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Safe Personal Care

Safe Personal Care (1)

Many of us are completely unaware of the potentially harmful chemicals used in everyday products like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, moisturisers, body lotions and makeup. We buy these products in good faith and assume they are safe to use, but unfortunately this is not the case.  How trusting we are with the numerous products we massage into our skin, spray onto our armpits, scrub our teeth and gums with, and even clean our babies with.  Yet the long-term effects of many of these chemicals are unknown.   Because we are the first generation to be exposed to the dangers of using these harmful substances, only time will tell what the consequences and the adverse effects on our populations will be in the future.  It's up to the consumer to take the time to consider these issues and weigh up the pros and cons and decide if the means justify the end.

We don't give a moment's thought to the impact exposure to the cancer-causing ingredients in these everyday familiar products has on our health.  On the other hand, the cosmetic industry spends both time and money (billions of dollars to be precise) persuading us that we need their products.  Their sophisticated advertising techniques not only persuade us to buy their products, but also try to convince us that many of their products are a basic necessity.  Look at how these advertisements prey on our fears that without their products we are not taking proper care of our bodies, and often they convey a message that makes us feel vulnerable.  We may well believe that our bodies will betray us at the wrong moment with unwanted bad smells.  Quite frankly this type of advertising does a very good job of putting enough effective pressure on us to make us part with our hard earned cash. So what are we to do?  Are we, the consuming public, prepared to sit by passively and allow this industry to get away with bombarding us with hazardous chemicals? Should we go with the flow or wake up and smell the chemicals? These major multinational companies may well argue it is not their intent to corrupt their products with harmful ingredients. Once they list the ingredients they fulfil their role and it is entirely up to the consumer to decide if they want to purchase these products. Once again the choice is yours and you know it makes sense, common sense.


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Of course scrutinising and checking labels is not an easy process for those of us who are not in the know.  It's of little benefit to the consumer to be confronted with a list of complicated ingredients that is difficult to understand. It can be difficult to get to grips with incomprehensible labels typed in the smallest possible print and we automatically switch off to the information displayed right in front of us.  When it comes to anti-ageing more creams, most of us are dubious enough despite the slick miraculous marketing claims.  One distributor recently told me in his company they have a laugh that these creams are " hope in a bottle" Clever marketing also takes advantage by trying to reassure us with meaningless terms claiming that many products are ‘natural’, ‘organic’, and ‘hypo-allergenic’.  It may at first seem reassuring to see these labels, but this untrustworthy language is misleading and often masks the truth behind these prettily packaged toiletries and cosmetics.  Unfortunately most of us believe that these terms could not be used if they were not true, for example “hypo-allergenic” simply means the manufacturer feels it is the “less likely” to cause allergic reactions. But here again there are ongoing opportunities to make large profits as these products often command a higher price. We believe that they have unique specific natural formulations that are of a superior quality than normal products.  We have to remind ourselves again that where there are vested interests, responsibility for the consumer’s long-term health is not always on the agenda.  There is no doubt that there are many questions to be answered about the safety of the ingredients in these everyday personal care products.  The next few paragraphs will give you a starting point and may well convince you that you need to make informed choices when it comes to your personal care products.

Let's first have a look at the key information on the dangerous chemicals that exist in everyday personal care products.

untitled This is my favourite toothpaste, floride & SLS free


Most of us would gasp at the thought that a product as familiar as toothpaste can contain harmful ingredients such as fluoride and sodium lauryl sulphate.  If you take the time to check the precise ingredients on the average tube of toothpaste you may well decide you need to change your choice of products.  We are well aware that children because of its sweet taste often swallow toothpaste. This sweetness is because many of these toothpastes contain the artificial sweetener saccharin, which is a known carcinogen (a cancer causing substance).

As most people recognise the fact that toothpaste contains fluoride, I think I should bring your attention to a few facts about this chemical.  If as little as 1 gram of fluoride is ingested, it can cause dangerous poisoning.   Fluoride can accumulate in body tissue and can be poisonous if ingested over long periods of time: WHO Geneva: World Health Org.  Fluoride and Dental Health 1994.  By law all toothpaste sold in America must carry a warning sign which states clearly; “If more than what is needed for brushing is accidentally swallowed, contact a poisons control centre immediately”.

It's true!  This is toothpaste we are talking about!  This is that familiar product that we use twice daily in our mouths.  U.S. labelling laws are 15 years ahead of the labelling laws that exist here and are much more stringent. Upon investigation I discovered that safety data sheets actually list sodium fluoride as a severe poison.  When you consider the risks from this substance, surely it would be wiser to find a safer alternative.


Sukin-Hair-Products My Favourite Sukin Shampoos



The main offenders in commercial shampoos are the harsh synthetic detergents that are listed as sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate.  These irritating foaming agents are also found in toothpaste and children's bubble bath.  Sodium lauryl sulphate is an aggressive cleaner that is the most reported common cause of eye irritations in commercial shampoos.  It has a low molecular weight that is rapidly absorbed by the body and will readily penetrate the skin.  When ingested it is more toxic than if it were taken intravenously.  It is also retained in the eyes, brain, and liver - particularly in the eyes of the young - and its effect on the liver and brain are cumulative.  Skin allergies, contact eczema, and cataracts (and also mouth ulcers in the case of toothpaste) are some of the risks we are exposing ourselves to when we use this harsh chemical.

What’s more is that it has been found to cause liver and skin cancer in animal studies.  Sodium laureth sulphate is widely used in most children's shampoos, as it is somewhat milder.  Sodium laureth sulphate can contain 1-4 dioxane (a potent toxin), which is a known carcinogen (a cancer causing substance).  If you have concerns about these harmful chemicals in your shampoo and toothpaste, you may want to reduce your exposure to their harmful effects by becoming a selective shopper. 

Antiperspirants deodorants

The main culprit found in antiperspirant deodorants is aluminium. Aluminium compounds are   neurotoxic for humans and have a build up effect in the brain, liver and lungs.  This is very evident when we look at the research into Alzheimer's disease, which found that large amounts of aluminium were contained in the brains of victim’s.  The link with Alzheimer’s disease and aluminium compounds has been scientifically proven.  When we use products that contain these harmful substances the liver must work harder to try to rid the body of them.  These detrimental foreign substances can become entwined in DNA and can cause damage at a cellular level. Products containing aluminium compounds are listed as known or suspected carcinogens (Cornell Carcinogens Database).  It should also be noted that cancer and osteoporosis are other dangers associated with these chemical cocktails.

The FDA advisory panel has called for the removal of these chemicals from antiperspirant deodorants.  Many harmful substances that were considered safe to use in the past, had catastrophic side effects for humans and are now banned.  So bear in mind that the invisible dangers contained in the products we are now exposing ourselves to may well become the banned substances of tomorrow.  When it comes to antiperspirants my belief is that less is always best.

So my advice is check the labels on products and keep your skincare regime simple and sparing. Make sure the products you are using are free from harmful chemicals. My go to range is Sukin as it is not too expensive for everyday use. For a treat I love the Pyth's & Saaf ranges :)

2 thoughts on “Safe Personal Care”

  • Mags McCormack
    Mags McCormack July 28, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Bernadette,

    I am on a hormone tablet after my breast cancer. I suffer with joint pain especially my fingers. Do you know of any supplement/ vitamin that I could take that may ease this joint pain. I have to take into consideration that any supplement has to be free from oestrogen. I really enjoy your website and newsletters. Thanks for your assistance. Mags

  • Margaret

    What is a safe color to use on grey hair after chemo.

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