The skin is our largest eliminative and protective organ, which is why it makes perfect sense that what we put on our bodies affect us just as much as what we put in our bodies. Your body absorbs everything it comes in contact with… whether that's through your skin, your mouth, your eyes, your nose, or your ears.  Think about all of the non-food products that your body comes in contact with daily, including those bottles in your medicine cabinet and the ones under the sink you use to clean your house.

Sure you may have never thought about how toxic they might be because they come in nicely packaged bottles with nice pictures on them, when in actuality a skull and cross bones might be a more accurate depiction.

Let's run down the list to see where you can improve. Don't worry, I provided a list of suggestions on what to replace these items at then end. It's a process so start out slow and steady.

Did you use any of the following today?
– shampoo
– conditioner
– body soap
– face soap or cleanser
– facial toner
– facial moisturizer
– sunscreen
– toothpaste
– tampons
– perfume or cologne
– body lotion
– makeup
– shaving cream
– hairspray
– hair mousse or gel
– hair coloring
– nail polish or nail polish remover
– antibacterial soap
– hand soap
– deodorant
– contact solution
– laundry detergent
– baby powder
– fabric softener
– air fresheners (for house or car)
– Lysol or other household cleaner
– dish soap
– Fabreze or other fabric freshener
– baby wipes

Like most people, I would guess that you've used several products from the list above to make your house or yourself look good, smell good… or not smell at all. The problem is, if you're buying these products from the department store or the drugstore down the street, there's a high chance that the products you use on a daily basis are harming your body and wreaking havoc with your health.

Many brands of personal care products contain a plethora of toxic chemicals that are making you sick.  They have been linked to cancer, headaches, reproductive problems, heavy metal toxicity, chronic fatigue, dermatitis, rashes, excema, acne, other skin irritations, eye damage, inflammation, and a host of other health problems.

The beauty industry is not regulated, and they are not forced to comply with many safety standards. This means that you have to take extra care when selecting which products to use on your body and home.
The list of toxic chemicals found in personal care and household products is simply too long to highlight in this newsletter so start with the ones below:

Parabens (petroleum-based preservative)
Laurel/lareth sulfates
Preservatives
“”Fragrance””
DEA (diethanolamine)
Talc
Propylene glycol (used in anti-freeze and latex paints)
FD&C or D&C color (it's really coal tar)
Fluoride (toxic substance found in toothpaste)

If you'd like to read more about toxic ingredients in your care products, you can just do a Google search for “”dangers of beauty products”” and tons of information will come up.

Even products that are sold in health food stores and claim to be “”natural”” can contain toxic ingredients – to be sure, you MUST turn the bottle around and read the ingredient list.

If you're starting to feel overwhelmed, I totally understand.  That's how I felt at first. I couldn't tell what ingredients were good and what ingredients were bad for me, mainly because I didn't know what 90% of the ingredients in my shampoo, lotions, and other beauty products WERE!

To make things easy for myself, I adopted two simple rules of thumb that I use to evaluate the products that I use in my home and on my body.  The rules are quite simple, really:

1. If I wouldn't eat the product, then I won't put it on my body.
2. If it contains ingredients that I can't pronounce (or explain) then I don't use it on my body or in my home.
*There are a few exceptions to these rules, as I'll show down below (I do have my favorites and my weaknesses!)

Transition to natural products at whatever pace feels comfortable for you. At least now you are informed.

Here are some of the brands that I really like.

– shampoo – It's tough to find a natural shampoo that works really well. Aubrey's and Avalon Organics are both good. Just make sure to get a shampoo without laurel/laureth sulfates, a toxic foaming agent.
– conditioner – Giovanni, John Masters
– body soap – Dr. Bronners gentle soaps or SoulRaye Botanicals body scrub.
– face soap or cleanser – Avalon Organics Vitamin C creme cleanser or Dr. Hauschka's milk cleanser (Dr. Hauschka's is a GREAT facial line)
– facial moisturizer – Dr. Haushka, Avalon Organics Vitamin C serum or  Jurlique calendula cream
– Sunscreen – Eco, Dr. Hauschka, California Baby, or Kiss my Face paraben-free brand).
– toothpaste – Weleda, Desert Essence, and Tom's of Maine are all pretty good, but still many toothpastes have laurel sulfates in them, so you get really ambitious and make your own with baking soda and other ingredients
– tampons – Natracare or Seventh Generation brands to avoid toxic chlorine
– perfume or cologne – Essential oils provide my only “”scent””
– body lotion – 100% organic coconut oil, Hugo, shea butter, Burts Bee's Carrot Nourishing lotion or Shikai Dry Skin therapy  makeup –
– hair coloring – Aveda
– hand soap – Mix Dr. Bronner's with water and put it in a pretty container. Pangea Organics is also a great brand.
– laundry detergent –  Seventh Generation fragrance-free,
– deodorant – Stay away from anti-persperants like the plague! Your lymph nodes are located in your armpits and if your body needs to sweat, it's to release toxins which will prevent cancer. Natural deodorants like Tom's are okay. Avoid aluminum.

If you haven't already switched your personal care products to healthy, clean ones… please start doing so as soon as you can.  You can order tons of products at www.vitacost.com. They only charge $5 shipping, no matter how big your order is. Or go to a health food store to find good products (it's harder to find non-toxic products at a regular drugstore or department store).