I’ve written about toxic health & beauty products before, but it really registered with me again last week and I wanted to share more info. After many years of waffling about getting my eyeliner permanently tattooed, I finally bit the bullet and did it last week! More about that in another post soon…this post is about toxins in soaps and shampoos. Is your shower making you sick?
I was given strict after-care instructions for helping my new eyeliner tattoos to heal properly. These instructions included washing my eyes and face daily with “Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser” for a week. Not being familiar with “Cetaphil”, I went in search of it, and found it at our local drug store. But when I read the list of ingredients, as I always do, I was shocked. Right away I noticed that five of the listed ingredients are toxins.
According to EWG’s SkinDeep, (the science-based database of toxins found in our health & beauty products), Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser contains:
- Three different types of toxic Parabens, which are known endocrine disrupters and have been linked to reproductive disorders, including biochemical and cellular level changes in the reproductive organs
- Propylene glycol, a petroleum product that is the main ingredient in antifreeze…and we all know how toxic antifreeze is!
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate, an irritant to skin, eyes, and lungs, as well as causing organ system toxicity
Wow, and I was supposed to wash my newly tattooed eyes with this stuff? No thanks!
As I looked through the other soaps on the shelf, I found the same ingredients over and over again. It reminded me of just how toxic many of the soaps, shampoos and conditioners are that many people are using on a daily basis. One or two times using these products might not be that bad, but over time the toxins can accumulate and build up in your body.
Do You Read Labels On Your Health & Beauty Products?
Many of you probably read labels when you buy food. But do you read labels on your health & beauty products too? If you aren’t reading labels, or buying organic, non-toxic health & body products from a reputable source, you may be getting your fair share of toxins in your morning shower.
You can familiarize yourself with some of the most toxic ingredients to be on the look out for in this great infographic Pangea Organics.
Your Skin is the Largest Organ in Your Body and Absorbs Up to 60% of Everything it Comes in Contact With.
Recently we stayed with some friends, and in their shower were: Head & Shoulders shampoo, Herbal Essence Conditioner, and Ivory soap. Besides the above-mentioned toxic chemicals, Head & Shoulders contains:
- Selenium sulfide, linked to cancer, ecotoxicology (bad for the planet), and organ system toxicity
- DMDM Hydantion, a form of formaldehyde (remember the stuff they embalm frogs in in high school biology?!) Why would I need this ingredient to clean my hair?!
- Fragrance, a catch-all term for thousands of unregulated chemicals that may make things “smell good”, but can also cause cancer, allergies, and endocrine disruption among other things.
The FDA is NOT Regulating Your Health & Beauty Products
You may think your health & beauty products are “safe” because they are on a store shelf, but it’s a little known fact that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), does NOT regulate any health and beauty care products at all. On the FDA’s own website it states: “Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, cosmetic products and ingredients do not require FDA approval before they go on the market.”
Even “pure, clean, and simple” Ivory soap contains “fragrance”, which can cause cancer and endocrine disruption. Endocrine disruption leads to hormone imbalances, which can lead to excess weight gain and other health issues.
Remember the commercial with the women practically having an orgasm in her shower as she breaths in the fresh “herbal essence” scent? Unfortunately for her, Herbal Essence is equally as toxic — containing at least 11 ingredients that have all been directly linked to cancer. Not exactly what I’d like to condition my hair with…
Not to pick on these products, I’m just using them as examples. There are literally hundreds more just like them on your grocery store and drugstore shelves. Virtually anything by Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, is loaded with toxic chemicals.
Healthy Alternatives to Health & Beauty Products
The good news is that there are several good sources of healthier alternatives to health & beauty products*. Look for natural food stores in your local area. Here are a few you can check out online:
Neil’s Yard Remedies Organic UK-based toxin-free, cruelty-free, GMO-free, organic personal care products
PCC Natural Markets (Seattle Area)
Leave a comment and let me know which unhealthy products you’ve ditched, and which healthier options you switched to. Or let me know your favorite source for healthy beauty products.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, I found a Whole Foods 365 version of “Cetaphil-like” Gentle Skin Cleanser that doesn’t contain any toxins. 🙂
*It’s also worth noting that many companies make two versions of their products, one for Europe where 1,300 toxic chemicals are banned, and another formulae for the US where they can freely use these toxic chemicals. The brand YesTo is one such company. If you buy their products in Whole Foods or a natural food store, they likely say “made in Germany.” But if you buy them in your local drug store, they say, “made in USA” and contain toxic chemicals. So you really do need to read labels to be sure of what you are getting.