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There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes. Beauty is not one of them.

{Green Living} Beware of Toxins like your Health depends on it..cuz it does

It’s a fact: a large portion of the products that line supermarket shelves are not safe for use.

It’s also a fact that most consumers are far more concerned about the performance of a commercial product than what it contains. Yet, when illness/disease strikes the last thing most consider is what they’ve consumed orally or systemically via skin absorption. Despite all the information citing the dangers of ingredients and chemicals found in skincare & hair products as well as cosmetics, most consumers still trust and believe that if it’s on the shelf, it’s safe for you.

I started paying closer attention to the effects of my skin & hair care products several years ago when my skin went haywire leading me to look at ingredients more closely & make small changes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of the toxic chemicals that exist in products we use everyday. Just take a second to think about the myriad of “must-haves” you use each day, including body soap, hair shampoo, facial cleansers, moisturizers, deodorant, perfumes, shaving cream and lots of other stuff. Men too, even the kiddos, no one is exempt. If you use it, you’re exposed to ingredients, simply put.

MISLEADING ADVERTISING

This is one area where it really pays to be a well-informed consumer because in most instances, you’re not going to be educated on this by your doctor, and companies certainly have no problem misleading the public on “green” ingredients. Advertising relies on the public’s susceptibility to emotional marketing, so they stand to profit greatly by simply placing a coconut on a body wash with a tagline touting its “natural coconut infusion“, which translates as a safe product to a visual society. Take one look at the actual ingredients and Cocos nucifera (another name for coconut oil) is far down on the list, surrounded by parabens, sulfates and synthetic fragrance. Such a sham.

Now, I’m no chemist, {my high school Chemistry teacher, Miss Jennings, would choke on her coffee at the mere thought of me as a chemist} and I’ve practically pulled out my newly natural coils trying to decipher ingredient labels, but I am good great at research, so I have a mini-library covering natural beauty, healthy ingredients and companies to trust. I also have an online arsenal handy full of even more info, and although I’m still in the process of switching over  to a fully green product repertoire,  my essentials  are good to go.

CHOOSE WISELY FOR YOUR HEALTH

Skin is the largest organ in our body and it is extremely permeable. Skin absorbs whatever we apply to it. Just think about topical ointments – be they for pain, itch, or swelling, and how each one works. Or how  perfume/cologne can still smell pretty strong hours after its applied. How do you think all that works? By permeating through the skin, and getting absorbed into the body. Chemicals and ingredients in our daily products are absorbed in the exact same way.

Whenever I’m asked about green products I use or the DIY products I make, it’s always with a raised brow of suspicion, which I find hilarious by the way. As if the thought of using simple (and amazingly effective) ingredients to replace an expensive (comparatively speaking) and hazardous store-bought item is somehow impossible! Oh quite the contrary Daniel-Son, it’s not only just as effective, but much more safe than a pretty packaged plastic-sealed item.

Truth is, many of these chemicals are extremely harmful and irreparably dangerous leading to cancer, damage to the nervous system, and let’s not get started on the havoc they can wreak on our hormones (um, hello!). The negative factor list is endless. Who needs it?!

WE SEE IT! WE LIKE IT! WE ASSUME ITS SAFE! RIGHT? 

Everything we use on our skin, be it amazingly good or disruptively bad ingredient-wise, gets absorbed and enters our bloodstreams. One of the main reasons why we fail to realize the harm done, is because our society loves eye-candy, we’re a visually driven culture, which is why Pinterest and Instagram are so successful, we likes to look at stuff. And again, this all works to the advantage of marketing since we have a hard time believing that pretty bottle with the flowers on it could possibly contain something harmful, I mean it smells pretty and produces one heck of a fluffy lather so how can it hurt right? Wrong.

I’ve had friends tell me they’re afraid to try healthier deodorant alternatives because they’re concerned about odor. I’m baffled by this, because like anything else, be it lotion or toothpaste or whatever, if it doesn’t work just try something else. These days, there are hundreds of safe & healthy personal care brands on the market, just a matter of a little research is all. I mean, isn’t that what we do with everything else, if it doesn’t work, we try something else right?

Knowledge is power, and when you know better, you do better. Companies know better but to do better would increase their overhead and reduce their bottom line, so they don’t bother. Businesses that thrive on consumerism exist on a supply and demand operative, so if we decide to start demanding better from the companies that manufacture our everyday products, then they’ll have no choice but to supply us with safer products across the board. But we’re a long way from that being the majority, so more personal effort must be made until that happens.

A GOOD PLACE TO START

For starters, read the labels on your personal care products to avoid toxic chemicals. You can also check out my list of Natural Beauties,  and below I’ve included Sophie Uliano’s comprehensive list of toxic chemicals to avoid. Sophie penned ‘Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly life, a great read for adopting a green lifestyle plus its filled with recipes and brand suggestions. When I first discovered this list, I decided to print it out & I keep it inside a plastic sleeve in my bathroom, where’s it’s been for several years now. It’s a good go-to reference when considering new products or reviewing ingredient lists.

Enjoy 

WHAT TO AVOID

The content below in italics is excerpted from Sophie’s book…

Red Alert

The Environmental Working Group suggests that consumers should be on high alert for the following seven ingredients (listed in order of danger significance):

  1. Coal Tar: Used in dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams, coal tar is a known carcinogen. Coal tar-based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1, which are used in toothpastes, and FD&C Green 3, which is used in mouthwash, should be avoided.
  2. Fragrance: This ubiquitous term is used to mask hundreds of ingredients, including phthalates, which disrupt the endorine system and could cause reproductive and developmental harm.
  3. Hydroquinone: Commonly found in skin lighteners and facial mosturizers, it is a neurotoxin and is allergenic.
  4. Aluminium: Often used in eye shadow as a color additive and also used in deodorants, it is listed as carcinogenic, toxic, and mutagenic.
  5. Triclosan: This chemical is used in almost all antibacterial products, including soap, toothpaste, and cosmetics. Triclosan is often contaminated with dioxins, which are highly carcinogenic and can also weaken immune system, decrease fertility, and cause birth defects.
  6. P-Phenylenediamine: This is the chemical that has given a bad name to regular hair dye. It can damage your nervous system, cause lung irritation, and cause severe allergic reactions. It’s also listed as 1,4-Benzenediamine; p-Phenyldiamine and 4-Phenylenediamine.
  7. Lead And Mercury: Lead could appear in toothpaste as a naturally occurring contaminant of hydrated silica. It is a neurotoxin that also appears as lead acetate in men’s hair dye. Mercury is found in a cosmetic preservative called thimerosol.

Orange Alert

Some of the following chemicals can create the formation of carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines, so I strongly suggest avoiding them:

  • Cocamide DEH
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  1. Mineral Oils: They coat the skin like plastic, so it cannot breathe. They can slow down the skin’s natural functions and cell development, resulting in premature aging. 
  2. Parabens (methyl-, ethyl, propyl, butyl, isobutyl-): Parabens are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
  3. Phthalates: These horrid little synthetic chemicals are known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive impairment in lab animals exposed during pregnancy and after birth. They are also hormone-mimicking chemicals, many of which disrupt normal hormone processes, raising concerns about implications for increased breast cancer risk. They are often hidden under the term “fragrance.” Dibutyl and diethylhexyl have been banned in the European Union but not in the United States.
  4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES): This ingredient is a foaming agent that is derived from coconut oil. It is used in brake fluid and antifreeze and also in a huge variety of skin care products, including toothpaste, shampoo, bubble bath, and soap. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding SLS, aas many feel that it is not only a proven skin irritant but also could be carcinogenic. The Environmental Working Group considers it to be a carcinogen; others say that it is prone to contamination by a probable carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane, which is used for its foaming ability. Many other groups blame the hype on the natural skin care industry, who want to make a buck or two flogging their SLS-free products. I’m not a great risk taker when it comes to my health, so I’m choosing to go SLS-free for now.
  5. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): PEG is a potential carcinogen that is typically used as a grease-dissolving cleaner and a thickener for skin care products. These chemicals are deemed to be so toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency that workers have to wear protective clothing when handling them. They can easily penetrate your skin, causing brain, liver, and kidney malfunctions. Also look out for propylene glycol, isopropyl alcochol, and butylene glycol.
  6. Formaldehyde-Producing Preservatives: Some preservatives can become formaldehyde donors, in that they release small amounts of formaldehyde into the skin. Many preservatives are cellular toxins. Formaldehyde can cause many health issues including joint discomfort, chest pains, and chronic fatigue. Examples are hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea.
  7. Talc: Found in baby products, underarm deodorants, and cosmetic powder products, talc contains chemical that is similar to asbestos and can increase the risk of certain ovarian cancers.
  8. Acrylates and Methacrylates: Found in nail products, these products can cause dermatitis.
  9. Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40): This additive is very common in cosmetics. It is a drying agent that strips off the outer layers of skin, exposing you to bacteria and other toxins. It can also promote brown spots and even accelerates aging – ugh!
  10. Tocopherol Acetate: This may sound innocent, but it is a synthetic version of vitamin E, which is a suspected carcinogen and causes dermatitis.
  11. Phenonip: This is a preservative blend that contains the aforementioned parabens: phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, proylparaben, and isobutylparaben.
  12. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats): The oddly named “Quats” are used as preservatives. They are the primary cause of contact dermatitis. They will be listed on your ingredients as benzalkonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, quaternium-15, and quaternium 1-29.
  13. Cationic Surfactants: These little guys can be found in your hair conditioner. They were originally used in the paper industry but, ironically, can make your hair dry and brittle after a long-term use. They are also allergenic and toxic. Look out for these ingredients: stearalkonium chloride, benzalkonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, cetalknoium chloride, and lauryl dimonium hydrolyzed collagen.
  14. Benzyl Alcohol: Look out for this on your ingredient list, as it is a petrochemical that can be a severe irritant to your eyes and your respiratory system.
  15. Silicone Derived Emollients: These chemicals coat your skin like plastic wrap – and even worse, can accumulate in your liver and lymph nodes, which can promote the tumor growth. These emollients include: dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, and cyclomethicone.
  16. Carbomer 934, 940, 941, 960, 961C: This chemical is used as a stabilizer and thickener in creams, cosmetics, toothpaste, and bath products. It is a known allergen that causes eye irritation.

7 comments on “{Green Living} Beware of Toxins like your Health depends on it..cuz it does

  1. Bee
    April 1, 2013

    Excellent info, especially the video!!!

    • suite7beautytalk
      April 1, 2013

      Thanks u! ; )

  2. Pingback: Damnit WordPress, you’re ruining my {blogging} life! | SUITE7beautyTALK

  3. Beauty Bolt
    April 10, 2013

    Love the video!

  4. Pingback: Yoga Freak Noelle

  5. Pingback: How toxic is your baby’s bath? | juicygreenmom

  6. Pingback: How toxic is your baby’s bath? | juicy green mom

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