Are you ready to switch to less-toxic body care, but don’t know where to start? Here are some basic resources and tips I’ve put together for you. Please note that I have no affiliation with any of the brands or products mentioned in the post.
Non-toxic body care is easier and much more affordable than you may think. The numerous chemicals in common body care products overload the body’s detoxification pathways. They can also cause stress in the endocrine system. These products contain numerous endocrine disruptors that can affect hormonal balance. Unfortunately, endocrine disruptors affect men, women, developing fetuses and growing children.
If you are anything like the average person living in the Western world, your home is full of toxic body care products. Don’t let this be a cause of fear or overwhelm. Just get to work on four things in the next 1-2 weeks: soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste. As you gradually give your home and body care products a much-needed make-over, always ask yourself whether you really need a specific type of product or not. Do you really need a dedicated shaving gel, or might the same aloe vera gel you keep in your house for sunburns be a good candidate for this second job?
Body Basics #1: Soap and Shampoo
There are many products out there that are non-toxic and free of artificial scents. Personally, I find that castile soap, Aleppo soap and other olive oil-based soaps work very well.
Castile soap is a liquid soap that doubles as a soap and shampoo. As a bonus, you can use it for numerous cleaning applications around the home. You can purchase it unscented or with the addition of any number of essential oils. I like Dr. Bronner’s brand, available at numerous stores as well as online. When we lived in the US, we used this as a liquid soap as well as a shampoo.
Aleppo soap is a traditional bar soap made from olive oil and laurel leaf. It has a pleasant scent and mild antibacterial properties. If you’re not crazy about the scent of laurel, don’t worry – there are plenty of olive-oil based soaps that are either unscented or lightly scented with specific essential oils.
We like to keep things simple and don’t have a huge love of having lots of different products lying around the bathroom. But if you enjoy the multiple-product concept, you can search the EWG database for options that resonate with you.
Body Basics #2: Sun and Sunscreen
For everyday mild natural sunscreen, you can use jojoba oil or coconut oil, as long as they do not cause acne. Start sun exposure gently and gradually, and use shade, wide-brimmed hats and cotton clothing as necessary for additional protection. Use a safer sunscreen when out in the sun for longer periods of time.
If you or your child burn easily, we definitely should schedule a nutritional therapy consultation, because a number of nutritional variables can affect skin sensitivity. In fact, I used to burn and even blister as a child and young adult. Then I transitioned to a nutrient-dense whole-food diet appropriate for my health goals and compatible with my body’s needs. Amazingly, my skin no longer burns. I’m still careful, but summers are so much more enjoyable!
Body Basics #3: Deodorants
Avoid the standard commercial deodorants, which usually contain aluminum and artificial fragrances. Avoid products containing crystal deodorants, which as this article explains, are aluminum salts that can be absorbed through the skin.
Most people don’t actually need deodorant, but if you have a strong body odor, you can look for a commercial product or a recipe. Milk of magnesia can be used as a deodorant. Learn more here.
If you live in a hot climate, have a very active lifestyle, and/or tend to have a stronger body odor, you may need something a bit stronger.
Here are some natural deodorant brands that perform very well according to a trusted colleague:
- Schmidt’s Sensitive Formulas
- Primal Pit Paste
Body Basics #4: Toothpaste
I recommend using toothpaste that is free of fluoride and SLS. If you can get a toothpaste that is free of glycerin, that’s even better. Glycerin may form a film over the teeth and actually make it harder to keep them free of buildup.
Be careful when looking at clay-based toothpaste options. Clay contains aluminum and incomplete spitting (especially the case in children) may result in absorption of aluminum. I’ve seen high aluminum levels even in some adults using clay toothpaste. These levels return to a lower baseline after the clay toothpaste is discontinued. It’s likely that different people have different affinities for absorbing aluminum from clay toothpaste. However, why risk it?
The OraWellness products seem like a great option for high-quality, non-toxic dental care. Their website also provides a wealth of information on oral and dental health. If you’re interested in trying their products, you may want to try their starter kit.
The Skin Deep Database
The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database allows you to view ingredient and rating information for thousands of skin and body care products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, sunscreen, and more. The EWG also has a series of consumer guides (including their water filter guide) where you can read helpful information on a variety of topics relating to the selection of food, cleaning products, and more.
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