I am on a wellness journey and part of that involves making my own personal care and cleaning products. It has been an easy switch to using safe, non-toxic cleaning products and I feel good about the changes that I’ve implemented in my household. My personal care product adventure has not been nearly as smooth and I am learning a lot as I go. Of course, that means I want to share my lessons with you! However, I realized that while I did let my readers know that I’m making my own products, I didn’t go into a lot of detail about why I’m doing it (you can get some hints from my recent nail polish post). So, while I will share my “cheat sheet” soon, I decided that I need to provide some background first.
If you can’t wait to get started, here are some natural product recipes you might find useful:
Why Should You Make Your Own Personal Care and Cleaning Products?
If you haven’t already, check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database, Skin Deep, and see how the products that you currently use rate on their toxicity scale. Companies shouldn’t be allowed to sell products to consumers that contain harmful chemicals and toxins, including known carcinogens, but unfortunately they are.
The Environment Working Group exists to product human health and to help consumers limit their exposure to chemicals. These harmful products also damage the environment, endanger wildlife, and threaten the health of our pets. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or wouldn’t eat it, why are you putting it all over your skin, which absorbs much of what you apply to it, or allowing it into your home to “clean” surfaces?
Here is a list of ingredients that you should definitely avoid (seriously, go read your product labels):
- DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine) are linked to liver and kidney cancers
- Phthalates and parabens are linked to breast cancer
- Fragrance can mean essentially anything but usually means synthetic, cancer-causing materials
- Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin are not only linked to cancer, but also to allergies, chest pain, chronic fatigue, depression, dizziness, ear infections, headaches, joint pain, loss of sleep, and asthma
- Quaternium-15 is linked to allergic reactions and dermatitis. It also slowly releases small amounts of formaldehyde, which can cause cancer
- Isopropyl alcohol can destroy intestional flora (making you more susceptible to, you guessed it, cancer), cause headaches, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma
- PEG (polyethylene glycol) strips the protective oils off your skin and hair, making them more susceptible to toxins
- Propylene glycol is the active ingredient in antifreeze and can cause brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. Stick deodorants have a higher concentration of it than is allowed for most industrial use and workers wear protective gear when handling it. However, it’s present in many brands of toothpaste, which, of course, go directly into our mouths
- Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, which, when combined with other chemicals, can form nitrosamines, a deadly class of carcinogen. They also cause eye damage, depression, and diarrhea
- Triclosan, is in a cancer-causing chemical class and can result in paralysis, suppression of the immune system, brain hemorrhages, and heart problems
- Talc is linked to both ovarian and testicular cancers
- Petrolatum prevents the skin from breathing and excreting and contains two well-known carcinogens: benzo-a-pyrene and benzo-b-fluroanthene
- BHA, BHT, and dibutyl phtalate are suspected endocrine disrupters and may cause cancer
- P-phenylenediamine hair dyes and “CI” followed by five digits have the potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain
- Siloxanes are suspected endocrine disrupters and reproductive toxicants
- Aluminum is very common in deodorant and has been associated with many health issues, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney problems, and bone disorders
What products are you currently using? How does the EWG rate them?
Disclosure: if you buy any of these products from me, or do any of your amazon.com shopping through my store, my sweet boxer, B, will get some treat money. He thanks you in advance for supporting his cookie addiction and I thank you for supporting my blog.