What’s Really inside Your Personal Care Products?

All of us want to live healthy happy lives. We aim to eat well, drink plenty of water and avoid all the wrong foods. But have you ever wondered why we are a society that is rife with inflammatory diseases including cancer, arthritis, allergies, heart disease and chronic skin conditions? Is there something else influencing our health?

What we often don’t consider, are the products we use to make our lives more convenient. If you feel tired, suffer from headaches, weight gain, allergies, low mood and skin rashes, it might be worth investigating other external causes.

As part of my protocol with thyroid clients, I recommend that they not only detoxify with diet, but to minimise contact with toxins from the environment.  Have you ever considered…

Personal care products:

Most hair care products, body wash, moisturisers, sunscreens, toothpastes, deodorants, shaving gels and cosmetics contain a cocktail of chemicals that are extremely harmful. They often contain various parabens, which are preservatives to stop them going mouldy. Parabens come from a family of compounds known as Phthalates and are xeno-oestrogens, which mean that they mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body. In naturopathy, we call them Endocrine Disruptors. So when our body also produces its own oestrogen, an excess forms and can create a risk of hormonal dependent cancers, blood sugar disruption, weight gain, and thyroid disturbances. Parabens have been found in human breast milk and may contribute to poor brain development and weight gain in children in later life.

 Long term effects:

Did you know that the average female applies over 150 chemicals to her body each morning? That may sound like an excessive number; but I recently checked out a popular mascara which contained 35 different ingredients! So when you consider using body wash, shampoo, deodorant, hair spray/gel, moisturisers, and make up, then it’s easy to see that 150 doesn’t seem that unrealistic.

The skin is a very absorbent organ, so the use of these products over time, will lead to absorption of large amounts of this synthetic chemical (and many others.) Whilst small amounts are supposedly safe, most people are applying dozens of synthetic toxins to their body. This puts an increased burden on the liver, which has to break down and eliminate hundreds of toxins every day. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their lower body weight, and fewer formed detoxifying enzymes. Women have been found to have much higher levels of parabens in the urine than men, which probably reflect the number of personal care products used.

 Helpful tools to help you choose chemical free products:

Unfortunately most personal care products don’t list their ingredients. Even if the product is labelled “natural” or “fragrance-free”: don’t be fooled. There still may be hidden nasties inside! Just like food ingredients, it’s really important to become very interested in the ingredients of our bathroom cabinets; and start to transition to safer products to lessen our toxin exposure.

A great reference tool you can use is the Chemical Maze app, which you can purchase for a mere $14. You simply enter a food or product ingredient whilst shopping and it will tell you if it’s harmful, neutral or safe. It’s a great investment and will really open your eyes to the hidden nasties in so many products!

If you prefer to shop online, check out www.nourishedlife.com.au. This website sells hundreds of low-tox personal care, cosmetics and even baby care and cleaning products. It’s a great place to start if you are unsure of what to buy for you and your family. Many of these are plastic free, Australian made and owned and are consciously produced, so we are doing our bit for the planet too!

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