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Are Your Personal Care Products Behind Your Nagging Health Problems?


by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) Most of us are adversely affected each year by a silent from of chemical warfare that is taking place every day, right within the comfort of our own homes. Although we may have started watching what we eat, we are still destroying our immune systems with thousands of toxic chemicals that are known carcinogens, hormone disrupters, and cancer-causing agents.

This destruction starts with the morning routine. If you are a man, you will probably use shampoo, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, hair gel or styling products, shaving cream, and aftershave or cologne. A typical day for a woman starts much the same, with the added possibilities of shower gel, body and face cream, lotion, moisturizer, make-up, hair spray, perfume, and nail polish. By the time you make it to the door, you have swallowed, inhaled and absorbed through your skin hundreds of toxic chemicals, some of which have been proven to be deadly to laboratory animals and many of which are known to cause cancer.

Mysterious or nagging health problems

If you are suffering from dry flaky skin, persistent skin irritations, rashes, sinus problems, allergies, asthma, respiratory ailments and other health problems that never seem to go away, it may be time for you to examine the negative effects your personal care products are having on your health. Itís great to exercise and watch what you put into your body, but you must also watch what you put on your body and even what you use to clean your house if you want to achieve optimal health.

Any substance you put on your skin or inhale will enter your blood stream just as surely as if you had swallowed it. Once chemicals enter the blood stream, they are perceived by your immune system as foreign, and they are perceived by your liver as toxins. When your immune system and liver are busy dealing with toxic chemical overload, they arenít available to do the jobs they were intended to do. Thatís why people who allow toxic chemicals into their bodies suffer from frequent bacterial and viral infections, other mysterious maladies, and even cancer.

One look and you will be amazed

Have you ever taken a close look at the ingredients in your personal care products? Whatever you are seeing probably includes water. Is there anything else on the label that you recognize as a naturally occurring substance you might actually want to put inside your body? If it doesnít occur in nature, it shouldnít be inside of you, because you are a natural being.

Kiss My Face Corporation makes a wonderful soap bar that lathers up and cleans just fine. The only ingredients on its label are olive oil, water and sodium chloride (salt). There are no fragrances or toxic chemicals. Thatís what a label should look like. How does the label on your soap look?


Just say NO to fragrance

No matter what the advertisements try to make you think, fragrance does not come from flowers or anything else natural. The fragrance you are smelling comes from the more than 4,000 chemical fragrances made in laboratories, many of which use waste products from the petroleum industry. Several of them are know to cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, and brain and central nervous system damage including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsonís Disease and Alzheimerís.

Since so many products are now scented, the number of people who are made ill by chemical fragrances is steadily increasing. Babies and children are even more vulnerable, along with those recovering from illness or disease. Chemical fragrances are everywhere: laundry detergent, fabric softeners, dish washing liquids, suntan products, sunscreen, incense, lotions, moisturizers, lip balms, and almost every other personal care product. Chemical fragrance is even found in many products labeled as unscented because it is contained within a compound when that compound is added to the product.

Do you have a symptom you canít get rid of? Exposure to scented products can cause the persistent symptoms that mystify people, such as chronic aches and pains, headaches, allergies, swollen glands and lymph tenderness, heart palpitations, memory loss, fatigue, asthma, nausea, and neural-motor dysfunction including dizziness, and fainting. In children and adults, fragrance can cause learning and behavioral problems, attention deficits and hyperactivity, and many other symptoms. Continued exposure to chemical fragrances along with other toxic chemicals can cause development of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Disease. When you have this disease, the slightest whiff of a toxic chemical makes you so ill you cannot function and your ability to interact with the rest of the world is seriously compromised.

You've got to look out for yourself

Itís tempting to say to yourself that these products must be all right or the government wouldnít allow them to be sold, but this isnít true. The personal care products industry is not supervised. The FDA does not require manufacturers to register their products or to file safety data on the ingredients they use in them. Manufacturers are free to put in as many toxic chemicals as they want. The only thing that stops them is reaction from the public. A few years ago magazines came with scented strips advertising the latest perfumes. Such a great number of people were sickened by the scent and complained that the use of these strips was discontinued in many magazines. If enough people refused to buy toxic personal care products, manufacturers would stop making them.

Products you use while taking a shower are particularly dangerous because you are using them at a time when the pores of your skin are opened by hot water, allowing quick and easy access to your blood stream. A look at the ingredients in your shampoo may be shocking. There are more than 100 toxic chemicals traditionally used in shampoo, and most brands contain 20 to 30 of them in addition to chemical fragrance and dyes.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a primary ingredient in almost all shampoos. In addition to its toxic effects on the immune and detoxification systems, SLS has been shown to corrode hair follicles and impede hair growth. It has been blamed for premature hair loss. The Material Safety Data Sheet provided by the U.S. government says exposure to SLS can lead to burning, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting. The American College of Toxicology says that SLS stays in the body for up to five days and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain.


Don't give your money to corporations trying to deceive you

While there are many natural alternative substances available that will clean and beautify you far better than these toxic concoctions, the large corporations that produce personal care products wonít use them because it would cost too much money and interfere with their profits. They even try to disguise their cheap chemicals with tiny amounts of natural ingredients that are prominently featured on the front of the bottle. This is done to deceive you into buying what you think is an item that promotes health. But turn the bottle over and you will see a mind boggling list of toxic ingredients.

If you have decided that you donít want to pay your hard earned money to corporations that strive to deceive you, you will find that discovering how to replace toxic products with products that support good health is not an easy task. No matter what it says on the label, there are virtually no products in any of the discount stores, traditional supermarkets, or drugstores that are not filled with health compromising chemicals.

Some supermarkets featuring organic or health sections carry Burtís Bees products. Burt's Bees was once a product with integrity, but it has been bought out by Clorox Corporation and the natural ingredients in the products are being replaced by chemicals.

You will have a better chance of finding products that promote health at a health food market. But even there, you canít just walk in and buy whatever appeals to you on sight. Many products that claim to be healthy or natural contain high levels of toxic chemical. In fact, there are even some products that market themselves as organic but contain no real ingredients whatsoever! Whole Foods Market publishes a list of ingredients not allowed in the foods they sell, but many of these ingredients are contained in their personal care items. Apparently it is all right with them if the toxins enter your body through your skin instead of your mouth.

When you try to replace your personal care products with ones that promote health, you will find that almost every item you pick up lists ingredients that sound like chemicals. The only way to be sure of what you are buying is to research these ingredients. Here is a website where you can easily research many of these ingredients using their search box:

Many people have found that the easiest and most cost effective way to shop for health promoting products is to use one of the online health retailers. Each of these carries an amazing array of the personal care and cosmetic products typically found in health food stores, and their prices are lower. The ingredient lists are clearly displayed for each product they carry.

Aubrey is the name of a company that seems to consistently provide items that are of fairly high quality and free of most toxins. Their products usually contain several organic ingredients, but the FDA recently made them change their name from Aubrey Organics. Many of their lotions and shampoos are scented with natural oils. Of course, these products are fairly expensive, but if you order them online there is a substantial savings.

Although the Kiss My Face company makes that luscious olive oil soap without fragrance, they also make several other varieties of soap using fragrances created from chemicals. And many of their other products contain an array of toxic ingredients.

Jasonís brand is good for toothpaste, making several flavors without fluoride or significant toxic chemicals. But again, much of their line contains objectionable ingredients. There is just no way around it: you must read the labels.

Cosmetics made entirely from minerals are gaining in popularity as witnessed by the astounding growth in Bare Escentuals shops. Mineral cosmetics provide the effects of traditional cosmetics and usually donít contain toxic chemicals and hormone disrupters. There are several other companies that sell cosmetics made from minerals. Their products are available at health food stores and online.

Itís not easy to make the change from disease promoting personal care products to those promoting health. It seems to require some trial and error, a lot of time to do research, patience, and a commitment to paying higher prices for the products you use. But once the change is made and these products become as familiar to you as the ones you used to buy, it will be easy from that point on. You will realize that you have made a significant investment in your future health and freedom from disease, and you will feel proud of yourself. You will know that itís all a matter of priorities.

After you have found products in every category that you really like and have seen how good you feel using them, you wonít even consider returning to the old brands. You will feel good about spending your money on products made by a company that knows its future rests in producing products that keep you healthy, rather that a corporation that sees you only as someone to be exploited. And you may realize that looking your best can be achieved only with the vibrant glow of good health shining from your insides out.

See also:

Safe Substitutes for Toxic Chemical Products - Making your Home Safe in the 21st Century

About the author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

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