Your skin is your body’s largest organ, best detox friend, and the mirror of your health and lifestyle.  And it should be glowing It is also porous which means it absorbs everything you put on it. Face, underarms, and genitalia are the three most absorbent areas.   No wonder why just from makeup alone, American women accumulate nearly 5 pounds of chemicals every year.   How does this happen? On average, we use 12 beauty skin products daily containing 168 chemicals, double of what men use.  Less than 20% of those chemicals have been tested for safety, and many of them are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.  The reason why chemicals are used in personal care and beauty products is to make them soft, malleable and have a long shelf life.  Very convenient for our lifestyle but not so much for our health. Want to choose clean and natural over chemical beauty products? This is a quick guide to help you make informed decisions and continue enjoying your daily pampering me-time, now cleaner and healthier than ever before.  
    1. Look for natural ingredient-based organic products that are color-, fragrant-, and phthalate-free.
    Phthalates are a family of chemicals found in similar places as BPA and used in hundreds of products including personal care, especially those with scents.  Just in the beauty category alone, they are added to nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations.  Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is the type most commonly used but DBP, DMP and DEHP can also be hiding in the ingredients label.  Look out for those and choose a product that will be nicer to your skin.   I bet your first reaction after reading this is to look in your toiletries cabinet.  Go for it!  Just realized that most of your favorite and expensive products are high on phthalates??!  Ideally you should toss them away but if that’s not an option just yet and you want to hold on to them for a little longer, these are 3 tips to decrease the phthalate levels in your body as you look for your next best clean natural product - break a sweat, eat broccoli sprouts or have an Epsom salt bath. ALSO READ: 5 HEALTHY HABITS YOU CAN START TOMORROW  
    2. Avoid ingredients too hard to pronounce or that only a pharmacist or chemistry major would recognize.

    Parabens.  These chemicals are used as germicides and preservatives in cosmetics and other beauty products.  They mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body's cells and are associated with the risk for breast cancer and tumors.  They’re found in conditioners, foundations, concealers, facial masks and skin cream among others.  Look out for anything with the following in the ingredients list: methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl.

    Synthetic sulfates.  Used to remove dirt and oil and create foamy products, sulfates are added to shampoos, bath salts, body/shower gels, and toothpaste. They can be natural such as coconut or palm oils or synthetic and sourced from sulfur- and petroleum-based products.  Common skin irritants are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES)

    Aluminum.  Another endocrine disruptor used in antiperspirants to stop the sweat glands from releasing sweat to the skin surface.  Anything that stops an organ or gland to do its job cannot be that good!

    Triclosan.  Found in hand sanitizers, hand and body soaps, and toothpaste, this chemical is associated with cancer, fibrosis, and hormonal imbalance.

    Ethanolamines (DEA, TEA, MEA).  They’re used in cosmetics as emulsifiers or foaming agents, and they’re another potential carcinogen.

    Petroleum jelly or petrolatum. Used as a topical ointment, instead of nourishing your skin, it traps the body’s natural moisture and can potentially lead to cancer.  Use cocoa or shea butter instead.  Shea butter is my favorite skin moisturizer and used by Africans for centuries.  Have you seen their glowing skin? Enough proof to me it works.  In addition to moisturizing and nourishing your skin, shea butter has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

    3. “Herbal Essences” claim has no legal definition and is misleading.
    This claim doesn’t mean the shampoo you’re about to buy is all natural.  It can contain both natural but also synthetic ingredients and chemicals comparable to mainstream products.  Read the label and see which ingredients are top in the list.  The first 5 are usually the most present.  If you see any sulfates or other chemicals listed, now you’re ready to make your informed decision.  These misleading products are usually more expensive too so if you’re going to invest in better, cleaner products, be sure you’re choosing the right brand.   WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE POSITIVE CHOICES AND CREATE YOUR HEALTHIEST, HAPPIEST LIFE EVER? Book a free 20-minute consultation and work with me to get your strategy aligned with your goals.

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