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Using personal care products and taking care of ourselves is a simple but essential act of self-care. But with the average woman using twelve personal care products each day and men using six (Environmental Working Group, 2003), knowing what ingredients are in your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and deodorant is vital.
Although there are already over 1200 ingredients banned from use in personal care products in the UK (EU, 2019), there are still some ingredients used that may still be harmful. Although most ingredients are too large to penetrate the outer layer of the skin, small compounds can be absorbed through the dermal layer. Some chemicals from personal care products can also be inhaled such as hairsprays and perfumes.
Parabens are preservatives which are frequently seen in shampoos, conditioners, body creams and deodorants. There has been some research suggesting that parabens may increase the risk of breast cancer as they are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking oestrogen. Although Breast Cancer UK concluded that more evidence is needed to understand the risks of using parabens in our personal care products. Also, picking paraben-free products can be better for your skin as they are less irritating, especially for sensitive skin. Sukin Hydrating Shampoo is a paraben-free shampoo which is perfect for dry and damaged hair as it contains natural ingredients such as coconut to promote repair.
Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is a lathering agent which makes soaps and shampoos foam and froth. Using personal care products containing SLS can cause severe skin irritation especially in people living with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. If you choose to go SLS free to be kinder to your skin try Faith in Nature’s range of products. They offer SLS and paraben-free shampoos, conditioners, body washes and soaps, all matched with completely natural fragrances.
Many personal care items contain added fragrance to improve the scent of the product but this can cause a sensitising reaction on the skin. Even if you can’t see your skin becoming aggravated, fragrance may be causing damage below this skins surface. It is especially important to avoid synthetic fragrance in personal care products for babies. To protect babies delicate skin, try the Weleda White Mallow Nappy Change Cream. White Mallow extract helps to soothe hypersensitive skin and zinc oxide prevents soreness. When cleansing babies skin, Dr Bronner’s Organic Baby Mild Castile Liquid Soap contains organic ingredients with no added fragrance and it can also be used for hair, body and even when cleaning the home!
Many deodorants contain aluminium to prevent sweating by blocking underarm sweat ducts. There is still debate on the health implications of using aluminium deodorants but some studies have linked them to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Aluminium free deodorants are increasing in popularity and are often more environmentally friendly. Ben & Anna Natural Soda Deodorant Stick naturally protects against odour and sweat, are wrapped in environmentally-friendly paper and contain shea butter and soda to soothe and nourish the skin.