Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's On Your Body vs. What's In Your Body

Ever heard of a transdermal medication?  Maybe you know them by a different name-- think nicotine patch, hormone patch, etc.

Your skin is your biggest organ, and yes, what you put on it can be absorbed into your bloodstream.  So when you wash your hair, brush your teeth, lotion up, put on cologne, and that sort of thing, you are potentially affecting your body's chemistry.  Phthalates (one of these chemicals) has also been found in plastic food containers, which can leach into your food and enter your system that way as well.  So what you put on your body (and what you store your food in) certainly deserves your attention.

No, not THAT kind of Poison!

One two-week long 2007 study did show that diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and butyl paraben (BP) (common ingredients in hair and body products) are absorbed into the system, although no effects on reproductive or thyroid hormones had been found for that two-week period.   Another showed that some of these chemicals were excreted in the urine and that follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and inhibin B levels had been altered as a result, but that the results were unclear as to whether or not they represented an association with the chemical exposure.  A third study shows a potential relationship between the absorption of these chemicals in pregnant mothers and in the reproductive systems of the resulting children.  Yet another study shows a potential relationship between parabens and sperm DNA damage.  And a rather large Danish study performed in 2012 demonatrates that some testicular function may be compromised by phthalate absorption.  Parabens have been shown to mimic estrogen, and while a confirmed direct link to cancer has yet to be determined, they have been found in breast cancer tissue. 

While further study is certainly merited, I believe a very good argument can (and should) be made that being very careful with the products you use is an excellent idea.  As with food, it's important to be as informed as possible about what you are putting on your body (and what you are putting your food into).  Read labels religiously, and look up the ingredients you're not familiar with.  Look for BPA-free food containers, or stick with glass. 

Now, I'm no girly-girl, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't love my lotions and potions and smellies.  So I thought I'd post the stuff I like to use (nasty ingredient-free!) so that you can see that there are options out there that not only don't put bad stuff in your system, but that give you really great hair and skin, and that make you smell awesome.  I don't get any kickbacks from any of these companies (or from any company at the moment, actually)-- these are simply products that I use and love.  So, without further ado, here's some products I love:

FACE WASH:  Lately, I've been using Passport to Organics' Turmeric Face Wash and really like it a lot.

FACE CREAM:  I vary between using straight tamanu oil (smells kind of grassy, but it's a great moisturizer, anti-inflammatory, and keeps lines and breakouts at bay), Reviva's TGF Beta-1 cream, and Passport to Organic's turmeric face creams

LOTION:  There are two companies I love for lotion.  One is the Body Bakery.  I admit, I have a penchant for smelling like baked goods, and their lotions are super-thick and make my skin extremely soft.  The only problem is, there's not a whole lot of lotion in the bottle, so it doesn't seem to last very long.  I wish they made larger sizes.   Some scents might be a bit too syrupy for many people, too; they have a huge menu to choose from, though!  They also make high-quality linen sprays, candles, lip balms, perfumes, laundry detergent, etc.   The lotion I've been using most often lately is The Raw Food World's Berry-Vanilla MSM lotion.  I absolutely LOVE it, and it comes in a big bottle, too!

HAND SOAP:  Triclosan, the ingredient in many antibacterial soaps, has been linked to impaired muscle function.   As a strength athlete and someone who likes her muscles working the way they should, thank you very much, I don't like that at all.  Also, all that antibacterial stuff has been causing all kinds of nasty super-resistant bacteria to emerge, and that's no good for anyone.  Castille soap works just fine (use it in the shower as a body wash, too!), and is very cheap.  I also like J.R. Watkins soaps a lot, and they smell nummy.  They also make lotions, housecleaners, and such.

HAIRCARE:  I recently discovered Broo's shampoos and conditioners, and I am totally hooked.  My hair is super-soft, and they smell really good but are not overpoweringly scented.

MAKEUP:  I don't wear makeup unless I'm forced to, so I can't really speak for this.  However, for those of you who use them, I found this list of eco-and-body-friendly cosmetics you might want to try. 

PERFUME:  Two of my clients own Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs.  While that definitely makes me biased, I am also genuinely addicted to their smellies.  "Vice" is my current favorite.   And they have a Fraggle Rock line.  What's not to love?

TOOTHPASTE:  I am prone to canker sores, and traditional toothpastes tend to exacerbate those for me.  Also, fluoride is quite toxic to the body (in very large amounts, but still, since it's something I'm putting directly in my mouth, something to consider), so I tend to stay away from fluoride toothpastes.   I really love OraMD (it's REALLY strong, so if you're not used to that, be aware!).  It's expensive, though, so I actually make my own from the same ingredients-- almond oil, peppermint oil, and spearmint oil.  My teeth have been in very good shape since using it.  I also like Now Foods' XyliWhite, but the flavor is really weak, so I tend to mix my homemade concoction with it. 

HOUSECLEANING:  What you clean your house with can be absolutely toxic to your environment-- the house, for many people, is the most polluted place they'll be in.  I make a point of using only non-toxic cleansers.  I like Bon Ami for getting stains out of sinks, bathtubs, and toilets.  I clean my floors with a really good microfiber mop, some water, and a little olive oil and/or vinegar.  For general cleaning and disinfecting, I love Shaklee's Basic H2 mixed with water and some essential oils (I usually use cinnamon, which repels ants, kills germs, and makes my house smell like Christmas) in a spray bottle.  Seriously, one small bottle of this stuff has lasted me over two years now, and I still have a fair amount left.

FOOD STORAGE:  I have been using glass containers and Silvermark's BPA-free line of containers. 

So that's a pretty good list of my favorite stuff.  Hope you found it helpful.  What are your favorite non-toxic products?