7 Daily Personal Products: Don’t You Know That They’re Toxic?

HOLD THE PHONE, BRITNEY…

What I’m putting on my body is TOXIC?

Most likely, yes; unless you’ve already been schooled on what to look for when buying your personal hygiene and beauty products.

Even if your diet is squeaky clean, comprising of only the purest and freshest organic foods, your body is probably still chock-full of toxins. In fact, babies in America are born with an average of 200 toxins present, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans, pesticides, chemicals from flame retardants, industrial lubricants, and plastics, among others. As I’m currently expecting our fourth baby, this was an eye-opening fact, and one I’d like to minimize as much as I can help it!

None of us really suspect we may be putting endocrine-disrupting, hormone-hijacking, immune-system-destroying, cancer-causing ingredients and chemicals in our bodies…simply by doing our regular hygiene and beauty regimen. Few of us think twice when purchasing our favorite soaps, shampoos, and lipsticks, because that’s what the FDA is there for, right? To ensure the safety of our products?

NOPE.

Not convinced? Then these two quick facts will shock you:

1. The United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. The FDA can only ask companies to voluntarily recall products, and manufacturers are not legally required to disclose adverse health effects reported by consumers.

2. To date, Europe has banned more than 1,300 chemicals known to cause reproductive issues, birth defects, and cancers, among other problems. Meanwhile in America, the FDA has banned only eleven. That’s right: ELEVEN. For example: formaldehyde, lead, and phthalates have been found to be extremely harmful to humans, yet are commonly found in our beauty and personal care products, and none of us bat an eye over that (unless you’ve had an adverse eye reaction as a result like I have). To make things even more confusing, once you do know what harmful ingredients to look out for when shopping for your next product, keep in mind that companies are not legally required to list all their ingredients. Sketchy, right? This is why I personally only recommend a handful of brands that are committed to full disclosure and safety. My family shouldn’t be unnecessarily exposed to all these toxins, and neither should yours!

That said, please resist the thought that hope is lost and we’re all doomed.  There is something we can do, and there are companies of integrity that provide safe, high-quality products we can use with confidence. The very reason I stand 100% behind companies like Beauty Counter is for their commitment to honesty, quality, and pursuit of real change in the industry as a whole. Beauty Counter has banned more than 1,500 ingredients from their products, setting a new health and safety standard…and I FREAKING LOVE THAT.

To help you get an idea of what’s in popular products on shelves today (and likely in your very own bathroom), check out the seven points below, and the safe alternative brands I personally vouch for.

1.soap

toxic-soap-ingredients

Ingredients To Watch Out For:

Fragrance: If you see the vague description “fragrance,” be wary. Most of the time, synthetic chemicals and cancer-causing toxins like phthalates (used to make fragrances last longer) are hiding under the sneaky term “fragrance.” Constant exposure to fragrances has been shown to negatively impact the central nervous system, resulting in allergies, migraines and asthma symptoms. 

Parabens: Once applied to the skin, parabens enter the bloodstream, and the body mistakes them for estrogen. If the body thinks there is an abnormally high amount of estrogen in the bloodstream due to the of these hormone disrupters, this results in things such as decreasing muscle mass, increasing fat deposits, early onset of puberty, and reproductive issues in both men and women. Huge bummer side effects for those working so hard to lose weight!!

Sulfates: Common sulfates are SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate). Sulfates strip the skin of natural oils, increasing penetration of the skin’s surface. They are also irritants for people with sensitive skin or eczema. According to the American College of Toxicology, SLS may stay within the body for up to five days, accumulating in the heart, liver, lungs and brain.

Triclosan: This chemical is commonly found in antibacterial soaps and products. Many recent studies have found that triclosan actually promotes the re-emergence and growth of bacteria resistant to antibiotic cleansers. It also creates dioxins, which have disruptive effects on the endocrine system and negatively impact thyroid function. Additionally…dioxin is the primary toxic component of Agent Orange. DANG. Stay far away from that stuff!

trusted brands: DR BRONNERS, THE HONEST COMPANY, or DIY

2.Toothpaste

Toothpasteonbrush

INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Triclosan: As mentioned previously, triclosan is extremely harmful to humans. I should also add that triclosan is classified as a pesticide, and categorized by scientists as a chlorophenol, suspected to cause cancer.

Sulfates: See #1 for details on the effects of sulfates like SLS and SLES. Also notable: when combined with certain other chemicals, SLS transforms into nitrosamines, a class of powerful carcinogens that cause the body to absorb harmful nitrates. No bueno.

Propylene Glycol: An active ingredient in antifreeze, propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent in toothpaste. The chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, and prolonged contact leads to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA doesn’t allow its workers to handle propylene glycol without wearing rubber gloves, yet the chemical is freely used in common health care products.

DEA: Diethanolamine, or DEA, is commonly found in products that foam, including toothpaste. DEA disrupts hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates. Repeated skin exposure to DEA can lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers.

Trusted brands: THE HONEST COMPANYDR BRONNERS, TOMS, DOTERRA

3.Shampoo & conditioner

Wash_your_hair

INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Sulfates: Geez, again with the sulfates! Can we get these out of our products, or what?  Sodium laureate sulfate (SLES) is particularly harmful, as it goes through an ethoxylation process, which creates the byproduct dioxane, a carcinogenic ingredient.

Polysorbates: This ingredient causes a reaction with the scalp and the skin (in face and body products). It often leaves a residue on the skin, disrupting the skin’s natural pH, and emulsifies lipids in the natural protective barrier.

Propylene Glycol: Used as a solvent to incorporate products into a formula, often listed as PEG. These are also ethoxylated and known carcinogenic chemicals.

Amodimethicone: A silicone-based polymer used to seal in moisture, it leaves your hair with that silky smooth feeling. The problem is that the scalp cannot breathe, which can lead to hair thinning.

Trusted brands: Beauty Counter, THE HONEST COMPANY, DOTERRA

4.Body wash

closeup on young woman washing in bathtub. rear view

INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Triclosan: In case you want a reminder…Antibiotic resistance. Pesticide. Carcinogen. Agent Orange. ‘Nuff said.

Sulfates: Again, major no-go.

Propylene Glycol: Known carcinogenic.

Trusted brands: BEAUTY COUNTER,THE HONEST COMPANY, Dr Bronners, or DIY

5.Deodorant

getty_rf_photo_of_woman_applying_deodorant

INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

1. Aluminum Compounds: Aluminum compounds block the pores from sweating, and may interfere with the ability of hormone receptors to correctly process estrogen. The use of aluminum in personal products is linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

2. Parabens: This substance mimics estrogen. To remember why this is bad, revisit #1.

3. Propylene glycol: Revisit #2. 

4. Triclosan: Kindly refresh yourself on #1, 2 and 4. This stuff is everywhere! 😦

5. Steareths: These are usually listed with a number next to the ingredient. Steareths go through the ethoxylation process, which, as you now know, produces carcinogenic dioxanes.

Trusted brands: TOMS, THE HONEST COMPANY

6.Makeup

img001

INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

1. DEA: See #2.

2. Parabens: See #1 and 5.

3. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: See #1, 2, 3 and 4.

4. Triclosan: See #1, 2, 4 and 5.

5. Formaldehyde: Known carcinogen. Specifically look for the names DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15.

6. Petrolatum: A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a carcinogenic.

7. Siloxanes: Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Often listed as an ingredient ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.”

8. PEG Compounds: Often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogenic.

9. Fragrance: See #1.

10. Phthalates: Used as plasticizers in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant.

11. Coal tar dyes: P-phenylenediamine and colors listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number. May be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.

12. BHA and BHT: Suspected endocrine disruptors, and carcinogenic (BHA).

 Trusted brands: BEAUTY COUNTER

7.Facial cleanser

face-wash

INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

1. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: See #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6

2. Fragrance: See #1 and 6.

3. Parabens: See #1, 5 and 6.

4. Propylene Glycol: See #2 and 5.

5. Petrolatum: See #6.

Trusted brands: BEAUTY COUNTER, DOTERRA, THE HONEST COMPANY

I sincerely hope this helps steer you in the direction of using safer, healthier products that won’t load you and your family up with toxins on a daily basis. Notice that we didn’t even touch on other commonly used items like dishwashing soap and laundry detergent. I personally recommend going with The Honest Company for those two items, or get hands-on with a less expensive DIY option.

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