• Nutritionist Jennifer May

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


Toxic Chemicals in Toothpaste

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

Toxic Chemicals in Facewash

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.

Toxic Chemicals in Beauty Products

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.

Toxic Chemicals In Cosmetics

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

Toxic Chemicals In Soap

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:

Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen

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.

Toxic Chemicals in Hair Care Products

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

Natural Substitutes for Toxic Beauty Products

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.