get excited that so many people are starting to go beyond just reading food labels – we are sourcing local, organic meats and produce and even raw dairy. Many of my friends have joined me in brewing our own kombucha & regularly consuming bone broth (yummy for breakfast!). All these changes really add up to keeping more of those vital nutrients in and keeping out the chemicals and anti-nutrients that lead to disease.
It shouldn’t surprise you then that paying attention to what goes ON our body must be equally important. The skin is our largest organ. Anything we put onto our body has the potential to penetrate the skin. Research shows that most of the synthetic chemicals used in personal care products cause irritation, trigger allergies and migraines, disrupt the hormone and endocrine system and are carcinogenic.
When we think about the products we use daily, shampoo, conditioner, beauty products, lotions, creams, body butters, bar soap, bath gels, cosmetics, body wash, hand soap, facial cleaners and more-the numbers of toxic chemicals can reach well into the thousands! That compounded exposure over time is a recipe for overloading our natural defenses and wreaking havoc in the body.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Toxic Ingredients in beauty and personal products to avoid. This isn’t a comprehensive list, check EWG’s Skin Deep Database for that, however, for the sake of getting started (and eliminating a feeling of overwhelm), let’s all just agree to throw out any product with these:
- Synthetic Colors
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Propylene Glycol
- Sunscreen Chemicals-benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate, ethoxycinnmate
Yikes! If you’re like me, you just stopped reading to go look through every product in your bathroom and broke out in a cold sweat thinking, “What am I doing to myself and my family?”
Hold on-this is NOT about freaking out!
Well, okay, there IS a little freak out involved but that spurs us into action! The action here is knowing the top things to avoid and then learning what you CAN do to begin eliminating all those harmful chemicals and reducing the toxic load in your life.
Let’s look at making an easy swap for one of those products you may have tossed, a moisturizing lotion. This lotion recipe is very versatile- you can customize it for anyone in the family and it’s made from just a few ingredients featuring beneficial essential oils.
½ C. Almond, Jojoba or Olive Oil (Organic)
¼ C. Coconut Oil (Organic)
¼ C. Beeswax
1 tsp Vitamin E oil for natural preservative
3 Tbs Shea or Cocoa Butter (Optional for extra moisturizing)
20-30 drops pure essential oils
Basic lotion scents: Some good choices to consider year-round are Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Myrrh, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood or Rose.
- I personally like to combine several essential oils and add citrus oils to my lotion for their uplifting aroma. However, all citrus essential oils cause photosensitivity and will cause the skin to burn quickly when exposed to the sun so I suggest avoiding adding citrus during the summer months or when spending significant time in the sun.
- For a feminine body lotion try 10 drops Ylang Ylang, 10 drops Frankincense, 10 drops Wild Orange.
After Sun Lotion: For a soothing after sun lotion try using 15 drops Lavender, 10 drops Peppermint and 5 drops Melaleuca.
Diaper Cream: For a safe & effective diaper cream try 10 drops Frankincense, 5 drops Lavender and 5 drops Melaleuca.
Aftershave Lotion: For a great aftershave try 5 drops Patchouli (or Sandalwood), 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops Cedarwood and 5 drops Melaleuca.
Beard Oil: For a quick & natural beard oil, simply leave out the beeswax & butters and use Fractionated Coconut Oil instead of regular (solid) coconut oil! It’s just that easy guys!
Let’s make it!
Step 1: Place all ingredients (leave out essential oils for now) in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I love using a mason jar or reusing a sanitized glass jar from pickles or spaghetti sauce.
Step 2: Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium-low heat.
Step 3: Put a lid on the jar loosely (to keep out any water) and place upright in the pan with the water.
Step 4: As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Every few minutes gently swirl the jar to combine (be sure to wear a protective, heat-proof glove). When all ingredients are completely melted, remove from the pan of water. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Add in your essential oils. Swirl well to combine and pour into whatever jar you will use for storage. Small mason jars (8 oz) are great for this. I like dividing this recipe up for different uses, so I use two 4 oz lidded jars.
Step 6: Use as you would regular lotion. (Note: A little goes a long way!)
Your skin will THANK you!