It stands to reason that if our skin is the body’s largest organ and one of its main conduits for absorbing and expelling toxins, then to simplify the stuff we put on it can only be beneficial to our overall health. Remember the basics: drink heaps of water, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink less alcohol, exercise, limit rubbish on your skin and in your diet, and limit exposure to the sun.
Make fresh food your starting point on the journey to great skin.
While the importance of food for health is common knowledge, it is easy to overlook the chemical load we put on our bodies through the application of sprays, creams, dyes, polishes, washes, perfumes and makeup. Despite being tested and approved for use, these products can contain toxins that are known to be endocrine disruptors (interfere with hormone systems), carcinogenic, respiratory and organ toxicants and allergens. Lucky for us, we have access to a world of information and alternatives at the touch of a button.
If you want to move towards a cleaner stash of makeup and beauty essentials, start today.
Firstly, do a purge in the bathroom. Go through all cupboards and drawers and empty out everything. You will likely be shocked at a). how many half-used bottles of product you have, and b). how dense in chemicals most of these products are.
Next, assess the ingredients. The following is a list of commonly used cosmetic ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans.
BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits. P-phenylenediamine is used in some hair dyes; other colours are used in a variety of cosmetics. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
DEA-related ingredients: Used in some creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
Paraben, methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben: Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
Parfum: Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics. Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
PEGs (e.g., PEG -60): Used in some cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. Can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
Siloxanes: Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Sodium laureth sulfate: Used in some foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
Triclosan: Used in some antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and deodorants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Source: The David Suzuki Foundation
The idea of detoxing your entire stash of skin, makeup and healthcare products can seem completely overwhelming, so much so that you might be tempted to not bother at all and just stick with what you know. Instead of putting the task in the “too hard basket” why not seek out natural, toxin-free alternatives each time you need to replace a product. That way, the process is manageable both in terms of time and money.
Choose multitasking products and eliminate clutter.
When it comes to selecting a toxin-free alternative, just be cautious of health claims made on packaging that can be misleading to the unsuspecting consumer. If a product claims to contain “naturally derived” ingredients: be wary. If a product has natural looking branding but a very long list of difficult to pronounce ingredients: be wary. Check that all ingredients are safe. Also, never buy products with microplastics. These tiny particles are present as artificial “scrubs” and are causing major havoc as marine contaminants.
Finally, as you replace your old, chemical-laden body products, seek out products that are multi-taskers. This is the best way to keep bathroom clutter to a minimum and reduce cost. Our Soothing Skin Balmwas formulated to replace a number of items including heel balm, hand cream, night cream, lip gloss, cradle cap cream, nappy rash ointment, cuticle oil, body lotion, nipple cream, ingrown-hair preventative and scalp treatment. Just imagine the space you could free up in your bathroom cabinet....