By August 5, 2013 Read More →

Taking Personal Care

personalcareMost girls would agree that going out of the house, especially during daytime without moisturizer or sunblock is a suicide. Apparently, not to the body, but to the skin since the sun’s heat contains UVB rays, which can cause skin cancer in the long run. On the one hand, moisturizers are not in any way helpful in shielding the skin from the sun’s rays, but it can definitely help skin maintain its suppleness since it keeps it at bay from dryness and premature aging brought about by sun exposure. Meanwhile, cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and taking a bath, wearing perfume and a lot other similar activities are all focused to personal care. There is no doubt we need all the care we can get, but are we really caring our body given the fact that most personal care products are filled with chemicals and substances that potentially harm the skin and cause body woes overtime?

Let’s have a checklist on the products you use for personal care. We’re pretty sure you have these: moisturizing soaps, lotion, shampoo and hair conditioner, hand sanitizers, deodorant, perfumes and colognes, cleansers, toners, moisturizers, genital wash, sunblock, and probably feet moisturizers, too. You may not have all of these, but you probably have at least five of them, especially those products that you use when taking a bath. Have you ever tried actually checking the ingredients of these products? Have you ever thought what paraben means or what fragrant and artificial colors mean?

Fragrance – Majority of personal care products contain fragrance or sometimes phthalates when companies don’t want to lure their customers in naming a good product that actually doesn’t bring any goodness to one’s health and environment. Firstly, fragrance is a positive word for all the negative processes and chemicals stuffed into the product during the manufacturing, and one of these chemicals is called phthalates as mentioned above. The said ingredient is known for its potential to mimic hormones and alter its usual activities, which could be a domino effect to the other activities inside our body. On the one hand, some its known health woes are dermal issues, which can include redness of the skin, blisters, breakouts, and the likes. Hence, go for products that only include natural oils or phthalate-free in its ingredients.

Parabens/Preservatives – This is ingredient is commonly found in a lot of whitening products and mostly in skin care products because it lengthens the shelf-life of the item and keeps all the other ingredients intact. Unfortunately, it does not keep our system intact in any way because scientists found it to be a carcinogen. Other preservatives that act like parabens include formaldehydes. In some countries, like Japan, the use of this substance is not tolerated unless there is a warning label in the packaging of the product.

Synthetic Colors – If parabens are synthetic preservatives, synthetic colors are made from coal tars. Coal tar contains metal salts that are toxic when absorbed by the skin. Aside from that, synthetic colors may also mean lead acetate, which is very harmful to one’s nervous system. Synthetic colors are also labeled dyes in some products or FD&C or D&C. Nevertheless, the last two labels are FDA-approved, but this doesn’t mean that these are entirely safe for use.

At this point, you might be wondering on where and how you can find personal care products that are not contaminated with all these dirt. Don’t fret yet because there are still a lot of ways in getting personal care products without sacrificing health issues and environmental woes. Here’s a list of safe personal care products from top to bottom:

Hair Care

Shampoo – Firstly, most shampoos contain formaldehyde, harsh detergents, and carcinogenic compounds. While there is not one shampoo out there that contains zero chemicals, there are actually some products that contain few traces of harmful substances. Nevertheless, brands like Alaffia Shampoos, Burt Bee’s Rosemary Mint Shampoo, Green Beaver Shampoos, Morocco Shampoos, Zosimos Botanicals Shampoo, and a lot more.

Conditioners – Most hair conditioners contain propylene glycol, FD&C, and parabens to remain fragrant and keep hair smooth in long hours, but these ingredients can irritate skin and may actually harm it in the long run. Some of the most eco-friendly conditioners in the market include Pure and Natural Conditioners, Honey Coconut, Desert Essence Jojoba Oil, and others.

Cleansers and Body Wash – Known for the presence of sodium laurel sulfate and its other relatives; FD&C colors; polyethylene glycol; ethylene dioxide, and parabens, most cleanser and body washes are known for its annoying effects on the skin, particularly on sensitive skin. The user may suffer from redness and swollen areas in the skin to major woes including dermatitis. These are actually the culprits of darkening and reddening of facial skin when using facial cleansers that are too harsh for the skin. To avoid experiencing such issues, go for Aveeno Eczema Body Care, Nivea for Men, Earth Safe Hand and Body Wash, Sigrid Chamomile and Calendula Cleanser, Dove Sensitive Moisturizing Body Wash, The Body Shop Gentle Shower Cream, and more.

Body Powder – This product is used to keep us cool and dry all throughout the day. Most moms are probably guilty of showering their sweaty kids with fragrant body powder, too. Unfortunately, most body powders are made with parabens, eugenol, citral, and lyral that can irritate skin. In line with this, researchers also found that women using unsafe body powder in genital area may expose the user to ovarian cancer. Safer alternatives to body powder include rice flour, tapioca flour, and cornstarch. If you want commercial ones, go for Zosimos Botanical Dust, Kettle Care Bath and Body Powder, Be Green Bath and Body Powder, and the likes.

Toothpaste – Who can ever go out of the house without brushing his teeth? Flossing may be done once in a while, but brushing your teeth is done at least twice a day, especially if you’ve just eaten a spicy food and you want to impress that gorgeous colleague of yours seated next to your table. To keep teeth healthy sans the harmful chemicals, opt for Healing Scents, Alternative Oral Care Tooth Powder, Miessence Toothpaste, Kiss my Face, and a lot more. All of these don’t contain artificial sweeteners, sodium fluoride, triclosan, and detergents.

Lotions, Creams, and Moisturizers – All of us need creams and moisturizers to defy aging or at least avoid from premature aging, but little did we know that it these very creams and moisturizers that contain petrolatum, preservatives, thickeners, propylene glycol, lanolin, and other chemical compounds that seep into the skin and irritate it. These chemicals are known to interfere regular hormone activities and cause contact dermatitis. Therefore, it is more beneficial if we go for plant-based products like shea butter and cocoa butter. Meanwhile, some reliable products in the market include Burt’s Bees Outdoor Miracle Salve, Ella’s Botanicals Lotion, Cococare 100% Cocoa Butter, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and other products that are free from the mentioned chemicals above.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants – We never want to go out of the house with sweaty underarms, right? Worse, we would never want to stink, which make deodorants and antiperspirants the best choices when going out of the house and feeling dry and fresh all day. To keep smelling fresh all day sans the harmful compounds, pick Solay Salt Stone, Green Beaver Deodorants, Burt’s Bees Deo, and other similar products.

Now that you know the ingredients that make these daily necessities awful, it is best to start replenishing your current skin care products with eco-friendly and healthier options. Look for products that don’t contain any of the mentioned chemicals above and go for it even if they cost a little bit higher than those conventional, cheap, and chemically-filled pieces. You’ll certainly be thankful for them in the long run.

About the Author:

A senior writer and editor of The Green Guide and a father of 3 kids (1 girl and 2 boys). Rob's special interests include geography, enviroment study and hiking. Rob has traveled to over 100 places in 30 different countries in the past three years. His exotic and fun experiences will be talked in his new book which is going to be published soon.

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