A Do-It-Yourself Beauty Regimen
You can go “green” with beauty products by lessening your use of the ones that use harmful ingredients. Here are a couple of organic beauty alternatives:
No-Hair-Washing — You don’t need to shampoo your hair every day. In fact, when you aren’t torturing your hair with product, it produces a natural oil that gives it a unique sheen and softness, and according to studies, it might even reduce the amount of ozone you breathe in.
Natural Deodorant — Store-bought deodorants and anti-perspirants contain harsh chemicals. Instead, try baking soda. Sprinkle a bit on a damp washcloth and apply it on your underarms; it should neutralize the smell and keep you cool all day!
Homemade Facials — Honey, oatmeal, bananas and other household materials can make you a homemade facial treatment!
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Before I comment on the above article I need to explain that one of the simplest, least expensive and non toxic alternatives to deodorants is simply plain soap. Antiperspirants are far more dangerous than deodorants, but I haven’t used either for over two decades.
The major benefit of stopping these CHEMICALS is that you will stop producing the yellow stains in the armpits of your shirts. Those stains are NOT due to your sweat but rather caused by the chemicals you are putting on and in your body.
The Green-Washing of Organic Personal Care Items
Sales of these products have now become all the rage, with sales of organic personal care items reaching $350 million in 2007 – an increase of 24 percent from 2005. But as the demand for natural and organic cosmetics and personal care products has risen, so has the practice of “green washing.”
It’s unfortunate, but many personal care products found in health food stores contain harmful ingredients and are NOT 100 percent natural, despite their labeled claims.
Just three months ago, a study commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association revealed that many leading “natural” and “organic” brand shampoos, body washes, and lotions still contain the carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-Dioxane, for example.
The problem is that there are no federal certifications or official guidelines for beauty products, so anyone can claim that such a product is natural or organic. Some “organic” beauty products contain only a single-digit percentage of organic ingredients.
Why Do You Need Natural, Organic Beauty Products?
Putting chemicals on your skin is actually far worse than ingesting them, because when you eat something the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help break it down and flush it out of your body.
When you put these chemicals on your skin, however, they are absorbed straight into your blood stream without filtering of any kind, so there’s no protection against the toxins. Instead, they are in large part going directly to your delicate organs.
Cosmetic Chemicals You Definitely Want to Avoid
It’s been estimated that if you use conventional cosmetics on a daily basis, you can absorb almost 5 pounds of chemicals into your body each year! Many of which have been linked to deadly side effects like cancer.
The list of dangerous ingredients is quite long — the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has stated that nearly 900 of the chemicals used in cosmetics are toxic — but here are some of the major ones that you will definitely want to avoid:
- Paraben, a chemical found in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics that has been shown to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast tumors.
- Phthalates, plasticizing ingredients (present in nearly three-quarters of 72 products tested by the Environmental Working Group), which have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems.
- Musks, used as fragrances, can accumulate in your body, and have been linked to skin irritation, hormone disruption, and cancer in laboratory studies.
- Artificial fragrances, which are among the top five known allergens, and can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.
- Methylisothiazolinone (MIT), a chemical used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, which may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.
- Toluene, made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus.
- Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum, these products coat your skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They also slow cellular development, which can cause you to show earlier signs of aging, and are a suspected cause of cancer and disruption to hormonal activity.
I highly recommend using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database where you can look up a wide variety of products and brands to find out what they’re really made of, and whether or not they’re safe.
Can’t Pronounce It? Don’t Use It
This is probably the simplest way to find safe products out there. If it includes a lot of long, complex ingredient names, it’s probably not safe.
Fortunately, your search for safe skin care may soon get a lot easier. I am proud to report that my team has been researching this topic extensively and we are getting very close to launching one of the best, most pure skin care product lines out there. It is truly effective, has absolutely no synthetic ingredients, and is packaged in glass bottles.
But for now, please remember to be choosy and only use products made of real, recognizable, natural and organic ingredients bearing the USDA Certified Organic seal.
Another thing to remember is that truly organic personal-care products do not contain preservatives, although they may contain natural antimicrobial and antifungal ingredients like grapefruit seed extract, or antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E), which come with all the benefits of a preservative, but none of the dangerous side effects.
A Do-It-Yourself Beauty Regimen
Now, as the article above shows you, the absolute easiest way to ensure that you’re not being exposed to potentially hazardous agents is to simply make your own personal care products, using simple all-natural ingredients that many of you may already have in your home.
Here are a few of my recommendations:
All-natural moisturizers — Pure emu oil is a great alternative to facial- and body moisturizers and lotions, as is pure coconut oil. It’s a fantastic moisturizer and a potent source of the beneficial fat lauric acid.
All-natural acne fighter — Rubbing just a drop of oregano oil on a breakout can speed up the healing and prevent unsightly scarring without resorting to harsh commercial acne medication (remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards).
All-natural deodorant – I advise stopping ALL antiperspirants. Common soap and water works fine. If you still need further help then try a pinch of baking soda mixed into water as an effective all-day deodorant.
All-natural shampoo and soaps – You can find clean, non-chemical soaps at many health food stores.
Finding recipes for your own homemade beauty products is a breeze when you have access to the internet. Just Google “homemade cosmetics” for more than 400,000 pages of recipes and instructions. We recommend that you check out Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database for many healthy alternatives.
Last but not least, if you are concerned about the numerous toxic chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis, I strongly urge you to read Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call. The author, Dr. Doris Rapp, does a thorough job of uncovering the many ways we are exposed to toxic chemicals and how they take a toll on your health and contribute to many chronic diseases.