• Casey Thomas-Hardesty

5 Personal Care Products to Focus on When Reducing Toxins



We’re rounding out our Reducing Toxins blog series with one of the most important areas to your health – reducing toxins in your personal care products. Many personal care products contain ingredients that have been linked to hormone disruption, skin irritation, environmental concerns, and more.


Check out the other posts in this series:

Part 1 - 5 Inexpensive Ways to Reduce Toxins in Your Home

Part 2 - 6 Areas Where You Can Reduce Toxins in Your Kitchen

Wanting to make changes to your personal care products gradually and on a budget? Here’s a great place to start.

  • Look up your current products on EWG’s Skin Deep database to see more on the ingredients and ratings. For anything with a low rating, finish out the product that you have before making the switch. For anything with a high rating, decide if you want to go ahead and replace with a safer alternative or finish out the current product.

  • Focus on products that stay on your skin for extended periods of time. These have the greatest chance of toxic exposure and skin irritation.


5 Personal Care Products to Focus on When Reducing Toxins


Deodorant


First of all, ditch the antiperspirant in favor of deodorant. Antiperspirants work by closing the pores and preventing you from sweating. You may not need fancy detoxes like diets or saunas, but you do need to sweat. Sweating is key in both the body’s detoxification process and body temperature regulation.


But what if I sweat too much or my sweat smells? That could also be due to your antiperspirant. The buildup of sweat within the pores and bad bacteria on the surface of the skin can cause the sweat to smell unpleasant. When you switch to a natural deodorant, you may want to detox first . This process allows your skin time to clear before applying baking soda based deodorants.

Finding a natural deodorant that works for you may be a bit of a trial and error process due to different baking soda concentrations and individual skin pH. THIS one is my personal favorite. As one of my readers, you can use code TWOPEASWELLNESS for 10% off your first purchase.

Lotion


Whether for your face or body, lotion is a product that covers a large surface area and stays on the skin for a long time. In fact its’ goal is to absorb past the skin’s top layer! Here’s where you can run into problems though. Many conventional lotions contain potentially toxic ingredients such as:

  • Parabens – Known endocrine (hormone) disruptors meaning they may mimic estrogen within the body and/or interfere with testosterone balance

  • Fragrance – Often contains a mixture of chemicals including phthalates, known hormone disruptors. Can also contribute to allergies and skin irritation

  • Formaldehyde releasers – Chemicals that work by forming formaldehyde in products. Formaldehyde is a known skin irritant and has potential links to cancer.

  • PEG – When manufacturing PEG, companies may use 1,4 dioxane or ethylene oxide, possible and known human carcinogens, respectively. You aren’t able to tell whether PEG was contaminated with these ingredients, so it is in your best interest to avoid them all together.


See my go-to face moisturizer (HERE) and body lotion (HERE). This body butter is also amazing if you are looking for a thicker moisturizer.

Sunscreen


While we need some sun exposure for vitamin D production, it is important to practice safe habits when it comes to your time in the sun. Among those is applying sunscreen. However, not all sunscreens are created equal, and I’m not just talking about SPF ratings.

EWG has published a comprehensive GUIDE of sunscreens sold in the U.S. Among the products they examined, two-thirds contained potentially harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has not only been shown to damage and deform coral reefs, leading to its’ ban in Hawaii, but it has also been shown to disrupt hormones, especially in adolescent boys.

Studies have found that adolescent males with higher oxybenzone measurements had significantly lower testosterone levels. Other studies showed significant correlations between oxybenzone exposure in pregnancy and duration of pregnancy and birth weights in women carrying male babies.

For a safer sunscreen option, stick to mineral based sunscreens such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These mineral sunscreens form a physical barrier over the skin to block out damaging UV rays without the use of hormone disrupting and skin irritating chemicals. This spray (HERE) and lotion (HERE) are my favorites. They are non-nano zinc oxide based sunscreens that rub in well, unlike many other mineral sunscreens. Bonus: the non-aerosol spray is super convenient for me to use with my three young boys.

Pads & Tampons


Approximately one week per month every month from adolescence to menopause, the exposure to toxins in conventional pads and tampons can really add up. While research studies might not be able to explain why, numerous women (myself included) report more regular cycles with shorter bleeding times and less cramping when switching to organic feminine hygiene products. Multiple ingredients could be contributing to this including phthalates, chlorine or other bleaching agents, and pesticide residue on cotton.


For a safer bet, and possibly a better period experience, switch to organic. I prefer Seventh Generation or L brand. Want to go more environmentally friendly at the same time, consider a menstrual cup (Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, Lena Cup, or Blossom Cup), reusable cloth pad, or period panties.

Makeup


Like some of the other products we discussed, makeup can contain parabens, phthalates, PEG, and other chemicals that can cause skin irritation, allergy concerns, and hormone disruption. When switching out makeup, I like to focus on products that are directly against your skin, like foundation, or those that could easily be ingested, like lipstick. Mascara is another one that I changed out relatively early in my journey. Something about toxins potentially going into my eyeball just didn’t do it for me. With advances in research and industry, many brands are showing that you can still get rich colors and high performance products without the potentially harmful ingredients.


I hope I’ve shown that switching out your personal care products doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming. Simply take a look at these five areas to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to safer products. These companies prove that safer doesn’t have to mean lower performing.


What about you? What are some of your go-to safer options for personal care products?


Resources:

https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/antiperspirants-fact-sheet

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/does-aluminum-in-pans-and-antiperspirants-lead-to-alzheimers-disease/2013/05/03/e2726998-ae75-11e2-98ef-d1072ed3cc27_story.html?utm_term=.27c01aa377e3

https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/07/feminine-care-product-increases-women-s-exposure-harmful-phthalates

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