Why You Should Look at Your Personal Care Products
I’ve been blogging all year about different ways that you can detox your life and I’ve really been (and plan to continue) taking a full mind-body-spirit approach to detox, so we have been looking at different areas of our lives where we can make a difference.
If you’ve been reading with us so far, you have been challenged to look at
- Decluttering Your Home
- Improving Your Sleep
- Cleaning Up Your Plate
- Detoxing Your Home-- using all natural cleaning solutions.
I would say that if you have made one improvement in each of these areas so far this year, it is likely beginning to make a big difference in your own well being.
Let’s move on to this month’s topic, which is your personal care products. I hope by now you all have figured out that I’m a realist-- meaning, I don’t believe that overnight you are going to go from the most chemical-laden personal care products to only using shea butter and skipping the antiperspirant.
But we’ve got to start somewhere if we are to continue on this lifelong journey of kicking out the chemicals.
Did you know that the average female exposes themselves to 168 chemicals each day, just from their personal care products? Think about it....shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, moisturizer, foundation, concealer, various makeup powders, mascara, deodorant/antiperspirant, perfume, lotion.
By the way, here is an article that discusses which chemicals you might want to be concerned about and why.
I will be the first to tell you that when I started in the personal care industry, I really believed that the chemicals you put on your skin were not a big deal. The concentrations were so low, and the molecules have to be so small to get absorbed across the skin (this is why some drugs can be used transdermally and some cannot), I assumed it was all well studied and thought out. That, and the fact that I’d been using these chemicals for years and I was “fine”.
Then, I began studying hormone replacement therapy. And do you know one of the most effective ways of delivering hormones?
Transdermally. Through the skin.
So many of the offensive chemicals in personal care products are “endocrine disruptors” because their chemical structures mimic hormones and they are small like hormones. So, there went my theory about them not being absorbed well.
Next, dosing. It is true that the concentrations of these chemicals in your personal care products is low. The problem is, that we don’t really know what dose of these chemicals is harmful long-term; just because something doesn’t cause you a problem today doesn’t mean it won’t contribute to a problem in the future. Some of these chemicals accumulate in your body because they have very long half-lives (pharmacy trivia: How many half-lives does it take for something to be considered completely eliminated from your body? Answer at the end of the article). Also in relation to dosing, doing hormone replacement therapy has taught me that it takes a very low dose of something used topically to get the same effect as an oral dose. This is because when you take a chemical by mouth, your liver gets the first go at it metabolically speaking. So most drugs are heavily metabolized in the liver and a bit of it gets in your blood stream and delivered to the tissues where it acts. BUT, if you take a chemical topically (one that is small enough to be absorbed), that chemical goes straight into your bloodstream and your tissues before it makes it to the liver to be metabolized.
Anyone still with me? That was my technical explanation for “A dab’ll do ya.”
The point of all this information is this: Many of these chemicals are most definitely absorbed into your body, they are highly likely to accumulate in your body and they are highly likely to have long-term effects on your body.
If you want to get started with decreasing the chemicals in your personal care products you’ve got a few options. The most expensive one is to go home and dump your makeup drawer and toss all the products in your shower, then go out and buy all new things! Half of which you will be dissatisfied with and have to replace again!!!
Or, if you hate putting hard-earned money in the trash, you can start the next time you replace a product. In my house, we made one simple swap to begin-- I switched from my traditional body wash to the Everyone Soap that we carry at The Pill Box Pharmacy. Next, I switched to EO Deodorant-- it was a big deal because it is not an antiperspirant, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. So in this way, slowly but surely, I am replacing my products one by one. I’m simplifying my beauty routine.
And, if you will indulge me for just a moment, I got an unexpected surprise when I started making these changes. I’m starting to like myself more. I honestly feel like all these years of putting on a bajillion products everyday has solidified in my mind that “I’m ugly”. I have to cover up my smell, my blemishes, my wrinkles, myself. Have you ever thought about how much time we, as women especially, spend covering up? This is another topic, for another day, but I challenge you to think about it--- how many products do we need to love ourselves and to be valuable to the world? I bet there is something you can do without, and you might just like yourself better for it.
Oh yes, the trivia answer: 5 half lives (so if a chemical has a half-life of 5 hours it would take 25 hours to be eliminated)