Are Personal Hygiene Products Safe?

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Yesterday I received a question asking whether I knew if the personal hygiene products we put on our skin are dangerous to our health. The woman submitting the question said they had been fighting symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome and that a friend of theirs had suggested these products might be contributing to her symptoms. The friend had gone into her bathroom and placed every commercial personal hygiene product they found, on the sink counter. Supposedly it was a pretty big and scary display. The woman asking said she had never thought about how many different products she was using until she saw them all in one group!

I don’t know how “dangerous” any of these products are, but it does not seem to me that they can possibly be beneficial. This is an example of how important it is to think about all parts of your diet and lifestyle. Yes, think about it for a second and you can understand why I believe personal hygiene products are indeed part of your diet! When you eat “food” your body processes many components of it into your bloodstream to be distributed throughout your body. When you put something on your skin, your body does the same thing. If this does not seem the same to you, think about how the nicotine patch works. Whether it is perfume, deodorant, shampoo, makeup, soap, or sunscreen, when you put it on your skin, it is absorbed into your bloodstream.

Marisa, one of the readers on this site, mentioned that she makes a natural goat’s milk soap. If she has a recipe for it, I will link to it here. If anyone else uses or makes natural or organic skin care products, etc. please tell us about them!

If you try to eat a healthy diet, and lead a healthy lifestyle, don’t neglect what you feed your skin. The only products I put on my skin are shampoo, soap, deodorant, and cream on my hands. The soap is natural from the health food store. I am not sure about all of the ingredients of the deodorant, but it only has a few and is a cream that I only have to put on once every week or two. It works great and at least I feel it is healthier than applying something once or twice a day. The shampoo varies, as I have never been able to find a natural or organic shampoo that works well. (Suggestions anyone?) I am thinking about ordering the book pictured above. The hand creams I use are natural products, often with only one or two ingredients. I try to wear hats and long sleeve shirts when in the sun to avoid using sunscreen as much as possible. My skin is sensitive to the ingredients in some sunscreens, but when necessary, I do use it.

Another place I try to cut down on my skin’s exposure to chemicals is in the laundry. We do need to use soap to wash our clothes as the blue laundry ball does not work! However, I do use less than 1/2 the recommended amount of laundry detergent and my clothes still get perfectly clean. The detergent also contains no perfumes, etc. I use a second rinse cycle to get as much of the detergent out as possible.

I do all this not because I really worry that the chemicals in many of these products will make me sick. I do it for many of the same reasons I eat healthy, mainly plant based, mostly organic, food. Common sense tells me it is a healthier choice and I will look and feel healthier. With products applied to your skin, I believe you need to use the same cautions you apply when deciding what to eat.

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Will Sig
1 Anna

Will, great post. I also wanted to add, and may be I am not correct, but mixing different different products may not be wise also. Everything is based on chemistry, and chemistry is when something reacts to produce something else. So if different brands have one ingredient and other brand has other, and they react, on the end you don’t know what you getting on your skin – most likely they will not be harsh to start with, but you never know, may be long term side effect or rush. I found that out not by putting stuff on my skin, but once I was cleaning my bath tub and to speed up the cleaning of tiles and tub, I used one product on tub and other product on the tiles, both harsh chemicals. Guess what, I got this major rush that from now on I keep my tiles and tub clean, so I don’t have to use any type of chemical. That was crazy act on my part…lol, Anna 🙂

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2 Will

That is a very good point Anna. Mixing chemicals together has been shown to produce some unintended results. Mixing a cleaner with bleach with one with ammonia creates poison chlorine gas!

Just as the combination or cumulative effect of different chemicals in our food or in the air can have adverse health consequences, using many different chemicals on our skin could do the same.

-Will

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3 Will

Fortunately, I don’t have allergies like that, but I did find my skin was sensitive to to normal laundry detergent. I blame the detergent, not my skin!

Thanks for that link. I may try it. The price for the 100 oz bottle is actually quite reasonable.

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4 JD Thomas

I have allergy problems with most fragrances used in cleaning products and my partner Brian has had MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) problems every since he was a baby. So we tend to avoid most kinds of personal hygiene products and just rely on lots of Ivory soap and hot water.

About a year ago my partner and I switched to all Sun & Earth laundry product – they have been great. With other detergents I’d get irritated around my ankles where my socks touched. That went away with these. Other than these products, I just try to stick to hypoallergenic and unscented items.

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