It’s been a very busy spring so far here at Topical BioMedics…even though the real spring weather hasn’t quite arrived yet! And just in time for Earth Day (Friday the 22nd) we are happy to share these tips for detoxifying your medicine cabinet and making your bathroom a safer haven for you and your family. We sent it out as a press release, and are reprinting it here for you, as well.
Studies have shown that toxins found in commonly used products in your medicine cabinet and shower may expose you to harmful chemicals—including everything from over-the-counter pain relief pills to toothpaste, shampoo, and moisturizers. But now thanks to these healthy bathroom detox “makeover” tips you can go ‘Green’ to make every day safer and healthier for you and your family.
Unfortunately, there are no warning labels on health and beauty aids, and an absence of adequate federal protection from the toxic chemicals they harbor. This is troublesome since skin is the body’s largest organ, readily absorbs anything applied to it, then sends it moving throughout the entire system. Another alarming fact is that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that of all the chemicals used in cosmetics, nearly 900 are toxic. In fact, approximately 450 ingredients commonly used in theU.S.are banned from cosmetic use inEurope.
In 2008, lead tests on lipsticks conducted by an independent lab for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics–a national coalition of health and environmental groups–found that 61% of all red lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead. Not one of them listed lead as an ingredient, even though lipstick is directly ingested into the body, which then, over time, develops toxic buildup.
The best way to diminish exposure to toxic chemicals commonly found in commercial health and beauty products is to look for ones that are organic or that contain pure ingredients. There are a growing number of “cleaner/greener” products available in the marketplace, and mainstream manufacturers are also jumping on the go-green bandwagon. But beware of chemicals disguised by deceptive marketing speak—particularly the word “natural.” This adjective can be used liberally and without guidelines. Therefore a product that claims to be “natural” may contain one or two botanical ingredients, but still harbor large quantities of synthetic chemicals and preservatives.
The solution? Read labels. They’ll tell you everything you need to know, and list ingredients from the highest concentration to the lowest.
Here’s a rundown of the most common toxins you should look for and avoid.
o Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLC). This industrial degreaser and garage floor cleaner is also used in toothpastes, shampoo, and many personal cleansing products. It is a suspected liver or gastrointestinal toxicant and sometimes causes eye and skin irritation, hair loss, and allergic reactions, and thought to be a contributing cause of cataracts.
o Propylene glycol (PG). Used in makeup, hair care products, deodorant, after shaves, and toothpaste, this wetting agent and solvent is also the main ingredient in antifreeze and brake fluid.
o Polyethylene glycol (PEG). Found in skin cleansers, PEG is a relative of PG, and is a caustic that’s used to dissolve grease and is found in oven cleaners.
o Formaldehyde. This highly toxic substance can be found in bubble bath, shampoos, moisturizing lotions, and various other cosmetics.
o Parabens (methyl, propyl-, butyl- and ethyl). These are widely used to inhibit microbial growth, disinfect products, and extend their shelf life. Usually derived from petrochemical sources, they are extremely toxic, easily absorbed by the skin, and have been linked to severe health issues and diseases.
o Stearalkonium Chloride. A compound originally developed as a fabric softener, this inexpensive ingredient is used in skin creams and hair conditioners.
o Phthalates. Found in numerous health and beauty aids, these plasticizers can disrupt hormones, causing birth defects and wreaking other health havoc.
o Artificial fragrance and synthetic perfumes. Roughly 200 different chemicals fall under this category. Some problems related to them include headaches, dizziness, hyper-pigmentation, coughing, vomiting, and skin irritation.
TOOTHPASTE, DEODORANTS/ANTIPERSPIRANTS, AND NASAL SPRAY HAZARDS
Important advice: don’t swallow your toothpaste. Each tube of fluoride toothpaste—even those specifically marketed for children—contains enough fluoride to kill a child. And as of April 7, 1997, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required that all fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. carry this poison warning on the label: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
Between 1989 and 1994, Poison Center Control records included 12,571 reports of people who had ingested excess toothpaste. Fortunately, there have been very few toothpaste-induced fatalities reported in theU.S.
Other potential problems with fluoride toothpaste include gastric problems, and ingestion may also damage the lining of the gastrointestinal tract – even in the absence of symptoms (e.g. nausea).
A visible side-effect of ingesting fluoride toothpaste is a discoloration of teeth called dental fluorosis. This occurs when the fluoride damages the cells that produce tooth enamel. The resulting discoloration can range from white spots on teeth to brownish and black stains.
Deodorants and antiperspirants:
Everybody likes to feel fresh, clean, and odor free—which is why there is a massive market for antiperspirants and deodorants. While they both are applied under our arms, there is a difference between the two—and neither one is particularly healthy for us in the long run. Basically antiperspirants are chemicals that block the pores and restrict perspiration, while deodorants contain antiseptic properties that kill the bacteria that causes odor while allowing perspiration to occur.
Like it or not, sweating is nature’s way of lowering the temperature of body. Using an antiperspirant which prohibits wetness by blocking the pores is not ideal, and the aluminum compounds they contain are also not healthy for us. Research indicates that regular use of antiperspirants may increase the danger of breast cancer. Additionally, their aluminum compounds get absorbed into the blood stream and build up in the brain, which may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Deodorants though initially thought of as safe alternatives are no less evil. They contain parabens which are also believed to cause breast cancer.
The safest choice is to seek out a more ‘natural way’ of controlling odor and perspiration with products that contain natural ingredients, such as baking soda, hops, mineral salts, and herbs and flowers like chamomile, sage, geranium, and lavender.
Millions of Americans deal with chronic sinus problems, suffering from headaches, facial pain, and clogged nasal passages. Many turn to over-the-county decongestant nasal sprays for speedy relief–Skip to next paragrapha couple of squirts can shrink swollen tissues in seconds to minutes, and with some sprays, a single dose works for as long as 12 hours.
But the relief they provide comes at a price: possible side effects plus the risk of rebound congestion caused by overuse and–for some people–a vicious cycle of overuse and dependence that can become an addiction.
The healthy alternative: nasal saline irrigation, a very effective, beneficial therapy that uses a salt and water solution. Neti pots are popular for do-it-yourselfers, and there are also a number of commercial saline sprays now on the market.
Saline solutions restore moisture to dry nasal passages and sinuses and lessen the inflammation of mucous membranes-without side effects or risk of rebound congestion or addiction. When used regularly, saline irrigation can help thin mucus, decrease postnasal drip, and cleanse nasal passages of bacteria. It also improves breathing, and may also reduce the need for antihistamines. When used on children, the saline provides great relief to dry, stuffy noses and thins the mucus, making it easier for the nose to be cleared.
GET RID OF TOXIC CHEMICAL PAIN PILLS
Store shelves are lined with an array of pills to relieve our aches and pains—from headaches to arthritis. But these household name-brand bottles—and their generic counterparts—are hazardous to our health.
Pain serves a very important purpose: it’s a vital signal from the body alerting us to the fact that something is wrong, it wants to fix it, and needs some assistance.
“Using chemical pain pills that contain such toxic active ingredients as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or topical ointments with menthol, camphor, and other counter-irritants, does absolutely nothing to promote healing,” says our Lou Paradise, president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, Inc. and inventor of the Topricin line of natural pain relief and healing products. “The chemicals in pills actually shut the healing process down and mask the symptoms. So the problem is still there – you just can’t feel it.”
The body wants to maintain healthy cells, so when cells are damaged the pain signal is triggered. In order for healing to begin the body needs help removing excess fluids and toxins from the affected area, such as joints, nerves and muscles. This takes the pressure off the micro-capillaries so that oxygen-rich blood can then flow into the area, maximizing healing and shutting off the pain signal.
“My goal in creating Topricin was to relieve pain by enhancing the body’s innate ability to heal itself,” saysParadise. “Topricin contains a combination of 11 homeopathic biomedicines that work by first stimulating the lymphatic system to drain toxins and fluids from the affected area and returning oxygen rich blood flow to the cells for maximum repair and healing.”
Chemicals painkillers do more harm than good and place your health at risk–and the risks grow every time they are taken. So don’t wait another day to detoxify your family’s medicine cabinet.