Whether you’re a male or a female, odds are that you’ve applied deodorant, shampoo, or other personal care products to your body. The irony is that many of these products aren’t actually helping you “care” for your body, but rather harming you instead. For example, if your deodorant contains parabens, parfum, or any other cancer-causing ingredient, then you’re hurting your body, not caring for it.
This is the case for most personal care and beauty products. If you take a look at the back of these items, it’s likely you can’t even pronounce many of the chemicals listed on it. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or readily recognize what it is, do you really want to be putting it on your body? After all, what goes on your body, goes in your body!
Healthier, Cleaner Alternatives
Of course, you can make your own deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, facial products, etc. This is a foolproof way to ensure that your products contain organic, high quality ingredients, and you can even create beautiful, strong scents using essential oils.
However, if you’re looking for higher quality brands that create excellent products for you, there are a number of all-natural, organic brands you can check out. Just be sure to read the ingredients prior to purchasing, regardless of what it says on the packaging, as many companies will label their products as “all-natural” despite the fact that they’re not.
For example, you could try Surya Brasil, which sells a wide range of all-natural, organic, vegan products. The company has a strong brand commitment, believing that “Awareness + Love = Peace + Vitality,” and even lists toxic ingredients consumers should avoid, all of which their products are 100% free from (talc, PPDs, SLS, heavy metals, etc).
It’s important to note that two of the products use the word parfum, but this particular company uses a blend of natural essential oils to create their parfum. However, this is not the case for many other companies, especially in North America, which is why it’s crucial to do your own research.
It’s crucial that we take the time to research companies we want to support and to read ingredients lists on all products so we can be more careful about what we put on and into our bodies. Remember, we vote with our dollar!
If you’re unsure about which ingredients are considered to be extra harmful to your body, here’s a list of chemicals that are commonly found in many personal care or beauty products:
Talc is a substance commonly added to baby powders, foundation, eyeshadow, and other personal care products. Talc is directly associated with cancer, and many women who used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing baby powder have gotten ovarian cancer as a result and successfully sued the company for failing to warn the public about the risks of using talc-based products. You can read more about these cases in CE’s article here.
This is an extremely common ingredient in hair dye. PPD can cause skin issues and angioedema, or severe swelling underneath the skin, which means you could end up in the emergency room as a result. This study explains: “Short-term exposure to high levels of PPD (acute effects) may cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions, and coma in humans.”
This ingredient is often found in hair dyes, shampoos, lotions, and peels, as well as in products used to treat acne, eczema and other dermatological issues. Resorcinol can result in skin and eye irritation and other skin issues, organ system toxicity, and issues with the central nervous system, and is considered to be a possible endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC).
If you get your hair done at non-organic salons, you are likely being exposed to ammonia. According to the Government of Canada, it’s considered to be “very toxic.” Even inhaling pure ammonia on its own can be fatal, and direct contact can cause blindness and burn the skin. Do you really want to risk putting a small amount of this on your skin?
Sadly, parabens are everywhere when it comes to personal care products and cosmetics: deodorant, shampoos, facial cleansing and moisturizing products, makeup, you name it. Parabens are a known carcinogen, as they’re directly associated with different types of cancer. This is especially concerning for women who wear conventional deodorants, which have a proven link to breast cancer. In fact, one study found that 99% of breast cancer tissues tested had parabens in them.
Practically any conventional personal care product or cosmetic that has a slight scent contains parfum. Parfum is basically a cocktail of toxic chemicals, but instead of listing all of these chemicals on the back of products, it’s conveniently labelled as “parfum” so that companies can keep their signature fragrance a trade secret. Unfortunately, this also allows companies to hide harmful ingredients, such as phthalates, in their products without the consumer even knowing.
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Oxybenzone is found in most sunscreens and any other products containing SPF, moisturizers, lipsticks/lip balms, conditioner, anti-aging creams, and fragrances. A study conducted by the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Zurich found that oxybenzone, or benzophenone-3 (Bp-3), may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and promote the growth of cancer cells.
Synthetic fragrance can be found in facial products, deodorants, cosmetics, body products, perfumes, and more. Many of these ingredients are on the EPA’s hazardous waste list, and an astonishing 95% of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances (at least) are derived from petrochemicals. Some common ingredients in synthetic fragrances are benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and many other toxins associated with cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders, and allergies.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is found in many personal care products, specifically ones that foam, including shampoo, cleansers, and bubble bath. SLS are known to cause skin and eye irritation, organ toxicity, developmental or reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, liver damage, cellular changes/mutations, and cancer.
Heavy metals found in personal care products and makeup include lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and more. Mercury has been found in skin creams and lead is almost always added to lipstick. Heavy metals have been associated with cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, neurological issues, and many other health problems. Contrary to popular belief, there is no 100% safe amount of heavy metals you can be exposed to without causing health issues.
Please note that these are only a handful of the toxic ingredients added to commercial beauty products and personal care items. I would strongly suggest you do your own research and read the back of every label before purchasing anything!
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