Do you know how many personal care products you use in a day?? Think about it . . . shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc . . . and that is all before your morning coffee. You are probably using around 10 products per day (men may be around 6, women 12+). So consider the long list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce in each one. On average people apply around 126 unique ingredients on their skin daily! These chemicals are absorbed into your body, get rinsed down the drain or are flushed down the toilet and are causing concerns for human health and the environment.
So how the heck do you know which ingredients are good and which are really, really bad?? Start educating yourself. A group called the Environmental Working Group has been compiling an online database called Skin Deep since 2004. They evaluate products and provide excellent info on various ingredients so that you can make an educated decision about what products your family uses. You can even search the database for your specific products to see how they compare.
The easiest place to start when you are looking at ingredients lists is what you should be avoiding. Here is a list of some of the main ingredients that you want to avoid and why (click here for a printable wallet card)
Ingredients to Avoid:
DMDH hydration & Imidazolidinyl urea – toxic contaminants
Fragrance & dyes – allergies, cancer concern & effects on nervous system (3163 ingrediants hide behind the word fragrance)
Methylchloroisothinazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone – allergies & nervous system
Parabens or “-parabens” – hormone effects (fertility and possible link to breast cancer)
PEG and “-eth” – toxic contaminants
SLS/sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate – skin damage & toxic contaminants
Triclosan & Triclocarban – Thyroid and environmental concerns
TEA Triethanolamine – allergies & toxic contaminants
Now that you are starting to think about what is in the products that you use, what is your first steps? First make sure to print out the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Safe Cosmetics, put it in your wallet and use it to check ingredients (there is no way you will ever remember all those words, especially when chances are you can’t even pronounce them lol). Take the print out card to your bathroom and check out what you already have at home, and then start to look for products or companies that are conscious of what they put in their products. You can even try making your own lotions and potions; it’s really easy and fun to do!
If you are like me at all, once I know something is bad for my family I cannot consciously continue to use it. So finding companies like Arbonne for my makeup and Live Clean for just about everything else makes life soooo much easier, I don’t have to pull out my card and check all the ingredients if I know that everything a particular company makes is free from the things I choose to avoid. All I have to do is look for the logo and I can feel good about the products my family uses. Oh, fyi Live Clean is available everywhere from Walmart to Shoppers Drug Mart, and is very economical as well ;).
Always remember that knowledge is power and every small change (even if it is only one product) will be a step in the right direction!
Note: If you decide, like I did, to really start fresh by replacing what you use, don’t throw out the old, box it up and drop it off at your local hazardous waste so they can dispose of it properly.