Part 1: Toxic overload. How to start a gradual transition to purer, healthier, safer personal care products
It’s a glorious, sunny day here in the UK today so I’m rushing to write this after being in the studio recording some interviews that will become podcasts very soon. My next task is to enjoy a sunny walk with my two little doggies Henry and Sidney.
Did you know that everything you put on your skin is absorbed into the body within a matter of seconds? Your skin is your largest organ. You may be a vegetarian but if you use many of the skincare and personal care products available on the market today you will not only be absorbing chemicals into your bloodstream but animal products and by-products to!
The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. Just think about nicotine and birth-control patches. We administer effective doses through the skin to our bloodstream, enabling us to forego a daily oral pill in lieu of a patch that prevents pregnancy. Or a patch that keeps nicotine in our system without the side-effects of smoking, allowing us to wean off an addiction.
While there may be some chemicals that are too large to enter our bloodstream, many are small enough to penetrate. In 2005 The Environmental Working Group published a combination of two studies that found toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood, of new-born babies, born in the US in the autumn of 2004. They screened for more than 400 chemicals, and an astounding 287 toxins were detected within the umbilical cord blood of those new-borns.
What is very sad is that the study results have been largely ignored by the media.
So, since we know without doubt that some chemicals can and do enter your bloodstream through topical application we surely know that you’re better off doing your best to avoid them on the chance they are entering your bloodstream.
One worthy of a mention here is Mineral Oil – when I first heard of Mineral Oil I thought it sounded OK. However, once I realised it was a waste product from the petrochemical industry I had to find out more.
Mineral Oil is the residue of refining crude oil into petrol! It’s sold to the cosmetic industry very cheaply and used in many of the personal care products we buy on the high street today.
I get it that the task of scrutinising every ingredient in the massive range of daily products the average consumer uses can be daunting – I just counted 19 products I regularly use before I leave the house in the morning! So, think about the level of exposure you’re getting from the products you’re using. Different products mean different levels of exposure and concern. For instance, if you use a lotion all over your body and it soaks into your skin all day, you’re getting a lot more exposure to those chemicals than if you were to use the same ingredients in a face cleanser that is quickly washed off. So be strategic — try to get the best ingredients in products that you have a lot of exposure to (skincare, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, etc.), and if you want to, relax your standards a bit for products like hand soap that’s OK to start with.
When we try to change everything immediately, we get overwhelmed and paralysed when all we want to do is buy a shampoo! If we constantly worry about each ingredient in every product then we just want to forget the whole thing. The way to avoid this is by choosing when to demand a certain standard and when to relax. That way you don’t have to worry about every ingredient all the time and you can still drastically improve the overall quality of your personal care products.
Which products should you start with?
- Anything you soak in (ie bubble bath).
- Anything you apply and do not wash off, such as lotion, face and body creams, and oils.
- Body powder – avoid like the plague immediately! WHY?
- Shampoo and conditioner (which is a wash off, but has high exposure due to where you use it and the way it “washes” over your entire body).
- Any product you put on your child – did you know that Johnson’s Baby oil is almost pure liquid paraffin?
Products that have limited exposure (so you can relax your standards if you choose):
- Eye shadow
- Nail polish remover (unless you are changing colours daily)
- Hand soap (excluding anti-bacterial which is nasty)
Personally, I aim for botanically based products where I can as I’m going for minimal toxin absorption but it did take me six months to transit over after I became an Independent Consultant with Arbonne.
Good luck and please feel free to email me any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.
Jill Bennett is an Independent Consultant with Arbonne and presenter on Brooklands Radio hosting their “Your Health Matters slots on her Thursday afternoon show. Listen in at: http://www.brooklandsradio.co.uk/
Jill is passionate about helping people understand that their health and happiness is really in their hands. She loves to help people understand what’s in many of the products we use every day. Jill is not an expert and her findings are based on her own research and talks with specialists.
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