July Chemical Elimination- Soap, Shaving Cream, Aftershave, Sunscreen

Okay, so this whole chemical elimination thing has been a lot harder than I bargained for. I apologize once again for my tardiness in posting! But here, at last, is July’s category.

This month we are covering a number of personal care items, such as soap, shaving cream, aftershave, and sunscreen.  Why do we need to make a switch from using these products in our home?  Modern products contain a plethora of harmful ingredients that have a very direct affect on our health and wellbeing.  Unfortunately, the government does not require health studies before releasing these products, since they make no particular health claims.  But the troubling truth is what goes on our skin is absorbed into our bodies.  As we look for natural and healthy alternatives to these products, what are the ingredients we want to avoid?

Look for products that DO CONTAIN:

  • Only high-quality & pure ingredients
  • Organic ingredients as much as possible

Look for products that DO NOT CONTAIN:

  • artificial fragrances or perfumes (these are derived from petroleum and not something we want to put on our skin. Look for  products only scented with essential oils)
  • parabens, phthalates, dyes or sulfates (What is wrong with these?)
  • Genetically Modified ingredients (Why not?)

In keeping with these guidelines, I can highly recommend two companies for their products, and I will also give some homemade recipe options.

Jenuinely Pure is a mom-created company that offers a variety of soaps at a reasonable price.  They are high quality, primarily organic ingredients and they never use harmful or questionable ingredients, artificial fragrances or perfumes, parabens, phthalates or sulfates, or genetically modified ingredients.

Graham Gardens offers a variety of natural products, including soaps, bug repellent, salves, lotions, lip balm, and baby care products.  Their desire is to use natural, safe ingredients that not only work, but heal. And they just added a certified organic line for $5 a bar!

Shaving Cream

Instead of using shaving cream, I’ve taken to just using either a bar of soap and working up a little lather, or some liquid soap accomplishes the same purpose. This is effective, economical, and simplifies what I have in my shower.

Aftershave

Graham Gardens offers a healing salve with safe, natural ingredients.

Passionate Homemaking has a number of recipes for making your own aftershave.

Sunscreen

When looking for a safe sunscreen, it is important to remember that exposure to sun in a limited amount is a very good thing! We seem to have forgotten the importance of getting some sun nowadays as we are so fearful about harmful UV rays and getting cancer from that.  But the sun is an important source of the very important vitamin D that our bodies so need.  It is good to get at least 15-30 minutes of uninhibited sun exposure a day, and even better to be out in the sun at 15 minute intervals throughout the day sans sunscreen.

But for those long mornings at the pool, here are some guidelines for finding a safe sunscreen:

  • Look for a sunscreen that does not contain added vitamin A  or insect repellent.
  • Look for a sunscreen that does not have higher than 50 SPF.  It is not only useless, it is possibly dangerous.
  • DO NOT buy spray or powder sunscreens.  These can be ingested into the lungs.
  • Look for a sunscreen that does not contain fragrance
  • Look for a sunscreen that does not contain oxybenzne, a hormone disrupter
  • Look for sunscreens that DO contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, Avobenzone  or Mexoryl SX.  These are effective, safe UV blocking minerals.

Here is a great resource for finding a good sunscreen.

To make your own, here is a recipe.

And next month we’ll continue our personal care chemical elimination with shampoo and conditioner!

Further Reading:

Cheat Sheet: Paraben, phthalate and PEG free baby products

Recognizing Harmful Ingredients in Labels

How to Recognize and Avoid Phthalates

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