General, Infant and Children | January 11, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
As more natural skin care products become available on the market people are starting to become aware of synthetic chemicals in personal care products.
Toothpaste, moisturisers, deodorants, perfumes, make-up, hand soaps and body washes are all items typically filled with synthetic chemicals which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.
More recently antibacterial hand soaps and body washes containing triclosan, tritrocarbon and 17 other chemicals in consumer products have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration as emerging evidence unveiled they have detrimental effects on our health.
The ingredient triclosan has been linked to hormonal disruption, muscle weakness, bacterial resistance and has been labelled a carcinogen.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took blood samples from more than 10,000 Americans in an attempt to determine their “chemical body burden”. The results were astounding, with hundreds of synthetic chemicals being detected –many of which are found in mainstream personal care products. Some of the most worrisome toxins are phthalates, which are found as an ingredient listed as “parfum” or “fragrance”. These can end up airborne, inhaled through the lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs.
Skin care and cosmetic products including lipsticks can also be ingested. Heavy metals like lead can be found in lipsticks which can lead to significant amounts of lead and other chemicals being ingested, often surpassing the recommended exposure to some heavy metals.
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Good old soap and water has been suggested as an alternative to antibacterial washes.
Natural Soaps containing goat’s milk or olive oil are gentler on the skin by being less drying than mainstream products.
If an antiseptic action is needed then Tea Tree works as a natural antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory. It can be used as a hand wash to prevent the spread of infection and as a wash on the skin for bacterial and fungal infections. Tea tree can also be applied as a cream for acne, minor wounds, bites, stings, burns and even as a shampoo for lice. Use as a gargle or toothpaste for gingivitis or gum disease. It is a must have addition to any first aid kit.
Manuka Honey in a cream is also very effective at killing germs and are ideal for skin infections, burns, eczema and ulcers.
Calendula or marigold is a herb that has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can help heal wounds fast.
Natural Hand Sanitisers containing ingredients such as alcohol, glycerine, lavender and aloe vera are great alternatives to synthetic antibacterial chemicals. They are great for travelling and if you’re out and about.
Avoid commercial toothpaste products full of foaming agents and synthetic chemicals as they often don’t disclose their full ingredients list.
Try using a natural based Toothpaste containing ingredients like calcium carbonate and natural antibacterial ingredients such as clove, mint, xylitol and neem.
Everyone wants their deodorant to have antibacterial properties but this is not usually the case. Aluminium is often used to block sweat –which when combined with bacteria on the skin causes body odour. Aluminium works as a plug preventing normal function of the skin and unfortunately can be absorbed into the bloodstream where it can accumulate from continual daily use.
Natural Deodorants either in crystal, paste or roll on form allow the sweat glands to still function normally and work very efficiently at neutralising odour by containing natural antibacterial ingredients and essential oils.
Perfumes are by far one of the worse contenders as they can contain up to 50 synthetic chemicals. They are often a cause of allergies and skin irritations. Natural perfumes are available which incorporate natural essential oils and are kind on the skin and to allergy sufferers.
Many chemicals such as parabens, preservatives, fragrances, PEG’s and many more can be lurking in your moisturiser. There are many products available which are 100% naturally derived. If in doubt simply use straight oils sparingly on the skin such as Jojoba, Coconut or Rose Hip Oil.
Try a lipstick formulated from organic ingredients such as beeswax, avocado, shea and cocoa butters, with pigments from food grade colours, earth minerals or fruit extracts. Mineral Powders are also a great alternative to foundations and feel feather-light on the skin whilst providing good coverage.
Avoid body washes that contain high amounts of foaming agents such as sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate as they can irritate and dry out the skin.
Natural personal care products usually have less lather than commercial products and contain natural scents and herbal extracts. Body washes only need to be used sparingly and may not even be necessary for young children with skin irritations.
Don’t believe a product is natural just because it says so on the label. Be sure to always read the ingredients list and if there are words you can’t pronounce chances are they are of synthetic origin.
Den Hond E, et al. Biomarkers of human exposure to personal care products: results from the Flemish Environment and Health Study (FLEHS 2007-2011). Sci Total Environ. 2013 Oct 1;463-464:102-10
Batista EF, et al. Chemometric evaluation of Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry) and Pb (graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry) concentrations in lipstick samples intended to be used by adults and children. Talanta. 2016 Apr 1;150:206-12
Pazyar N, et al. A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. Int J Dermatol. 2013 Jul;52(7):784-90
Mason, Haldane (2000). Neal’s Yard Remedies: Natural Health and Body Care, Aurum Press, United Kingdom