Personal care products do take up considerable shelf space in our homes, but not all of us may be fully aware of what goes in the making of these products. While all personal care items are manufactured to make us look and feel good about ourselves, they contain certain ingredients which can at best be considered toxic.
Shocking! Isn’t it? So instead of taking better care of ourselves, we may actually be doing our bodies more harm than good. But before you go and toss out every bit of personal care item in your belongings, it is important to know which of these ingredients are hazardous for health and which are not.
When you look for a shampoo, soap, shower gel or hair relaxer, try and avoid those that contain sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate. Other ingredients to watch out for are PEG, xynol, ceteareath and oleth. These ingredients are used to make personal care products able to foam; an attractive quality when using shampoos and bath products but which can be toxic for our bodies. Their long term use can cause internal toxicities to the organs and external irritations to the skin, eyes and scalp. Instead it is much better to choose safer alternatives that are made of natural ingredients and not so many chemical ones.
When choosing cosmetics, avoid parabens which are preservatives. Their inclusion in cosmetics and other personal care items is due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties; they prevent fungi and bacterial growth in products. However, parabens tend to get absorbed through skin and can just as easily travel to various parts of the body. Parabens have been linked to disease, are toxic in nature and can lead to skin rashes and other allergies. As a precaution always check labels and choose safer products.
Water-based cosmetics or personal care products are one such option. Once again these may include shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, shower gel, lotion, and others. Water based products usually have water as the main ingredient instead of other chemicals and are designed to keep the skin better hydrated, but contain many parabens.
And while we may be using products thinking of better cleansing properties, items like antibacterial soap, hand sanitizers, toothpaste and deodorant also need to be checked carefully. Among this group of personal care items, avoid those that have triclosan. These ingredients are antimicrobial agents that also gets absorbed by skin and body. Antimicrobial agents can easily disrupt the body’s hormonal balance, and reduce immunity to infection. Exposure to these ingredients has been closely linked to skin irritations while long term use may be associated with chronic conditions. Once again, check labels carefully.
And while it may not be possible to totally restrict the use of toxic chemicals in different products, their exposure can be limited to making careful choices. It is important to research products before buying them and choosing alternatives that are safer.
For more information: http://www.safecosmetics.org/
CosmeticDatabase Research: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
Safer, natural personal care products and cosmetics: http://www.miessence.com/evaorganics