This past summer my husband received some product samples when he participated in a triathlon. My first instinct with any new body care product I see is to look at the ingredients, just as if I was shopping for foods, and frankly I was shocked to find questionable ingredients in this body care product.
Most chemicals are absorbed through your skin and circulate into your bloodstream, almost as if you ate it. Drug companies know this, and now you can find more drugs “delivered” through the skin via patches with nicotine, pain medications and hormone treatments. What you put on your skin matters! When you make choices in body care, it’s important to keep in mind the long term results. Your body will absorb chemicals not identified by the body as a natural substance. They circulate them through your body systems like the endocrine system and store those chemicals in your major organs and fatty tissue.
If you are trying to lose weight, you need to get the toxins out of the cellulite before you can really lose weight for the long term. Antiperspirants contain aluminum, so every time you apply that underarm protection, your lymphatic system is drawing in the aluminum. Doctors already know this, before a mammography you’ll be instructed to avoid using anti-antiperspirants or deodorants a couple of days before an exam since the metal particles will show up as “landmarks” on scans. Short term, you probably won’t see any difference, but fast forward 20 or 30 years of daily application and you might see a profound affect. The bottom line is many of these long term effects are still unknown, so an ounce of prevention where you know it might matter can help.
Multiple applications equal more exposure Let’s look at hand sanitizer for example. My focus in health is very much on my children’s exposure to chemicals. Kid’s bodies are more vulnerable to toxin overload simply because of their size and developing bodies. Hand sanitizer is one product I have chosen to convert to a healthier option. Most hand sanitizers have alcohol as their main ingredient. Hand sanitizer dispensers are everywhere: bathrooms, stores, libraries, churches. Everywhere you turn, your child can fill her hands with foaming hand sanitizer. It looks like fun until you think about the dose of alcohol absorbed into her skin every use. Alcohol baths had once been used in hospitals to lower fevers. This practice has since been discontinued because the medical community realized patients were absorbing the alcohol through their skin and getting very ill. There are plenty of safer options in hand sanitation including a few that rely on naturally anti-bacterial essential oils like Cinnamon Clove Hand Sanitizer that uses cinnamon, rosemary, clove and lemon essential oils to clean hands.
Look at your daily routine Body lotions, shampoos and shower gels are also other potential points of chemical absorption. Most products contain artificial fragrance (a.k.a “parfum”), just a combination of secret chemicals, many linked with endocrine disruption. Your endocrine system regulates your hormones, thyroid, metabolism, pituitary gland and more. Avoid any products with the ingredient “fragrance” as the manufacturer can use a combination of unknown chemicals under this term. Parabens have most recently been found to disrupt hormones, and the FDA has banned the use of them in children’s bath and body products. Paraben ingredients are allowed in other products, though. As adults, we still rely on properly functioning hormones don’t we? How many of you know someone in their 50’s, 40’s, even 30’s on thyroid medication?
Learn to Read Labels and identify “secret chemicals”. Not everything is labeled in consumer products. This is thanks to some labeling laws protecting “trade secrets” of companies. Unfortunately, this little loophole has given manufacturers opportunity to add chemicals to products without telling consumers what it is. Some simple phrases you might find on products or product label information could be a sign that it has hormone disrupting chemicals: Propietary blend, inactive ingredients ____%, essential oil blend (with no individual oils listed).
Name That Product I was surprised when I read on the product samples in my husbands “goodie bag” that one product contained Parabens! This sample was a gift to athletes, training for months on end to get their bodies into top shape for an event. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to what I use in my family, I realize this is new information to some of you, but would you use this product knowing that it contains ingredients banned for use with children? Here are the ingredients:
menthol, carbomer, FD&C blue #1, FD&C yellow #5, glycerine, herbal extract (flex paraguariensis), isopropyl alcohol USP, methylparaben, natural camphor USP, propylene glycol, silicon dioxide, triethanolamine, purified water.
I’m going to have a little fun with this, and see if anyone can guess this product.
I’d love to get your input on this, would you use products with these ingredients? Treat your body products like food for your skin, read your labels and know what you are putting into and on your body!
Congratulations to Cindy G. for guessing this product, BIOFREEZE, used by massage therapists, chiropractors and bodyworkers to release muscle tension, aches and pains from aging and active lifestyles. If you want truly natural muscle and pain relief, Therapeutic Grade essential oils are the best choice. You’ve got many options including:
- Peppermint (anti-inflammatory & cooling)
- Idaho Balsam Fir (anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant)
- Basil (anti-spasmodic and muscle relaxant)
- Pain Blend to support healthy joints & muscle
- Raindrop oils are helpful for back pain, using many relaxing oils like peppermint, basil, marjoram and cypress)
Give yourself the best and reduce the chemicals you are exposed to. Chemical laden products work for the short term, with effects on your future health unknown. For most issues, there are essential oil options that work to bring your body into balance and support your health. Check an Essential Oil Desk Reference for more issue specific uses of essential oils.