Take a moment to think about the personal care products you use and give as gifts. Take a good look at the hand soap, face soap, face lotion, toner, make-up remover, shampoo, conditioner, gel, body lotion, deodorant, hair spray, perfume, shave lotion and make-up. Do you know how many hazards you are exposing yourself and your loved ones to? Not sure? Go to the Skin Deep database and look up your products. You’ll probably find that the number is probably a frightening one. It’s time to start looking at natural beauty options.
The Environmental Working Group estimates that the average person uses up to 25 products a day and each product contains multiple chemicals (take a look: Toxic Burden). When thinking about the hundreds of chemicals we expose ourselves to on a daily basis- from lead in lipstick to hormone-disrupting chemicals in bath products- it’s no wonder why cancer rates are high, autism rates have soared and umbilical cord blood is loaded with toxic chemicals.
The Role of the FDA in Beauty Products
Contrary to popular belief, cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval. Instead, it’s the manufacturers’ responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. Unfortunately, the best interest of the consumers has not been upheld (check out this video by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: The Story of Cosmetics) and it rests upon our shoulders to ensure the products that we use are safe. Protecting ourselves from these toxic chemicals is especially necessary during pregnancy and while nursing since these toxins can transfer from mom to developing baby. Studies have confirmed that pregnant women are exposed to many hazardous chemicals, some that have even been banned for some time.
The skin is a body’s largest organ and is our first line of defense. It is also very porous and readily absorbs products we use on our skin. Once absorbed through the pores of the skin, the chemicals are absorbed into the blood stream, where they make their way through our circulatory system and to our vital organs.
With holiday parties around the corner, let’s take a look at the products we use to get ourselves beautified and find out how we can begin eliminating hazardous chemicals and heavy metals.
Do you use Clinique? Maybeline? Cover Girl? MAC? You might be surprised that many of these brands contain lead, phthalates and parabens. There is good news…not all make-up is toxic. Some healthier choices include brands like Miessence, Ava Anderson, Zosimos Botanicals and Rejuva Minerals. You can even make your own cosmetics out of everyday items. Learn how by visiting Tree Hugger.
Nail Salons and Spas
Who doesn’t love a good mani and pedi? However, when walking into a nail salon, the smell of chemicals is over powering. Many cities now have ecosalons (find one in your area by visiting Spa Index).
If you don’t have an ecosalon close by, you can still make your salon experience a healthy one. Make your own spa kit and include:
- Your own tools (i.e. nail clipper, buffer, emry board, etc)
- Natural nail polish (such as Acquarella, Scotch Naturals and Keeki Pure and Simple)
- Non-toxic nail polish remover (i.e. Acquarella or Priti Soy Nail Polish Remover)
Also, try to choose a nail salon that is clean and does not have a strong chemical odor.
In part 2 of this article we will discuss hair care, soaps, deodorants and perfumes. Remember don’t get overwhelmed, it’s all about reducing you and your family’s exposure.