Recently, during my pregnancy, I experienced some severe skin rash and itchiness. Wanting to relieve my discomfort, I set out on a mission to look for a couple of natural products to take care of my sensitive skin. Walking through the health and beauty aisles in the various stores, I was amazed at how difficult it was to find high quality, natural products among the seemingly unlimited number of choices.
Today, a huge amount of health and beauty products are packed full of chemicals, some of which are thought to be extremely harmful to the environment. If the items are detrimental to the earth, it is likely they are not exactly the best for you, either. In fact, many of those chemicals are known as xenoestrogens, foreign estrogens that can interrupt the body’s natural hormone balance and cause various menstrual disharmonies.
So next time when you pick up a health and beauty product in the store, be sure to read the labels carefully. And here are a few tips to consider…
Avoid the Parabens
Parabens are additives in many products that are used for the purpose of preventing bacterial growth. This synthetic ingredient may be listed as methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben, along with other variations. In addition to being a risk to the environment, this chemical has been linked to numerous health issues in humans.
Ditch the Phthalates
Phthalates are a chemical used in an array of health and beauty products, often including nail polishes, body washes, shampoos and conditioners, lotions and color cosmetics. While they have been banned in many countries, they are still very much integrated into the beauty industry in the U.S. They can sometimes be identified on the label as fragrance, phthalate, DEP and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Phthalates can cause adverse effects on wildlife and aquatic residents as they can contaminate the environment both on land and in the water.
Look for Plant Based
When shopping for health and beauty products, focus on plant based products such as eco-friendly shampoo or other environmentally friendly health and beauty aids. With the ingredients coming from the earth, they are less likely to have a negative effect when they filter back into it. It’s more likely that plant based items will be biodegradable, too. This also extends to products that utilize essential oils instead of synthetic fragrance, which can include phthalates. They will be better environmentally while also being healthier for you.
When you see a product with the USDA organic seal on it, you are being assured that the product is free of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically engineered organisms. The product will include natural and biodegradable ingredients. There are many companies that offer complete lines of these types of products to fit just about every health and beauty need.
Create Your Own
If reading labels is too frustrating and confusing, eliminate the middle-man by creating your own health and beauty products. There are numerous websites that are dedicated to this very thing with step by step guidance for beginners. This way you can be 100 percent confident that you know the exact ingredients going into your products.
While it may be overwhelming at the beginning, it does get easier to locate eco-friendly items as you become more familiar with hazardous ingredients and companies that do and don’t use them. Look and feel great while allowing the earth to do the same.
What are your favorite eco-friendly health and beauty products? We’d love to get your tips.