Sunday, January 7, 2007

Personally less toxic

In addition to less toxic household cleaners, I am also on a small campaign to eradicate parabens and other nasties from the things I use to clean and ornament my body.

A useful starting point is Skin Deep, a web site that allows you to look up products you use to see a toxicity rating and ingredient breakdown. If the products are rated as dangerous, it suggests healthier alternatives. (Generally, the fewer ingredients your products have the better.)

You can create a profile by inputting all the products you use (from toothpaste to mascara) and see what kind of collective rating you have.

You can also look at ingredients to see what they are and how safe they are thought to be.

Parabens, for example, are in many lotions and soaps (even Trader Joe's products have them, and they should know better!). The Skin Deep ingredient report shows that parabens offer potential breast cancer risks and serve as potential endocrine disruptors ("raising concern for impaired fertility or development, and increased risks for certain cancers").

But the good news is that we don't have to use products made of such hazardous stuff.

Skin Deep has good suggestions of alternative products to buy--or you can make your own.

My source of recipes for shampoos, toners and moisturizers is Secrets of the Spas: Pamper and Vitalize Yourself at Home (Life's Little Luxuries), a fun recipe book that uses ingredients that are accessible and wholesome. I now make my own shampoo (a herbal infusion with a base of Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Peppermint Soap ), my own hair rinse (1/3 cup cider vinegar to 1 cup water), and soon my own moisturizer, made according to recipe with lanolin, beeswax, olive oil and rosewater.

Want to read more? My friend Stephanie has an amusing take on skincare in her post Cultivating Religious Skin.


Stephanie said...

Oh, aren't you sweet linking to me? You know my skin looks just about the same as before the facial, but I'm a lot more poor.

Elizabeth said...

In either case, I am sure you have beautiful skin. I really liked the NY Times article you linked to in that post. Good information.