Yes, you read that right, carcinogens, aka cancer causing agents!
This is where it all started for me, not with food, but with body products, weird I know!
Fifteen or so years ago, a co-worker who’d previously been a sales rep for a salon products distributor shared that some chemicals in shampoo where know carcinogens.
At first, I was skeptical but she spoke with conviction! She quit that job because even though the industry knew the chemicals were harmful, they still continued to use them. I did my own research, and found she was right!
At the time, there were very few companies producing products without harmful sodium laurel sulfates, parabens, preservatives, and fragrances. She gave me a locally made shampoo to try, and from that point on I tried to avoid sodium laurel sulfates, and parabens in the products I used.
Back then it was nearly impossible to find body wash, hair products, facial care, and deodorant that didn’t contain several harmful chemicals. Slowly, I started to find products that didn’t have some of the worst chemicals, at the time money was tight, so I wasn’t able to do a major overhaul right away.
Thankfully a local, organic, grocery store had a separate body care store that carried more “natural” options. Eventually, shopping at their body care store, allowed me to become more familiar with organic foods, and soon I was learning more why it was important to be concerned about the food I put in my body.
And that’s how my body care products helped change my food choices!
I think many of us often forget, or don’t realize, our skin is also an organ, and it absorbs EVERYTHING we put on it! I wanted to write about this important topic since I started my blog, but it’s been busy, and now I’m finally getting to it.
If you’d rather skip to the list of my FAVORITE and SAFE body products, click here. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more!
Season Johnson, recently wrote an amazing post on her blog, called Clean & Green Body Products that addresses almost all the chemicals I was going to include in my post. I say almost, because she didn’t mention two I think are super important, and unfortunately, aren’t required to be included on the label!
• Works as a protective shield to the body structure
• Helps to regulate body temperature
• Works as a respiratory organ
• Performs absorption activities by assimilating oxygen and other nutrients
• Aids in elimination of toxic wastes from the body
When we apply products to our skin, it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream. In fact, those toxins can get into the blood stream quicker than if we were to eat them. This is why it is just as important to use clean body products as it is to eat clean foods.
In all honesty, the most difficult body product for me to replace with an all natural, clean product was deodorant. I had tried so many different ‘all natural’ deodorants out there and none of them worked. For a while, my pride was a bit stronger than my desire to not continually apply toxic, cancer causing chemicals directly into the lymphatic system near my breasts. Then one day in my research, I was reading this study, and realized that women with breast cancer have higher levels of aluminum in their nipple aspirate fluid (NAF), a fluid present in the breast duct tree. Done and done. I threw my Dove away and immediately.
The two I’m adding are DHEA and pregnenolone, both are edongenous steroid hormones, that we already have in our bodies.
Sounds completely harmless, right?
It’s true that both can have positive affects on your health, especially if your body isn’t producing enough of these hormones. You’ll often find one, or both of these in most anti-aging, and wrinkle creams, because they reduce the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles, and they really do work!
I know they work, because for years I unknowingly used a moisturizer that contained both ingredients, and my wrinkles were minimized!
During that time, the DHEA levels in my urine were so high off the charts, the lab couldn’t even assign them a number. At the time, the practitioners I was working with couldn’t figure out the cause, so they gave me all type of herbs to help get it in normal range, and NOTHING helped!
The DHEA levels in my blood were always normal, so the fact it was extremely high in my urine, alerted the acupuncturist I began seeing last year that it was likely due to something I was putting ON my body, and not IN my body. She suggested I call the company who made my moisturizer and ask if it contained those ingredients.
Sure enough, it had both! I immediately stopped using it. She retested the DHEA levels in my urine 90 days later, and they were in normal range. All those years, my moisturizer had been messing with my hormones, and not in a good way!
Okay, back to Season’s amazing post about body care products! Below, you’ll find an excerpt of her original post, and her top 11 ingredients to avoid.
Your skin, aside from being one of your organs of detoxification, is also the 2nd largest organ in your body. Often times, it appears to be the first to show degeneration or imbalances and the last to heal. It weighs almost twice as much as the brain and it receives one third of the circulation of the blood. Its functions include:
Top 11 Ingredients to Avoid:
This is a great, informative list from this Huffington Post Report with my own commentary added:
These are known carcinogens as they mimic estrogen! They are found in lotion, shampoo, conditioner, makeup, etc.
The following ingredients contain formaldehyde, may release formaldehyde or may break down into formaldehyde:
1,4-dioxane is produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require for it to be listed as an ingredient on the labels of products. When you purchase organic products it will not contain 1,4-dioxane
This is not usually listed on the label; but it is found in fragrance and other toxic ingredients in your products. A lot of companies are, however, starting to list “phthalate free.” So when in doubt always make sure the product says ‘phthalate free.’
5. Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), monoethanolamine (MEA)
6. Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
7. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium laureth sulphate
8. Propylene Glycol and PEG’s
9. PVP/VA Copolymer
Fragrance can contain harmful chemicals and ingredients, it is always best to avoid products with fragrance unless the fragrance is from the aroma of an essential oil.
You have spent so much time and effort cleaning up your diet, don’t let your efforts be in vain. Let’s do the best we can to make sure we are honoring our body and maintaing real health. If you are unsure of the integrity of your current body products, head over to the Environmental Working Group and see the current toxicity ratings of your products! One of my favorite places to find all natural and organic body products at an affordable price is vitacost.com. Just remember…ALWAYS read your labels!
Isn’t that awesome info?!?
Be sure to check out Season’s blog. Not only does she share tons of knowledge about body products, she is helping her son, Kicker, overcome cancer, and THRIVE while doing it! She’s started the KICKcancER program to help people understand why a nourishing, real food diet is a huge part of overcoming cancer.
I hope you found this post helpful! Share with me some of your favorite organic body products!
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November 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm
You’ve put in a lot of work here. Have you ever checked out Food Babe? She is doing discovery work like this too.
November 19, 2014 at 8:34 am
Thanks Julie! Yes, I am familiar with Food Babe. She’s great, I’m glad she was able to get the word out about all the yucky stuff in our food to such a large audience.
December 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm
Wow! I have allergic contact dermatitis and am allergic to one of the formaldehyde releasers, as well as various other chemicals and two metals (nickel and gold). I was familiar with all these ingredients but I didn’t know about DHEA and pregnenolone. Thanks! Let’s see, I got the allergic contact dermatitis during the five-year period before I was diagnosed with Lyme. I’m working on a post about chemicals in hair products and also one about gold allergy. My skin is nuts, so dry brushing is out. Let’s see,favorite products: Avalon Organics fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner, coconut oil, Alima Pure foundation and eyeshadow and EccoBella lipstick (some of the colors have carmine though).
December 6, 2014 at 10:21 am
Thanks for sharing your favorite products! I’ve been meaning to check out Alima products.