WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS

 

Karen Ranzi, CCP-SLP
Karen Ranzi, CCP-SLP

I used to think it was safe to buy personal care products from health food stores, but upon further research, I found out many products are not safe at all. To be certified organic, foods are under strict regulations, but there are absolutely no regulations for labeling personal care products “organic.” The products flaunt words such as “natural” and “organic” in big lettering on the front label, but if you scan through the tiny words listed in the ingredients section usually found on the back label, you will see many words that look like they belong in a science experiment. And that is basically what you will be when using these products on your skin. Toxic ingredients in skin care products can cause tumors, reproductive complications, biological mutations and skin and eye irritations. “Natural” fragrances in shampoos and lotions have been linked to cancers.

Foods with higher fat contents hold toxins. Such high fat foods are meats, dairy products and fish. As consumers, we need to carefully examine what we purchase: our food, our personal care and cleaning products as well. It is best to avoid products containing chemicals, artificial colors and fragrances. Look for products that state, “NO ANIMAL TESTING,” that contain non-irritating vegetables, fruits, herbs, and natural scents. Exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. Are you aware manufacturers are not required to include the ingredients for fragrance chemicals on product labels?

Chemicals in body care products have been associated with reproductive problems in women and early onset of puberty in girls, as well as congenital birth defects of the reproductive organs and falling sperm count in men. Many synthetic chemicals are being linked with developmental deficiencies and learning difficulties in children. Use of chemicals such as the fatty acid cocamide-DEA can cause liver and kidney cancer, and as it accumulates in the organs it causes toxic effects on the brain.

It’s always necessary to study the ingredients listed on every package of personal care products. Although the consumer may choose not to buy the product after finding one or more toxic ingredients listed on the label, not all the ingredients are required to be listed. Purchase products that list only plant-based ingredients, not petrochemically based. For example, mineral oil is a petrochemical, but olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe, etc. are plant-based.

Many women, even those who follow a raw food lifestyle, continue to color their hair with toxic products. Many products sold in health food stores appear to be natural, but contain toxic chemicals. The labels will emphasize herbs or organic ingredients, but there are still toxic ingredients in these hair coloring products. After 11 years of eating raw vegan foods, I decided to stop using poisons to color my hair. Why would I want to continue taking in poisonous products when it’s something over which I have control? Even though my intentions are always to avoid toxic materials, I don’t always have control of them in the air I breathe. I certainly do have control of the food I eat, and the products I use on my skin and hair. I now use natural, organic henna for hair coloring. My hair has filled in where it was starting to thin from the chemical dyes.

Or the advantage of not coloring the hair at all is being able to experience the likely return of its natural color after a period of enjoying the raw food lifestyle. The chemicals in skin and hair products enter our bloodstream within minutes. Pregnant and lactating women need to be especially aware of this danger.

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