Few things are more important than what we not only put in but also on our bodies. Everything we eat and every product we use has the potential to cause harm if we’re not careful. When deciding to move toward a more natural hygienic routine, it may become a bit overwhelming.
Literature abounds on the internet. There are hundreds of claims about practically every ingredient in your favourite drugstore products. How do you know where to start? The simplest thing to do is to start with the basics.
What do you use every day of your life that could easily be swapped out for something more organic?
The range of choices is astounding.
The good news is that as the demand for safe products rises so does the amount of manufacturers providing them. So, let’s get started.
Deodorant and antiperspirant are things all of us need every single day. We’ve used them practically every day of our lives since puberty, so this one may be difficult to wrap our head around.
However, have you ever read the ingredients list of your favourite brand? The most common are aluminium chlorohydrate and parabens.
The first, aluminium chlorohydrate, is used to block sweat from escaping the pores.
Experts report that it shows up in practically every single big name brand and has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although there’s no solid, evidence that the aluminium in most deodorants and antiperspirants is directly related to these diseases, scientists have found traces of aluminium in the cells of breast cancer victims.
WebMD sites that this type of cancer commonly shows up in the upper outer part of the breast, which is right where we’re applying deodorant.
Parabens have a different effect on our system. This particular synthetic preservative has the potential to throw hormone levels out of whack, especially our levels of estrogen.
According to the National Cancer Institute, increased levels of estrogen promote the growth of cancer cells. These parabens are the main culprit in mirroring estrogen. Not only does this substance disrupt our natural hormone levels, but it has also been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.
While several brands have omitted this ingredient from their production lines, there are still several who continue to use it.
Every bottle of shampoo you see at the grocery store more than likely has one if not all of these harmful chemicals:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Polyethylene Glycol
These substances have been linked to issues such as inflammation, rashes, kidney damage, developmental issues in unborn children and hair loss. That’s just to name a few! The Journal of Investigative Dermatology has found these ingredients to cause damage to our DNA possibly causing eczema. With these chemicals in your shampoo, you’re probably doing more harm than good every time you lather up.
This is usually when people start to listen up. For some reason, we pay more attention to the things going into our bodies than what goes on them and for good reason. Logically, a substance coming into direct contact with our soft tissue is more likely to be absorbed causing damage more rapidly. Enter the chemical makeup of your favourite minty toothpaste.
Sodium fluoride, triclosan, SLS (yes the same stuff in your shampoo), and hydrated silica are the most common offenders. News USA reports that triclosan is listed as a pesticide and has been cited as having negative effects on the thyroid and levels of estrogen.
Remember that SLS from your shampoo? When it comes into contact with your mouth, it can cause skin corrosion and painful canker sores.
Some other side effects to look forward to?
Diarrhoea, depression, and death. Granted, the last three consequences were discovered during a study involving lab rats, but none the less, incredibly alarming.
So, what now?
Start by reading the labels in your medicine cabinet. You’ll more than likely find that several of those products have one or more of the chemicals listed here. If you see them, chuck the product and look into other options like buying from organic manufacturers or making these products yourself.
Deodorant, for instance, can be replaced with a concoction of baking soda, coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and essential oils to add your favourite fragrance.
Interested in homemade shampoo?
Use the exact same ingredients used for the DIY deodorant; just replace the arrowroot powder with castile soap. If homemade products aren’t your thing, don’t fret.
Dozens of companies have jumped on the organic bus and sell their products in health food stores and online.
Notable brands that have personal hygiene products in their range are:
- Green People
- Faith In Nature
Bottom line, when choosing personal hygiene products it’s best to stick with those that do not contain synthetic ingredients. Do your own research and figure out what works for you!