• Nutritionist Jennifer May

What's In Your Beauty Products (and natural alternatives)


Toothpaste

  • Often contains titanium nanoparticles which are potential carcinogens (cancer causing), are linked to crohn's disease and are incredibly harmful to beneficial bacteria (posing a threat to the health of our good bacteria in our guts, and the bacteria in our environment once excreted). This newly discovered chemical exposure is currently being studied to determine the exact threat it poses to our health via consumption and to the health of our planet.

  • Contains Flouride which may block iodine absorption leading to (or exacerbating) hypothyroidism and therefore contributing to weight gain, fatigue, constipation and goitre. Flouride isn not a necessary nutrient and, though it assists with building strong teeth and bones, the amounts we need are microscopic. With the volume of flouride in our water and toothpaste we are building up toxic levels.

  • Typically contains sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) which more than 16,000 studies have determined may cause: cancer, mutations, hormonal imbalances, organ toxicity and reproductive toxicity. Other names for SLS include: Sodium dodecyl sulfate, Sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, Sodium salt sulfuric acid, Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid.

  • Also contains triclosan which studies suggest promotes cancer-causing bacterial growth, development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and, again negatively effects the thyroid.

Swap:

  • Try using a natural, flouride, triclosan and sodium lauryl sulphate free toothpaste such as Grants which is made from all natural ingredients. This is available at supermarkets for just $3 - $5

Facewash

  • Typically contains SLS which may cause cancer, mutations, hormonal imbalances, organ toxicity and reproductive toxicity.

  • Contains parabens which are hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Parabens are absorbed through the skin and have been found in biopsy of breast cancer tumours.

  • Can contain formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives which are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals).

  • The chemicals listed above are in most commercial facewash formulas - including those that state they contain organic ingredients or fruit extracts. These chemicals have been linked to cancers including breast, prostate, nasal and nasopharyngeal cancers and may interrupt male reproductive functions.

Swap:

  • Try natural products such as Manuka Biotic Face Cleanser or Black Chicken Cleanse My Face Oil. I'm currently using the latter and just a few drops goes a long way. My skin feels and looks fabulous and you get a free aromatherapy treatment with every wash thanks to the essential oils. This is a great choice for sensitive skin, however do be mindful to transition slowly if you have problem skin. Ideally using the new product once every second day for a week or so to allow your skin time to settle.

Toner:

  • Contains parabens which are hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Contains "fragrances" - this term can mean anything up to 4,000 separate chemicals including Pthalates, another hormone disruptor linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • Contains isopropyl alcohol which may deplete your good bacteria in and on your skin, while also weakening the defensive barrier oils.

Swap:

  • Try a natural toner such as rose water, pure witch hazel or even just splash icy cold cucumber water on your skin, fresh from the fridge, after washing with warm or hot water. Any of these methods will produce the desired effect. Choose the one which best suits you.

  • For those who would like a homemade version, try adding a bag of green tea to a mug of water. Allow to sit overnight in the fridge, in the morning the solution is ready to be used as your toner after washing. Be sure to rinse with cold water afterwards for best results.

Face moisturiser:

  • May contain parabens, hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Pthalates - which are often unlisted as they are classified as "fragrances". Pthalates are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, potential carcinogens (cancer causing) which are microscopic in size, so can easily penetrate your skin and into your bloodstream. Potential health risks of titanium nanoparticles include nerve damage, dna mutations and cancer.

Swap:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil, macadamia oil, johoba oil or almond oil make excellent face moisturisers.

  • For best results, steam your face first and then rub 2 drops into the palm of your hands, then massage into the face.

  • If you have dry skin, I would recommend applying more, leave to soak for 1 minute and then use a soft towel to blot or brush off the excess.

  • A jar of extra virgin coconut oil will cost you around $6 from the health food isle of your local supermarket. As a natural antibiotic, it also works well for problematic skin, however you can add a drop or two of pure lavender or tea tree for enhanced results - be careful to avoid the eye.

  • Other options: Try Andalou Naturals 1000 roses Beautiful Day Cream or Black Chicken Love My Face Serum

Shampoo, Body Wash & Soap

  • Often contains pthalates, which are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which may cause cancer, mutations, hormonal imbalances, organ toxicity and reproductive toxicity.

  • Contains "fragrances" - this term can mean anything up to 4,000 separate chemicals including Pthalates, another hormone disruptor linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, potential carcinogens (cancer causing) which are microscopic in size, so can easily penetrate your skin and into your bloodstream. Potential health risks of titanium nanoparticles include nerve damage, dna mutations and cancer.

  • May contain Nitro- and polycyclic musks linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

  • Triclosan, another hormone disruptor linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, hormonal imbalances and skin irritation. May also lead to development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Swap:

Sunscreens:

  • Contain hormone disruptors such as benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate.

  • These chemicals have been associated with health complications such as increased risk of endometriosis, altered sperm production and alterations in reproductive system, thyroid and behavior according to the environmental working group.

  • The toxic effects of chemicals in sunscreens is a huge concern, given that products containing these chemicals are liberally, and regularly, applied all over the body. Even more alarmingly, many of these chemicals are found in the milk of breastfeeding mothers after use of these products.

Swap:

  • Go for natural products which use zinc oxide as the main UV protective ingredient. This natural product offers excellent UV protection and has no evidence of hormonal disruption.

  • Our natural sunscreens are really improving in recent years and I predict that we'll see them improve further in future years.

  • I use Andalou Naturals Age Defying Beauty Balm SPF 30 daily as my sunscreen, primer and foundation in one. It offers great protection (even for my pasty white skin) and gives a youthful, hydrated, clear complexion. Best of all, it doesn't block the pours leading to breakouts like so many other sunscreens. It took me a long time to find a sunscreen that I could wear daily without suffering from irritated skin and acne breakouts. This product I've used daily for almost 6 months and I'm highly impressed.

  • For body: I use SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen Lotion which I find excellent.

Notes:

  • Unfortunately, natural sunscreens don't yet go above factor 30. We all know that some days in Oz, where it's impossible to avoid prolongued sun, some of us need a little higher than that. What I do on a day that a higher sunscreen is necessary, is wear the all natural products on my skin to form a natural barrier, and then use a factor 50 on top. This is not ideal of course, I'd much prefer to just sit in the shade where possible. However it does mean that the primary products absorbed contain natural ingredients. You may still absorb the chemicals from the factor 50, however it is likely that your absorption will be reduced which is an improvement.

Conditioner & Hair Serum:

  • Contains pthalates, which are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which may cause cancer, mutations, hormonal imbalances, organ toxicity and reproductive toxicity.

  • Contains "fragrances" - this term can mean anything up to 4,000 separate chemicals including Pthalates, another hormone disruptor linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • Contains parabens which are hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Can contain formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives which are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals).

  • Propylene glycol, a small organic alcohol conditioning agent which is a skin irritant and penetrator associated with causing dermatitis and hives.

Swap:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil, macadamia oil, johoba oil or moroccan oil make excellent replacements for hair serum. Use enough to lightly coat the palms of your hands and stroke through the hair.

  • As a deep conditioner or hair care treatment, try a coconut oil hair mask, coat the hair and allow to sit for 1hour prior to washing with your preferred shampoo. Further conditioning is not usually necessary - if you have oily or thin hair you may need to shampoo twice for best results.

  • For dry hair, try 100% Pure Honey & Virgin Coconut Restorative Conditioner

Body Cream:

  • Contains Propylene glycol a classified skin irritant.

  • Contains pthalates, which are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • Contains "fragrances" - this term can mean anything up to 4,000 separate chemicals including Pthalates.

  • Contains parabens which are hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Can contain formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives which are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals).

  • Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, potential carcinogens (cancer causing) which are microscopic in size, so can easily penetrate your skin and into your bloodstream. Potential health risks of titanium nanoparticles include nerve damage, dna mutations and cancer.

  • May contain Nitro- and polycyclic musks linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

Swap:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil - this little star comes in pretty useful doesn't it. Keep a jar of this handy and you have a face moisturiser, hair treatment, body moisturiser and even an oral cleanser whenever you need one. Best of all, it's available at your local supermarket for a very low fee.

  • Thank You body moisturiser. If you need a break from oil, prefer a creamy base or are just not a fan of the coconut smell, this one is for you. This moisturiser is all natural and proceeds from this brand go towards helping sustainability charity projects around the world. So you get to give back while also taking care of your body. Best of all it's only around $6 - $7 for a decent sized bottle from your local supermarket or Priceline.

  • A favourite of mine in summer time is the About Life cacao and coconut butter. There is a small amount of cacao in the mix so not only do you get a great sheer finish, you also get a little natural tint too.

Makeup:

  • One of the most toxic items on the list, the chemicals in your make up are, no doubt, about to shock and disgust you. However, don't dispair, natural makeup is on the rise and the quality is better than ever before.

  • The environmental defense group in Canada found that:

  • 96% of makeup contains Lead, a known cancer-promoting heavy metal which may also inhibit healthy thyroid function,

  • 51% contain Cadmium - a known carcinogenic (cancer causing) which is used in clinical trials to enhance the growth of cancer cells, hormonal disruptor which mimics oestrogen, and negatively effects brain function.1

  • 20% contained arsenic - which is well known as an effective poison. Long-term exposure can result in thickening of the skin, darker skin, abdominal pain, diarrhea, heart disease, numbness, and cancer.2

  • The FDA conducted a further study on heavy metal toxicity of makeup in 2016 and declared that, while these metals are present, they are not in large enough amounts to cause harm. However it was largely underestimated how frequently a female reapplies lipstick. Also, we must consider the long term implications of these heavy metals, which build up in our system as we do not have the capacity to excrete them.

  • These chemicals and more are linked to conditions such as cancer, asthma, fatigue, depression and anxity. Widespread use of chemicals within our personal care products is being frequently studied with surprisingly negative conclusions. Yet we are usually left in the dark - promoted clean, white images of beautiful, healthy looking models using the products on their unblemished skin.3

  • Other chemicals which may be present in your makeup are:

  • Propylene glycol a classified skin irritant.

  • Pthalates, which are linked to increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

  • "fragrances" - this term can mean anything up to 4,000 separate chemicals including Pthalates.

  • Parabens which are hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives which are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals).

  • Dr Mercola reviewed common lipsticks and collated a list of those to avoid in his article here. Lipsticks in the "to Avoid" list include many popular brands such as L'Oreal Colour Riche (#410 Volcanic), Maybelline Color Sensational (#125 Pink Petal), CoverGirl Queen Collection Vibrant Hues (#580 Ruby Remix), Revlon Matte (#009 Fabulous Fig) and many more.

Swap:

  • Luckily many natural brands of makeup exsist, chemical free and enriched with natural, plant based skin conditioners and minerals which may actually improve your health when absorbed. Here's a list of some of my favourites:

  • Inika Organic: a fabulous, all natural, organic, Vegan cosmetic company originating from our very own Sydney Australia. I love their products and they are definitely my go to.

  • Andalou Naturals Age Defying Beauty Balm SPF 30 is my favourite daily BB cream. The best part about using natural products is that your skin becomes so illuminated, you really don't want to put a heavy foundation on. This product works perfectly for primer, foundation and sunscreen all rolled in to one.

Note:

  • My go to for a year or so for chemical free lipstick has been Burts Bees Lip Shimmer- an all natural lipstick made from 100% natural ingredients - or so I thought. On researching this article, I discovered that Burts Bees lipstick actually contains titanium dioxide. As we do not yet know the full implications of this potential carcinogen I am currently hesitant to use or recommend any products which list this as an ingredient. This was a very disheartening discovery and it'll be a sad moment to be throwing away this favourite which I'd thought was a safe choice all this time. This just furthers my interest in the continuing assessment of the safety of products which we use frequently.

Deodorant:

  • Aluminium which is known to posess genotoxic capabilities (meaning it may damage the genetic information within a cell causing mutation and potentially cancer) may interfere with, and cause changes to, the oestrogen receptor, leading to changes in our hormonal metabolism and regulation.1

  • Contains parabens which are hormonal disruptors which mimic oestrogen and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

  • Titanium dioxide, currently being studied to determine it's potential health risks, which may include increased cancer risk.

  • Triclosan, a known hormonal disruptor which may disrupt thyroid function (leading to fatigue and weight gain) and reproductive hormones.

Swap:

  • My go to for deodorant is Black Chicken Axilla Paste. This is without a doubt the best natural deodorant I've come across to date. It smells like cinnamon cake batter and has ingredients so natural and healthy that you could literally eat it. Unlike many other natural deodorant solutions, this product offers all day odor control. Which was put to the test this summer as my partner and I suffered through 40 degree heat and a broken air conditioning unit which our estate agent has been in no rush to fix. Long, 12 hour days in that heat with back to back appointments were the ultimate test for this product, which kept us both fresh despite the conditions. For this reason I have decided to only recommend this itme as a natural swap.

I hope you've found this article helpful. I know that it is a lot to take on, and again I don't want you to feel overwhelmed with the task of transitioning. My suggestion is to begin swapping your chemical laden products as they run out with chemical free, natural alternatives. You could use those which I've listed in this article or simply research other alternatives for youself.

Also I would like to disclaim that this article has not been sponsored by any brands or companies and with no ulterior motives other than to raise awareness. I have done my very best to find the most natural and chemical free alternatives for you in this post, however, it is always wise to do further research in to each product as occasionally new chemicals come to light and product formulas also change. Remember, I was recently disappointed and let down with the discovery that my favourite Burts Bees formula contains titanium dioxide.

I would love you to share this post with anyone who you feel would benefit, we have been kept in the dark for way too long. New research will no doubt come to light and new natural products will continue to rise as the popularity for chemical free alternatives increases.

Until next time, stay deliciously healthy.

Jennifer May Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.ATMS

Nutritionist



Sydney City Nutritionist

 

L4, 65 York St, Sydney, NSW 2000

reception@sydneycitynutritionist.com

1300 366 342