Personal Care Products: 5 Common Toxins To Avoid

by lydia on January 24, 2011

When it comes to focusing on health, not only is what we put in our bodies of top priority, but what we put on our bodies as well. Personal care products are often loaded with toxins and ingredients you would not want to consume, therefore you should not put them on your body at all. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and when anything is applied to your skin it goes directly to the blood stream. When you eat food, it has to pass through digestion and the liver which can often filter out toxins, not so with the skin. That said, skin care products should be carefully considered when attempting to live a healthy lifestyle.

I am not a big user of  personal care products, I haven’t used deodorant in years and years, nor have I used toothpaste. I detest the stuff. Deodorant often contains aluminum, and for women this is very dangerous considering the application of deodorant is near the breast tissue and lymph nodes. Aluminum is very toxic and should be avoided in your personal care products as well as your cooking equipment. Toothpaste often contains fluoride, which is NOT safe for human consumption, nor do we have any NEED for it like we have been told by dentists for ages. Here are a few articles to educate you on this topic, ‘Fluoride Worse Than We Thought’, ‘Fluoridation the Fraud of the Century‘, and  ‘Finally – Even Dental Association Agrees Fluoride is Bad‘. Finally, my friend Raine of Agricultural Society writes a post entitled, ‘Fluoride In the Water – Does it Really Help Prevent Cavitites?

So, what is and isn’t safe when it comes to choosing personal care products?

Simply put, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin! Is that not clear enough for you? Well then,  I will go into a short list of common toxins to look for on your labels. I know it can be hard to wrap your mind around giving up purchased and bottled products and not everyone is ready to wash their face with just water and use coconut oil as a moisturizer, so learning what ingredients are harmful may be helpful when shopping for products. Though learning about all of this may just convince you even sooner to go cold turkey and just wash your hair with apple cider vinegar already. (I’ll be sure to share my story about using ACV as a hair rinse in an upcoming post on natural hair care.)

Common Toxins to Avoid in Personal Care Products:

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. (and all other sulfates)- this is a highly toxic detergent found in most shampoos, soaps and toothpaste
  2. Fluoride – basically a poison bad for all the systems of the body, not only is it found in dental care products but drinking water. Avoid it like the plague and by all means do not offer it to your babies.
  3. Propylene Glycol – a carcinogenic substance.
  4. Lead, Aluminum and other toxic metals. – present in many personal care products, namely make-up and deodorant. Recent research into toxic metals showed that when a pregnant animal is exposed to these metals they accumulate in large amounts in the fetus. (source – GAPS by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride)
  5. Triethanolamine, Diethanolamine and Dioxanes. – these form highly carcinogenic substances.

This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. When it comes to toxins in personal care products there are more than a thousand carcinogenic and toxic chemicals that are widely used in the formulation of shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, perfumes, creams and so forth. Just recently, during a visit to my salon, my fabulous hairdresser attempted to sell me some products. (I never buy any!) She proceeded to tell me that they were all natural, so I asked her to give me a bottle to look at. I began to read the list of ingredients out loud to her and asked her if they sounded natural to her. Of course, I couldn’t even pronounce the majority of them, nor did I recognize most. Additionally, at the end there were listed red dye and yellow dye. Now why on earth would you want to put those dyes in your hair? Please tell me! She begged me to stop reading because she realized they were not natural and wanted to remain oblivious. Ignorance is not bliss folks. We really cannot remain uneducated about what is going on in our world. We have the ability to avoid toxins to a degree and help to avoid cancers and illnesses and give our bodies a fighting chance in this over polluted world. Not to mention the more people who do not buy toxic products, hopefully a message will get across to the world of manufacturers. My motto is, if it’s not something you would eat, it’s not something you should put on your body either.

Throughout the span of time, people have existed and thrived without the use of personal care products. Our bodies do not even need to be washed with soaps. Soaps and shampoos and so forth not only can contribute to our toxic load, but they strip the body of natural oils, which protect the skin from infections and drying out. Stay tuned for more posts on this topic of skin care. I’ll be posting a number of posts including my own hair care, skin care and tooth care regimes.



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Patty January 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Thank you! Looking forward to your future posts…I’m ready to get rid of toxins but I need replacements! What are some good brands of soaps? What do you use? I just read the ingredients on the backs of some name brand “natural” products and was surprised to find the above toxins…Beware of Tom’s of Maine!


lydia January 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Well Patty looks like Raine answered your question!! I too use Dr. Bronner’s, they have liquid and bar soaps. I use the liquid as my all purpose showering ‘product’, shampoo, shaving etc…… I do not use toothpaste, but I do oil pulling with coconut oil which is a great sort of rinse as well, could take the place of mouthwash for sure. I use coconut oil and castor oil for my skin! Castor oil also makes a good eye make up remover and will help your lashes actually grow lush!!


Raine January 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Hi Lydia – this information is so important for people to know. Everyday, people buy expensive and harmful personal care products that companies have convinced us to buy, and it definitely adds to your toxic load and can cause health issues of many different types – from allergies and asthma, to lymphatic congestion, to Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Like you, I also haven’t used commercial deodorant for several years. There is an herbal spray I use which is supposed to promote breast health and lymphatic health when I really need it – made by Simply Divine Botanicals.

My son has now willingly switched from toothpaste to baking soda and sea salt to brush his teeth. All the soap in our house is either natural or organic bar soaps made with herbs and olive oil or Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps. We use Dr. Bronner’s for shampoo.

For lotion (when we need it, which isn’t very often) we use Roots Brothers natural, organic lotions (out of CA)

When we went to the Santa Monica farmer’s market last summer with Ann Marie from Cheeseslave, we got to try them out before buying, and they are fabulous!

I like how you point out that people have used nothing or natural products for many, many years. The only reason we are so inundated with thousands and thousands of products is because of marketing and to make a profit, which is really unfortunate because our health is at the mercy of big corporations who just care about making money. So go natural!


lydia January 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Awesome info you provided here! This winter has been by far the best for me, no dry skin really to speak of except for on my hands and not even as badly as it has been in past winters! At the conference I got to try out some cod liver oil/butter oil/ coconut oil mixed together as a hand moisturizer that was awesome! I have already tried cod liver oil and coconut oil on my hands but the trio was nice – I’ll be getting some for sure when they finally put it out!!


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