Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, moisturiser, deodorant, face wash, styling products and make up…getting ready can take a lot of beauty products!
Most of us don’t give a second thought to using a plethora of products every day, unless it’s hoping they have the anti-ageing, beauty enhancing, frizz smoothing (delete as applicable) powers they proclaim. However many of the beauty products commonly available contain a number of ingredients and chemicals that can have an alarming effect on our health.
Allow me to share with you an overview of some of these ingredients and what they do; you’ll never look at that shampoo the same again!
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate –
Sulphates or SLS are found in most shampoos and shower gels, and are the ingredients that make them foam up on application. Indulgent they may seem, but sulphates are linked to a number of adverse health effects including dry skin and dandruff (ironic when it is an ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos), plus irritated eyes and skin.
Ultimately SLS is used because it’s cheap, but while it may be a common ingredient in beauty products, it is also used to dissolve the grease on car engines. If it can strip away oil from a car, imagine what it is doing to the natural oils in your skin.
Most worryingly is what happens when Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is absorbed into the skin. One of the main effects is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen. This may be responsible for a variety of health problems including PMS, menopausal symptoms, dropping male fertility and even some cancers like breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.
While many of the main brands now produce sulphate free hair care ranges, these still often contain some of the other questionable chemicals that may negatively affect our health. In future I’ll be trying to avoid these and putting some of these products to the test instead. With natural ingredients that I’ve heard of and recognise, what’s not to love?
Jason Aloe Vera Satin Hand Wash/ Green People Fluoride and SLS free toothpaste/ The Body Shop Rainforest Volumising Shampoo
As it’s a metal, you wouldn’t necessarily expect aluminium to be in your beauty products; but it is commonly seen in deodorants thanks to properties that reduce perspiration. However what manufacturers haven’t observed are its links with a number of health complaints including breast cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
I don’t know about you but I’d rather not be spraying toxins on my armpits day in and day out! For an all natural alternative the juice of a lemon applied directly to the skin is apparently a good anti-perspirant. Zesty, too! If, like me, you’re not sold on citrus then salt based deodorants are also recommended. Here’s a selection that are available from health shops…
OY! Roll on Organic Deodorant/ Faith In Nature mineral salt deodarant/ Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant
Like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Parabens are found in a number of products as they act as a preservative and ensure a longer shelf life. However they too can mimic the hormone oestrogen, and researchers have found parabens in breast tumours, leading them to believe there is a relationship between the two.
Also parabens are thought to adversely affect the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system. While pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies would argue that there is no risk of using parabens, I would err on the side of caution and avoid these as much as possible. There are a number of paraben-free cosmetics available, including the following…
Lavera Almond Milk Organic Shampoo/ Skin Blossom Gentle Organic Cleansing Milk/ OY! Organic Shampoo and Body Wash
Yes bleach, as in the highly corrosive irritant that you put down your toilet, can be found in a number of products including hair dyes and sanitary products. While it is not surprising that it is used in many hair dyes to lighten hair, the presence of it in some products that are used internally is alarming.
Here’s a little more information from So Organic:
“Tampons are usually made from rayon which is commonly chlorine-bleached. Dioxin, a toxic carcinogen, is a by-product of all chlorine bleaching methods. Dioxin collects in the fatty tissues of animals, including humans and published scientific reports have shown that even low levels of dioxins may be linked to cancer, endometriosis, low sperm counts and immune system suppression. A woman may use up to 11,000 tampons in her lifetime!”
Luckily there are now more feminine hygiene products available without bleach, like Natracare. They’re a little more expensive, but definitely worth considering.
As you can see, being a natural beauty has never been so appealing! If you’re interested in finding out more, check out these features and blogs.
- No More Dirty Looks
- Is Aluminium really a silent killer? – The Telegraph
- Is your beauty regime damaging your health? – The Guardian
Do you use natural beauty products, or will you be considering it?