Hi there! My name is Katie, I’m a good ol’ Canadian woman living in Australia. I’m a proud momma of a 17 month old girl, and I’ve got another little bub on the way! Amy has been lovely enough to let me write about a passionate topic of mine – chemicals in our beauty products and the consequences of slathering them on our delicate, gorgeous bodies.
In my teenage years I had the unfortunate experience of suffering allergy attacks- on my face. It was terrible. My eyelids had swollen up, I had a red rash all over my face. I could not go in public. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing, but most of all, it was perplexing. What the heck was causing this? How do I get rid of it? I’ll never be 100% sure what caused it, but I did manage to learn a lot in the process. When my face finally did calm down, I was so scared to cause another reaction and I became obsessively careful about what was going on my skin. Almost every product from moisturizer to mascara was making me have a reaction. I was terrified of irritating my skin and causing another red-rash nightmare. I remember putting foundation on my face (you know that expensive stuff starting with M ending in C) for the first time in a while and having it actually BURN while applying it- I know, CRAZY right? Becoming fed up with my all-of-the-sudden extremely sensitive skin, I became voracious for information on the most sensitive products out there. Here’s a few things I learned:
- “sensitive”, “gentle”, “organic” labelling DOES NOT automatically mean it’s safe, and it does not mean “free-of-nasty-chemicals-that-are-unnecessary-and-cause-harm”.
- skin absorbs more than 70% of what you put on it. When you think of it that way, you might not want synthetic chemicals and preservatives entering your body, or your precious baby’s.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, however if you see these chemicals listed in a product, it’s best to put it down. There are safe alternatives!
Parabens- Chemical preservatives used in most drugstore and even high end beauty products. They can irritate the skin, and have been linked to hormone disruption. Parabens can mimic estrogen, causing all sorts of problems and has been linked to breast cancer.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate/Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: These similar chemicals are used in many products, giving that foamy effect- hand soap, shampoo, face wash, tooth paste, cosmetics, etc. Sodium Laureth Sulfate can be often contaminated with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Both chemicals are irritating to the eyes and the respiratory tract. It also doesn’t degrade easily in the environment and it doesn’t metabolize into our liver, leaving a longer-lasting effect on our body.
Perfume/Parfum/Fragrance: Sounds harmless, however fragrance in beauty products, or just perfume alone. Can irritate the skin, especially in babies. Known to aggravate allergies and asthma. Watch out for “unscented” or “fragrance free “as these products often contain a masking agent so that you cannot actually smell the fragrance that is indeed present.
Dyes: Spot them as “CI” and usually followed by a 5 digit number. These are known endocrine/hormone disrupters and can be contaminated by heavy chemicals that are toxic to the brain.
Worst Offenders in Baby Products:
- Johnson & Johnson products – familiar name, and long list of chemical concoctions. No way I’m putting that on my baby.
- Aveeno - contains a ton of dyes, parabens, alcohol, fragrance, etc.
- Aleva Naturals: wipes, shampoo, wash and lotions (found in most drugstores and supermarkets)
- Gaia: wipes, shampoo, wash and lotions (found in most drugstores and supermarkets)
- homemade wipes, or reusable cloth wipes. (Amy has a recipe for wipes)
- NatraCare wipes are my favourite (Loblaws, Superstore, online)
- Earth Mama Angel Baby: bath and body products are amazing! (Chapters Indigo, online, some organic grocers) www.earthmamaangelbaby.com
Worst Offenders in Cosmetics:
Almost everything at the drugstore (I know, it’s sad) and at Sephora (disappointing!) is on the naughty list. However, you can find a less offensive product in both (Burt’s Bee’s from the drugstore) and Jurlique (Sephora) is a great brand. Superstore and Loblaws actually carry a few good brands in their Healthy/Organic section like Green Beaver and Weleda.
Ok, so what can we use that is safe? There are hundreds of great organic, chemical-free, baby-safe products out there, you just have to be picky about what you buy and know where to go. If you are lucky to live by a Whole Foods, or even by an organic grocer, chances are you’ll run into a few of these good brands. You can even learn to make your own cosmetics and baby products (Amy has tons of ideas!) Check out these companies below, they have super strict criteria in order for a product to be sold. They have a wealth of information and a great selection of all sorts of beauty products, baby stuff, and even man products.
- Rocky Mountain Soap Co - amazing products. Canadian made. I love their soaps and facial cleansing oil. www.rockymountainsoap.com
- Green Beaver - Canadian made. Great sunscreen, safe body products. www.greenbeaver.ca
- Dr. Hauschka - cosmetics, skin care, body care, hair care (available at Saffron Rouge) www.saffronrouge.ca
- Pangaea Organics - skin care, body care (Saffron Rouge)
- Suki - cosmetics, skin care, body care (Saffron Rouge)
- Badger – sunscreen and skin balms (Saffron Rouge)
For more info:
Thanks for reading! Hope I helped a little! Xx Katie