Inexplicably, a friend of mine suddenly started breaking out in a painful rash all over his arms. The rash persisted for weeks. No lotion, potion or drug seemed to help the rash. In fact, anything he put on it made it burn worse! Then he cut out all commercial body-care products and his rash left as quickly as it had appeared.
Perhaps you or someone you know has experienced something like this. And reactions to the toxic chemicals in our body-care products extend far beyond skin rashes. These can include: hormonal disturbances, cancer, liver damage, harm to the central nervous system, and a host of other issues.
When it comes to putting things on our skin, we once thought of our skin as a protective barrier rather than the largest organ of the body. We now know, however, that the skin is very effective at absorbing medicines and toxins alike.
The problem is that most body-care products contain materials that would require hazmat training and personal protective equipment in an industrial setting. Yet we freely apply these substances to our skin and put them in our mouths.
Who regulates the chemicals in our personal-care products?
The FDA has oversight of the chemicals that go into our personal-care products in terms of approval, but this industry is highly unregulated. In fact, the law under which the FDA operates in this regard has not been updated since 1938.[i]
Instead of insisting on independent studies, the FDA normally relies on research performed by the manufacturer to demonstrate the safety of a product. Obviously this system is flawed as it creates a conflict of interest and yields research that could hardly be viewed as impartial.[ii]
Labeling is also misleading. The word “natural” is totally unregulated, and even “organic” in the context of body-care products is left to the interpretation of the manufacturer. And when it comes to the word, “fragrance,” there’s definitely a fly in the ointment. Laboratory tests have identified as many as 38 chemicals that are not listed on labels in name-brand fragrances.[iii]
One of the products that contributed to the rash my friend experienced was deodorant. Most deodorants on the supermarket shelves contain a chemical soup including aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, and Talc, among others.[iv]
The aluminum chlorohydrate, for example, is present to block the pores from releasing perspiration. Science Lab.com provides a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for this chemical. The MSDS shows aluminum chlorohydrate as “Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant). In case of contact, immediately flush skin with plenty of water. Cover the irritated skin with an emollient. Remove contaminated clothing and shoes.”[v]
Or consider DEA (Diethyl phthalate). The MSDS on DEA cautions that this substance may be toxic to the liver and central nervous system. “Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.”[vi] In case of spill, the MSDS calls for a full suit, boots, gloves and splash goggles. Yet this toxic substance is in many of our body-care products that we apply freely to our skin!
A quick look at other common personal care products
Toxic chemicals are common in many shampoos, conditioners, lotions, sunscreens, cosmetics, skin care products, colognes and toothpastes. Harvard School of Public Health estimates that we daily expose ourselves to more than 100 chemicals from personal-care products even before leaving home for work.[vii]
Some of the more common chemicals found in our personal care products include:
- Parabens – interfere with hormone production and release[viii]
- DEA – a known carcinogen and disruptor of hormones[ix]
- Phthalates – interferes with hormone production and may contribute to breast cancer[x]
- Triclosan – the EPA classifies this as a pesticide[xi]
- Sodium fluoride – often used in toothpaste, a mere 0.1 ounce is considered toxic[xii]
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – an eye and skin irritant and toxic to many organs[xiii]
- Propylene glycol – an industrial antifreeze
- Formaldehyde – basically embalming fluid and a known carcinogen[xiv]
How do we respond?
Due to the lack of regulation and all the hidden chemicals, it’s difficult to rely on label-reading to make our personal-care product purchases. This leaves us with two primary options:
- Purchase from companies that make truly natural, healthful products. Examples of these include: Alba, Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, MooGoo, Pacifica, Shea Moisture, Shikai, Uncle Harry’s Natural Products, etc.
- Make your own products! ThankYourBody.com, WellnessMama.com, and WholeNewMom.com are examples of websites that provide a wide selection of natural body and beauty recipes.
Keep in mind that no two individuals’ chemistries are alike. A deodorant that works on you may not work on your spouse or somebody else. That goes for all body-care products.
Bottom line: know what you’re putting on and into your body. Look for truly natural products that nourish rather than harm. Consider making some of your own personal-care products. They’re less expensive, the process can be fun, and you know what you’re putting into them and on your body.
You can avoid harmful chemicals when you visit Barton Publishing, and audit your bathroom cupboard using our list of harmful ingredients.
By: Joe Barton
Joe is the founder of Barton Publishing, Inc., a leading natural health company specializing in publishing cutting edge reports that show people how to cure and treat themselves using safe, natural, and proven remedies. He is also a contributing writer, helping thousands of people who suffer from acid reflux, diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, and 20+ other disease and ailments enjoy healthier lives.
[i]Amy Roeder, “Harmful, Untested Chemicals Rife in Personal Care Products,” Harvard School of Public Health, February 13, 2014, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/harmful-chemicals-in-personal-care-products/.
[ii] Dr. Mercola, “Best-Selling Toothpaste Contains Hazardous Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical,” August 27, 2014, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/27/triclosan-toothpaste.aspx.
[iii] Dr. Mercola, “Is Your Perfume Poison?” November 27, 2013, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/27/toxic-perfume-chemicals.aspx.
[iv] Natural Cosmetic News, “Dangerous Chemicals in Deodorant & Antiperspirant: A Detailed Review of the Chemicals, Research & Avoidance Tips,” nd, http://www.naturalcosmeticnews.com/toxic-products/dangerous-chemicals-in-deodorant-antiperspirant-a-detailed-review-of-the-chemicals-research-avoidance-tips/.
[vii] Amy Roeder.
[viii] Dr. Mercola, “Is Your Perfume Poison?”
[ix] William Lynch, “What Are the Harmful Ingredients in Toothpaste?” Livestrong, March 12, 2014, http://www.livestrong.com/article/167101-what-are-the-harmful-ingredients-in-toothpaste/.
[x] Shannon Marks, “Skin Lotion Ingredients to Avoid,” Livestrong.com, August 16, 2013, http://www.livestrong.com/article/89548-skin-lotion-ingredients-avoid/.
[xi] William Lynch.
[xii] William Lynch.
[xiii] William Lynch.
[xiv] Vanessa Cunningham, “10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid,” Huffington Post, January 23, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-cunningham/dangerous-beauty-products_b_4168587.html.