I have shared a lot about food, but I haven’t shared much about other areas that affect our health. One of these areas is environmental toxins.
Now, we can get all freaked out about pollutants in our community, and we probably should to some degree. BUT, let’s focus for right now on the things that we can directly change for ourselves! There is so much we can do to limit our exposure to hormone disruptors, carcinogens and neurotoxins.
In this post I’m sharing 5 simple swaps that can help improve your health and decrease your risk of exposure to harmful chemicals, but before we jump into that, I want to share what most conventional products have in common.
Let’s talk about the F-word: Fragrance.
More than 3,000 materials have been reported as used in fragrance compounds found in cosmetics and other consumer products. Fragrance is considered a trade secret, so companies DO NOT HAVE TO DISCLOSE THE INGREDIENTS USED TO CREATE THEIR FRAGRANCE. These blends may include, phthalates, synthetic musks, and other ingredients that are linked to hormone disruption and allergies. And by the way, using the term “natural fragrance” doesn’t mean safe.
You may be surprised by how many products you currently use in your home that contain “fragrance” listed as an ingredient. Your skincare, makeup, deodorant, perfume, lotion, cleaning supplies, detergents, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and even TAMPONS are all big culprits that contain these chemicals. Pretty crazy, right?
There are better products out there, for just about anything you desire. Here are 5 swaps you can make for your family.
Have you ever walked down the laundry aisle at the grocery store and been hit with all those “fresh” scents? I have to avoid the aisle completely or hold my breath! That “fresh” smell you’re breathing in is actually a whole lot of toxic chemicals! These chemicals are also released into your neighborhood by your dryer vents, as well as staying on your clothes to be released as you wear them! It doesn’t stop with the scent though. Most conventional laundry products contain hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and potential cancer causing ingredients.
There are other options for getting your clothes clean! I have used several safer options, but here are my favorites: Molly’s Suds, Seventh Generation (powder only), and Branch Basics! All score an A on the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning!
To replace my dryer sheets, I like to use wool dryer balls. They’re reusable and fairly inexpensive!
Oh man, changing my deodorant has been rough! I’ve tried several brands, but it took me a long time to find one that works the best for me!
Why did I go through the hassle of changing my deodorant? It’s simple really. It’s because of ingredients like aluminum, phthalates, “fragrance” and others that can be found in most conventional deodorants.
Aluminum is super common to find in most antiperspirants, and it poses a serious risk to our health. Continued exposure to aluminum has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It also interferes with our body’s natural ability to detoxify through sweating! When you don’t sweat, you can have a toxic buildup going on in your body.
Phthalates and parabens and “fragrance” blends are also very common, and are known endocrine disruptors. They have also been linked to breast cancer and birth defects.
Other ingredients to look out for are triclosan, and synthetic ingredients (often contaminated by formaldehyde).
After trying out many different options for safer deodorant, I’ve found that Primally Pure works the best for me! Deodorant is a very personal thing though, so you may have to try some before you find the best option for you! A couple other brands I like are FATCO, Primal Life Organics, and Schmidt’s Naturals (just be sure to look for a scent that doesn’t include “Fragrance” as an ingredient).
If you’d like to try Primally Pure and get 10% off, go here!
Recently, the FDA stated that mineral sunscreens are now safe, and that ingredients in conventional sunscreens need more research. This is huge! Two of these ingredients found in most conventional sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, are known hormone disruptor as well as being known to cause severe damage to the coral reef.
Conventional sunscreens use chemical ingredients to absorb the sun’s damaging rays and defuse the heat produced by these rays. Mineral-based sunscreens actually act as a physical barrier to bounce the sun’s rays off your skin.
I am very light skinned, and with that, I burn very easily. When I learned about the questionable ingredients in most sunscreens, I started looking for better options. I tried several mineral based sunscreens and wasn’t impressed until I tried the sunscreen from Beautycounter. The texture and consistency was so much smoother and didn’t leave me with an even whiter sheen than I naturally have. It also didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy, which is a big plus. From an anti-aging perspective, this sunscreen blocks UVA, UVB and Blue Light. For my face, I love Dew Skin tinted moisturizer!
Up until we moved to our property, I had been able to hide in the shade most of the time to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, sunscreen or not. I had to find some other options in addition to my sunscreen to be protected while mowing the fields and doing other chores outside during the summer. That’s when I started including big floppy hats and sun protective clothing! Very stylish, I know! I found my hat at a local farm store and my shirts came from Eddie Bauer (a similar one here). This combo of Countersun Sunscreen, floppy hat and UPF clothing has made time in the sun so much more enjoyable!
Skincare & Cosmetics
On average, women use 12 personal care products a day. Men use about half of that, and teen girls use an average of 17 products a day. Each member of your family could be exposing themselves to hundreds of harmful chemicals just during their morning routine. Yikes!
Unfortunately, there is very little regulation regulating the personal care industry, and what little there is, is based on a laws created over 80 years ago. That’s far too old and outdated! The United States currently only bans or restricts the use of 30 ingredients from use in personal care products. Canada bans or restricts 600 ingredients, and the European Union bans or restricts 1400 ingredients. As you can see, the US is far behind in their safety regulations.
After I had made big strides in the nutrient density of the foods I was eating, I was looking for other areas that could be effecting my overall health. My makeup and skincare was the next step for me. It began with oil cleansing and mineral based, organic makeup. I wasn’t entirely happy with the results I was getting though. That’s when I decided to try Beautycounter. I wanted skincare that was safer for me AND ACTUALLY PERFORMED similar to or better than conventional products. I was hooked from the beginning, and continued as a customer. In 2017, I decided it was silly for me to not partner with this company that was not only created wonderful products, but was on the move to push for stronger health protective laws so that everyone had better access to safer products, too. Check out their Never List, which includes over 1500 harmful ingredients that they will never use in their products. By the way, Beautycounter has products for everyone in the family: Women, Men, Kids & Babies!
If it feels overwhelming to overhaul all of your personal care products, I totally get it. Start where it feels comfortable to you. Check out how your current products rank on the EWG Skin Deep Database and start the biggest offenders. Little by little, you can limit your exposure to harmful chemicals that could be effecting your overall health.
Household Cleaning Products
I know many people are just as attached to their cleaning supplies as they are to their skincare, so this can feel like a lot to take on. The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning can be a big help here. Start by looking up your current products to see how they rate, and swapping out the worst offenders first.
After switching to safer skincare, my next step in detoxing our home was our cleaning supplies. I opted to start with Branch Basics, and I still love these products. They make it simple with their concentrate that can be diluted for different uses. You can even get kits with reusable bottles for varying uses and the concentrate. Not only are you using safer products, you’re also reducing waste! Recently, I’ve added in Norwex clothes for cleaning. These clothes use silver woven into them to create an anti-bacterial effect. While they claim you don’t need a cleaning product with them, I still opt to use my Branch Basics with them. I also love their Body cloth and use my Beautycounter body wash with them.
If you’d like to give Branch Basics a try and get $10 off, go here!
Have you started swapping to safer products for your family? What have been your favorite products? Share in the comments!
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