organic cosmetics and body products

Image source: & Stuart Miles

Organic Cosmetics and Body Products

I used to think I didn’t need organic cosmetics and body products, in fact the less expensive they were, the better.

But after my breast cancer diagnosis, I did so much research it would make your head spin.  What I became aware of is that most commercial body products and cosmetics found in grocery stores and drug stores are absolutely full of toxic chemicals that are causing us harm every day we use them.

The Problem with Parabens

For example, Dr Philippa Darbre of Reading University in the UK, together with Mr Lester Barr, University Hospital of South Manchester, analyzed the breast tissue samples from 40 women undergoing mastectomies between 2005 and 2008 for first primary breast cancer.  In total, 160 samples were collected, four from each woman, covering locations from nearest the armpit to the sternum (breast bone).  The results showed that 99% of the tissue samples contained a class of chemicals found in nearly all commercial body products and cosmetics called “parabens” and 60% of the samples had five parabens.

If you look at the list of ingredients on many commercial body products and cosmetics purchased from the grocery store, you will find “methylparaben”, “butylparaben” or “propylparaben” toward the bottom of the list.  They are used as preservatives so the product has a long shelf life.

What this research means is that our bodies are under bombardment every single day by the toxic chemicals we encounter in our body products and cosmetics. The big companies that produce these products don’t give a darn about whether they are safe or not.  People are buying them, so what do they care?  The problem is that if these chemicals are not passing through our bodies and being eliminated, they are accumulating in our tissues and can often cause health problems.

Check Your Labels

Look at how many toothpastes have a chemical called sodium laurel sulphate in them. It’s a known skin irritant and xenoestrogen.  Why would you want this in your mouth?  Or your 2-year-old’s mouth?

Observe how many lotions have propylene glycol in them: it is better known as anti-freeze! You want to put this on your body, why???  It’s a petrochemical and a known hormone disruptor!

I’ve only discussed a very few of the toxic ingredients that are included in commercial body products.  Did you know that the FDA is the “watchdog” of the American cosmetics industry, yet it’s one of the least regulated industries here in the USA?  The FDA knows about these toxic chemicals, but their hands are tied, they can only “suggest” the ingredients be removed, not force companies to do that.

So it’s up to us.  My advice is be a label reader. If you aren’t prepared to eat it, don’t put it in or on your body because you are still absorbing it.

Good Resource for Safe Products

To discover exactly which ingredients are causing problems, go to the website put together by the Environmental Working Group – it’s called Skin Deep.

Feel free to use that link to search their database of over 70,000 chemicals. Grab one of your body products and go down the list, click on each chemical name and the website will tell you  whether the ingredient is safe (green tick), a moderate hazard (a yellow tick), or a high risk hazard (red tick). Enlightening, no? If you had any yellow or red chemicals, I’d toss the thing out.

I would challenge you to go through your bathroom and throw away any commercial body products and cosmetics that have toxic chemicals in them.  Your body and mind will thank you for it. Choose organic products, they are the safest. One of the companies I like and who are doing the right thing is discussed in my article Another Source of Safe Cosmetics and Body Products.

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