I discovered that health is not just about what we eat, its also what we put on our skin. In fact what we put on our skin is vital! Unlike the food that we eat that goes through the various organs of elimination, stuff on our skin goes directly into our blood stream once absorbed. Now that should scare you especially if you do not know exactly what chemicals have been put in your lotions, makeup, deodorants, roll ons etc.
It always fascinated me that the store bought lotions that promised you supple, smooth, moisturised skin left you feeling anything but that! In fact my mom taught me to add castor oil in the lotions we bought because they never really did the job! They do smell great and some almost did the job but before you grab that tub of lotion, get to know what’s really in them. You will be surprised your favorite tub may not be as innocent as it looks. In fact many top brands use chemicals that range from questionable to potentially hazardous.
Here are 6 most harmful ingredients commonly found in body lotions
- “Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)- this is a food preservative and stabilizer that routinely shows up in body lotions and a range of other products such lipstick, yeast infection treatments etc. The thing we don’t love about this chemical is that its been said to be an endocrine disruptor and ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen’ [Source]
- DMDM Hydantoin- this mysterious sounding ingredient is a type of formaldehyde-releasing preservative used in various personal care items, including body lotions.According to data from the federal Food and Drug Administration, nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contains a substance that generates formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. The funny thing is that this chemical is an irritant for eyes and skin- funny it should end up in body lotions! [Source]
- Fragrance and Parfum- It’s nice that your lotion smells like strawberries and cream but there is no way that scent is natural. When you read ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on a label read ‘a toxic mix of chemicals the manufacturer doesn’t want to tell you about.’ And the manufacturers are not obligated to tell you what concoction of chemicals make up the fragrance. To be most wary of is diethyl phthalate. By now you must have heard of phthalates since they’re used in just about everything from cosmetics to insecticides to wood finishes—and they’re known to be endocrine disruptors and toxic to organ systems. Synthetic fragrances like the ones used in lotions also emit harmful VOCs, which pollute indoor air quality and cause reparatory allergies and asthma. [Source]
- Parabens- You will come across parabens in almost all popular commercial lotions (just look for butylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, or ethylparaben on the label). These help prevent bacteria and fungus from growing in your favorite bottle of moisturizer. If only they were not linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer! [Source]. Luckily, manufacturers of organic lotions have found safer ways to keep their products fungus-free, like using vitamin E and citric acid, though these products tend to have a shorter shelf life than those that contain parabens.
- Retinyl Palmitate- this is one of the most controversial derivatives of Vitamin A. You will find this in some sunscreens as well as lotions and creams advertised to have anti-aging properties. A study published by the National Toxicology Program found that mice exposed to retinyl palmitate developed a frightening number of tumors after exposure to sunlight. If you’re going to use lotions that contain retinyl palmitate, you are better off doing so at night.
- Triethanolamine- this is a highly alkaline substance that is used to balance the pH in various body lotions and cosmetics (especially mascara). Despite its widespread use, it is considered moderately dangerous and should never be used long term, according to the Dermatology Review, since it is a skin and respiratory irritant and toxicant to the immune system. It’s also been linked to cancer in animal studies. Though triethanolamine is considered biodegradable and nontoxic to animals and organisms, wastewater releases from manufacturing plants containing large amounts of triethanolamine can significantly alter the pH of rivers and streams, resulting in toxic shock to marine life.”
Now that you know some of the weird chemicals to look out for in your body lotion, you can make better choices in the products that you buy. But the best way to avoid them is by making your own body butters- which can be incredibly easy!! Like this 3 ingredient body butter that uses just raw shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils (I used lavender and sweet orange). It smells heavenly, moisturizes perfectly and has absolutely no added chemical, preservatives or additives. Simple enough that it can be a staple in your beauty cabinet!
[lt_recipe name=”Homemade 3 ingredient body butter” servings=”1 cup” prep_time=”5 HOURS” total_time=”5 HOURS” difficulty=”Easy” print=”yes” ingredients=”1 cup shea butter;1 cup coconut oil;Essential oils of choice” ]Put the coconut oil and shea butter in a double broiler. Whisk about 5 minutes and let the oils melt completely. ;Transfer to a mixing bowl and put into the fridge to become semi solid again about 2-4 hours. ;Add in your essential oils (I used about 15 drops of lavender and about 5 of sweet orange oil);Using a hand held mixer, mix until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes on a high setting. ;Transfer to glass jar and enjoy! ;[/lt_recipe]