armpits ladies and gents? That’s right…the breasts. If those toxins can’t get out, then where are they going? Makes you think… 2. The chemicals in these products are adding more toxins that get absorbed into the skin under the arms.
So if you are using a deodorant/antiperspirant with chemicals in it, you’re both blocking toxins from getting out and adding more toxins in.
I strongly believe that this is one of the main reasons that breast cancer has become such an epidemic.
Chemicals to watch out for: Aluminum, Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Diethanolamine, Triclosan, and Talc.
When you see the term “fragrance” you should automatically think “chemical sh*t-storm.” It’s used in perfumes, shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, lip glosses, and so many other products and it is not usually regulated by the FDA. “Fragrance” means you’re almost always looking at chemicals that have been linked to a myriad of diseases including cancer.
“When you see ‘fragrance’ on a personal care product’s label, read it as ‘hidden chemicals.’ A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of products like shampoo, lotion, and body wash include nearly any ingredient in their products under the name ‘fragrance’ without actually listing the chemical.
Companies that manufacture personal care products are required by law to list the ingredients they use, but fragrances and trade-secret formulas are exempt.” – The Environmental Working Group (EWG)
According to EWG, the average product that contains the word “fragrance” contains 14 chemical compounds that haven’t been disclosed on the label.
Chemicals to watch out for: Aside from the term “fragrance,” also watch out for Parabens, Phthalates, and Synthetic Musks.
Mascara is one of the big sources of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. This is going on your lashes and into your eyes. Yuck! I don’t know about you, but I prefer to not have formaldehyde in my eyes. Just a preference of mine, though…
Chemicals to watch out for: Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, and Quaternium 15 and quaternium 22 (both release formaldehyde as they break down).
The biggest problem with lotions, besides the chemicals in them of course, is that we are applying them every day and even multiple times a day. The build-up of the chemicals happens in the liver and fatty tissues over time. Just think about it….if you are putting on lotion 365 days a year, every day of your life, what is going to happen with these chemicals over time? The build-up leads to disease and toxicity in the body.
Chemicals to watch out for: Parabens, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Alcohols, Fragrance, and Aluminum.
I’ve talked a lot about products and chemicals absorbing through the skin, but now it’s time to also mention the toxins you’re breathing in from some of these products. First and foremost, stay away from aerosols when it comes to hairspray. These are bad for you and the environment. Secondly, hairsprays have actually been linked to diabetes.
The same chemicals that are found in hairspray are also found in nail polish. Its harmful fumes are just as bad if not worse.
Chemicals to watch out for: Phthalates, Alcohols (these are flammable ladies!), Polyvinylpyrrolidine, and Polydimethylsiloxane.
Looking for a DIY alternative? Try this DIY Natural Hair Spray from Whole New Mom.
Did you know that the same chemicals that are used as degreasing agents in car washes are used in your shampoo to make it foam up? You don’t necessarily even need the foaming action, but clever marketing has made us think a good shampoo must foam up in order to clean properly. If you’re interested in using a more natural method, check out some more information on the “No-Poo Method” and try this natural DIY shampoo recipe.
The toxins found prevalent in shampoos and conditioners have been linked to things like organ toxicity, mutations, cancer, weight gain, hormone imbalance, headaches, weakness, and so many others.
Chemicals to watch out for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Dioxane, Diethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, and MSG.
Read more on toxic shampoos and conditioners on Dr. Mercola.
10. Body Wash/Soap.
Chemicals in body washes and soaps have been linked to auto-immune diseases, cancer, skin/organ toxicity, skin irritation, burns, and rashes. If you’re washing every single day, then you’re piling on these doses of toxins on a daily basis – that’s scary! And this doesn’t even mention the risks and problems associated with so much anti-bacterial soap use. With the overuse of anti-bacterial products, we’re seeing more and more strain-resistant bacteria as it becomes resistant over time.
Chemicals to watch out for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Triclosan, and DMDM hydantoin (antimicrobial).
Looking at each of these products individually can seem scary enough, but combine them all together into your daily routines and your body becomes a cesspool of toxins.
But don’t stress and freak out because you think you need to head to the store right away to buy all new products. Make your changes gradual so you don’t stress yourself out and over time you’ll be using all natural products. Here are a few of my recommendations:
1. Use coconut oil as a body moisturizer and leave-in hair conditioner.
2. Use a castile soap or charcoal soap for cleansing.
4. Make your own natural deodorant.
5. Use essential oils for natural fragrance. I dilute vanilla extract and orange oil in water, and use that as a body mist. People always remark about how nice I smell! 🙂
6. Switch to using natural makeup products. EWG.org lists products and their toxicity scores.
8. Switch to using coconut oil for your natural sunscreen or use one of these safe sunscreens.
9. Beautycounter has a myriad of products that are safe, and it’s the only line of makeup that I now use.
What are some of your tips for using natural beauty products? I’d love to know your recommendations or any fun DIY recipes that you’ve come up with!
*Chemical names and information can be found on EWG.org.