It has been estimated that on average, a woman exposes herself to 200 synthetic chemicals before she leaves the house every morning and 515 by bedtime. An average of 200 chemicals have been detected in the umbilical cord of newborn babies…meaning they have been exposed to this toxic soup even before birth. These can be from make-up, soaps, hair products, furniture sprayed with fire retardants, new paint or carpets, kids toys, clothing, cleaning products and many more. Many of the chemicals in common products in our bathroom, kitchen and laundry have not been tested adequately for the long term, and certainly haven’t been tested in combinations that we are exposed to in these products. The cumulative effect of exposure to these toxins creates a toxic burden that in some people exceeds the ability for the body detox system to cope, leading to symptoms of overload and contributing to disease. The significant increase in levels of toxins in our homes is now considered a major factor in many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, behavioural issues, cancers, autism, obesity and many more.
Reading labels is crucial to protect your family from these chemicals. Fortunately there are many companies that have made products available that are safe and non-toxic. It is important to be aware of what to avoid in the products you are looking at purchasing.
Avoid products with the following ingredients:
Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl) – anti microbial preservatives in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics including deodorants.
Phthalates – perfumes, lotions, lacquers and varnishes (nail polish), the chemical mixture called “fragrance” often contains phthalates, coatings on time-release medical pills, plastic containers and packaging labelled with the Type 3 Recycling Code. (di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP)).
Fragrance – musk and xylene in shampoo, deodorant, lotion, air fresheners, make-up. “Unscented” could include masking agents to cover a scent. Choose “free from perfumes and dyes” or those with essential oils.
Biocide (Benzalkonium Chloride) – skin antiseptics, throat lozenges, hand sanitisers, eye, ear, nasal drops, hygienic towelettes, wet wipes.
Triclosan & Triclocarbon – Liquid soap, soap bars, antibacterial soaps and body washes.
Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) – shampoos, scalp treatments, hair colour, bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes, cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, bath oils/salts.
Gluten – If you are avoiding gluten, then check your products for tocopherols, hydrolised wheat protien, fermented grain extract, triticum, vulgare, bran extract, cyclodextrin, stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl in shampoos, conditioners etc.
Artificial sweeteners – toothpastes and mouthwash – (aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame) – xylitol, stevia preferable.
Also pay particular attention to:
Sunscreen chemicals – Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), aluminium, avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate, fragrances, PABA, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide nanoparticles, 4-Methylbenzylidine camphor (4-MBC), 3-Benzylidene camphor (3-MBC), Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) Padimate O.
Hair product chemicals – (hair colour, bleaching products, darker hair dyes, dandruff and psoriasis shampoos) – DMDM, hydantoin, formaldehyde, phenyl methyl pyrazolone, resorcinol, coal tar (aminophenol, diaminobenzene, phenylenediamipe).
Personal Care products & Make up – Perfumes, fragrances, ‘…amines’ such as DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), PEG products such as PEG-180, ‘…eth…’ products such as ceteareth, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene, ‘…oxynol…’. Make ups including tinted lipsticks (lead), nail products (dibutyl phthalate and toluene can be contaminated by benzene), hairsprays (isobutane which can be contaminated with 1, 3-butadine), powdered foundation (nanoparticles).
So what are we left with…Home made non toxic personal care products
There are many recipes available on various blogs and also some great personal care products that are non toxic. See these recipes below for some simple ideas on how to detox your home. Ensure good organic ingredients are used and good quality oils to ensure you received the best treatment on your skin.
Make up a mixture of tea tree oil and water. Optional: add witch hazel, lavender, aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil to soften mixture.
Foaming hand soap
See this post from the for two natural homemade non-toxic foaming hand soap recipes.
Wet wipes (nappy wipes)
2 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil
5 drops melaleuca oil
5 drops lavender oil
2 cups warm water
Place water and oils in a glass bowl. Cut the roll of paper towel in half (to form two toilet roll type halves). Place each roll on its end in the water to soak up mixture then turn over until mixture has been absorbed into paper towel. Separate pieces of paper towel and store in airtight container.
1 cup bicarbonate of soda
1 cup citric acid
1 tablespoon almond oil
20 drops of essential oil (orange, lemon, lavender, jasmine or nerloi)
A few drops of food colouring
Dried herbs/flowers (optional) (eg. powdered cinnamon and grated fresh ginger)
Preheat oven to 225 C. Sift bicarb soda and citric acid together into a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon powder into patty pans or moulds and bake for four to six minutes. Leave to cool, then tip out with care as they are fragile. Store in a jar.
Throat Lozenger alternative
2 tbs honey – Manuka honey is best as it has extra antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral properties.
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice – freshly squeezed (can add more depending on your tastes)
a dash of cinnamon
Mix well in hot water and sip. Drink this before it gets cold, as the warm water will help soother your throat as well.
1 cup vodka
2 tbsp dried yarrow
1 tbsp dried lavender
1 tbsp sage leaves
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp whole cloves
Mix everything together in a glass jar and store in a dark dry spot for 2 weeks. Strain and re-bottle. Splash on.
50% triple distilled vodka
50% witch hazel
8-12 drops of your favourite essential oil
Put into a glass spray bottle, shake well and use as needed.
There are some great natural deodorants available also.
Nourishing Body Oil
1/8 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/8 cup jojoba oil
1/8 cup apricot kernel oil
5 drops essential oil (peppermint, anise, or lemongrass)
Combine all the oils and store in a glass jar, rub all over body after a shower and allow to dry. NOTE: Coconut oil will go solid when it is cold, so this may harden to body butter if it is a cool day.
This all natural scrub is based on a salt and olive oil mixture. Olive oil nourishes your skin, nails and hair.
500g sea salt
500ml organic olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp thyme
15 drops lemon oil
2 lemon slices
Put salt into a glass jar, then combine all other ingredients, mix thoroughly and then add lemon slices.
To use, wet your skin in the shower and gently massage yourself in a circular motion. Best is from your feet up towards your heart, and from your hands towards your heart. Rinse well and moisturise if you require extra moisture.
Luxurious Foot Scrub
1/2 – 3/4 brown or white sugar
1/4 – 1/2 cup Epsom salt
1 cup of high quality oil, such as fractionated coconut, olive or jojoba oil
8- 10 drops of essential oil
lavender and peppermint
rosemary and peppermint
wild orange and peppermint
bergamot and ylang ylang
bergamot and sandalwood
elevation and grapefuit
DIRECTIONS: Mix the sugar, epsom salt, and oil until well-blended. Next, add the essential oils, alternating one drop at a time if you are using multiple scents. Make sure the essential oils are evenly blended. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container.
Detox Body Scrub
1 handful of almonds
1 orange peel
1 cup of high quality oil such as fractionated coconut, olive, jojoba, or sunflower oil
2-3 drops of essential oil
DIRECTIONS: Mix the ingredients in a food processor. Apply before a shower then rinse off.
Daily Facial Moisturiser
2 tbsp almond oil
2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
1 1/2 teaspoons grated beeswax
8 drops peppermint essential oil
1 tablespoon distilled or spring water
1 vitamin E capsule
30 drops of essential oil – try lavender and roman chamomile to soothe skin or melaleuca or geranium for a clearer complexion.
DIRECTIONS: Combine the first three ingredients in a small saucepan and warm the mixture over very low heat, stirring occasionally until the beeswax melts. In a separate saucepan warm the water over low heat. Remove both pans from the heat and cool until the wax and oil mixture just begins to thicken but is still liquid. Drizzle the warm water into the oil and wax mixture, while stirring rapidly with a wire whisk. Continue whisking vigorously for 3-4 minutes until the mixture becomes pale yellow. Pierce the vitamin E capsule and squeeze the contents into the cream. Next add the essential oil and continue whisking for another 4-5 minutes until cream is thick and shiny. Transfer to a glass storage jar and allow the cream to set for at least an hour before using it. The moisturiser will keep for 3-6 months if stored in the fridge, or 1 month if left at room temperature.
Revitalizing Facial Cleanser
30g vegetable based glycerin
60g ounce unscented liquid Castile soap
30g distilled or purified water
15g witch hazel
1 drop rosemary essential oil
DIRECTIONS: Mix together and store in a plastic or glass bottle. Works for all skin types and lasts 3-6 months.
Hydrating Facial Toner
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp witch hazel
1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
5 drops clary sage essential oil
5 drops grapefruit essential oil
5 drops roman chamomile essential oil
DIRECTIONS: Sterilize the water by boiling it for 3 minutes and then letting it cool. Combine all the ingredients in a 60-120ml spray bottle and shake to blend. Before each use, shake well and then either spray directly onto clean skin, or spray a cotton ball and apply. The toner can last up to 2 months
Tooth Powder/ “Toothpaste”
2 tbsp baking soda (aluminium free)
8 drops peppermint
8 drops spearmint
Pinch of stevia
Mix together in a mortar and pestle and keep in an airtight container. Dab your toothbrush in the container each morning and coat half the brush with the mixture.
Wash your hair with apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice. This will balance pH of your hair and scalp.
Shampoo OR bodywash
½ cup distilled water
¼ cup liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby mild is popular)
2 tsp avocado oil
1/8 tsp peppermint essential oil
1/8 tsp tea tree essential oil
1 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional, gives the shampoo a little more “body”)
10 – 15 drops of essential oils* (optional)
Put the above ingredients in a bottle. Shake well before each use. Apply to hair, lather, scrub and rinse well.
1 cup Dr. Bronner’s soap
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup water
lavender essential oil
Mix all ingredients together and put into a plastic container (no glass in the tub). Shake well before each use. Apply to hair, lather, scrub and rinse well.
See this post from the Wellness Mama for two natural homemade non-toxic sunscreen recipes. Snorkals and Finns have an interesting article creating awareness on how some sunscreens are destroying our coral reefs. Pretty alarming!
If you have overdone the sun this summer there are a few tips to ease the discomfort and promote your body’s healing.
- Bathe in 1 tablespoon of almond oil, 2cups of apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of full fat milk.
- Rub on some aloe vera gel, straight from the plant. It is very soothing to put the leaf in the fridge for a couple of hours before applying to the skin.
Chlorine spray & oil
An epsom salt bath (1/2 – 1 cup epsom salt per bath) is the best however not always practical after swimming so try these:
Spray – Mix equal parts epsom salts and warm water in a spray bottle and spray onto skin and hair after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Allow to dry.
Oil – Dissolve 1 tsp. Epsom salts with 1 tsp. warm water then add coconut oil to your liking and apply to skin after swimming.
This can seem like a big overhaul, it is important to keep the whole picture in mind. Wellness is a journey and detoxing your home and your body is one process along the way. Take it slow. You could substitute one product per month, or 3 each season change. If making your own products isn’t for you, choose more natural products from trusted companies that eliminate use of toxic chemicals that can harm us, our family, animals and our environment.
Check out our other articles packed with simple and practical ways to improve your health including the 6 foundations of your health, including – clean water, fresh air, sunshine, movement, sleep and fresh food. If you have any questions, or would like specific advice on movement, breathing, health or exercise please contact us on 07) 3208 8308 or book instantly online.
Written by Dr. Jess Harvey B.Sc. (Anat, Phys), B.Ap.Sci (Comp. Med.), Ma Osteo., Registered Osteopath and Director of Head 2 Toe Health, with multidisciplinary clinics in Brisbane and Gold Coast. We provide Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Massage, Life Coaching and Counselling. We aim to get you as well as possible, as fast as possible, permanently. We believe in a thorough approach to restoring and maintaining health and address many aspects of our lifestyles that can contribute to pain, stiffness, dis-ease and disease. For any further information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07) 3208 8308.
This information is intended as a general guide only and is not specific for any particular condition or situation. Please seek specific advice from a healthcare practitioner before beginning a new nutrition or exercise program.
http://www.doterra.com/au/ – is an Essential Oil company known for their superior quality.