This is my first blog post ever. I hope I’m doing this right…testing, testing. 1, 2, 3.
Why am I writing this and who the heck am I?
Well, I majored in Biochemistry and currently practice as an optometrist in sunny southern California. As I’m getting older (ahh!!), I’m becoming more health conscious. I’m starting to read the ingredients list on products and asking questions instead of taking the company’s word for it. Is it really natural and organic or just really good marketing?
It’s becoming more apparent that what goes in and on our bodies has an effect on our health and well-being. With the recent case involving talc and its link with ovarian cancer, you might be wondering what’s lurking on your bathroom shelves.
When I went through my own products, I could have discarded 100% based on their contents! Even products I thought were safer like The Honest Co., Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Meyer’s didn’t always make the cut. I felt duped! “How could they?” you might ask. Well, quite easily since there aren’t strict FDA regulations prohibiting a product from getting to market and making inaccurate claims. I gave myself one month to replace all these products with safer ones. And I did it, which means you can too.
I want to switch to healthier products, but where do I start?
The challenges could be not knowing which chemicals to avoid or the fear that it might cost an arm and a leg. Also, change can be scary! I’m writing this blog to share the research I’ve done and let you know my favorite products. This process was by no means easy since there is A LOT of misleading marketing out there. The deeper and deeper I delved, the more I realized how irresponsible and deceiving companies are towards their customers.
Keep in mind that a certain brand may not have good products across the line, making this process more time-consuming for me. What do I mean by this? Say I recommend a company’s bathroom cleaner; this doesn’t necessarily mean their multi-surface cleaner is good. Or, I might recommend an unscented body wash over the scented ones due to certain ingredients. See what I mean?
At times, I just wanted to throw up my arms and yell, “I give up! You win!” But I knew my research would not only be beneficial for me and my family, it would help you and future generations.
What ingredients should I look out for?
If you’d like to find your own products or check your current household products, here is a list of some chemicals to avoid (it’s long, I know…):
acrylamide acrylates (ethyl acrylate, ethyl methacrylate, methyl methacrylate) ammonium laureth sulfate (ALS) arsenic benzalkonium chloride benzene benzethonium chloride benzophenone benzyl alcohol butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) cadmium carbon black centrimonium bromide ceteareth 20 chromium coal tar crystalline silica D&C Black No. 2 ethanolamine compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA) formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin) fragrance grapefruit seed extract homosalate hydrogenated cotton seed oil hydroquinone isopropyl acetone lead acetate methylchloroisothiazolinone methylisothiazolinone mineral oil (if untreated or mildly treated) musk ketone octinoxate -oleth oxybenzone -parabens paraffin oil PEG compounds petrolatum (white petrolatum is okay) phenoxyethanol phosphates phthalates polyquaternium p-phenylenediamine resorcinol retinoic acid retinyl palmitate sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS/SLES) talc thimerosal titanium dioxide (in its inhalable form) toluene triclosan tocopheryl acetate (if contaminated by hydroquinone) polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) -xynol
Simple Tip: If an 8-year old could read the ingredient list, that’s a good start. If you’re unsure about a certain chemical and don’t see it above, you can enter it into the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website to check its safety profile. A 1-2 means it’s a low hazard, 3-6 represents a moderate hazard, and a 7-10 is a high hazard. This is just a general guideline.
I don’t want to learn everything. Can you just tell me the safest products to buy?
Sure! Over the next couple months, I’ll reveal what I think are the best products in over 15 categories (toothpaste, deodorant, hand soap, sunscreen, etc.). How is my list different from others out there? I’ve seen many top 10 lists from magazines and even EWG’s website. After checking out each ingredient, there’s either 0 or 1 product that is okay in my opinion, so that means it still requires research on your part.
A very big, recurring lesson I learned through this process is that natural does not always equal “safe.” So, although my recommendations may not offer you as many choices, they are what I have found to be the best on the market considering all factors. These are products I use myself and bought for my own family members. I will continue to use them until I find something that is equally as good or better! In the future, I’ll also touch on topics like fragrance, preservatives, and color additives.
If there’s any topic you’d be interested in knowing more about, please comment below or send me a message. My goal is to help you make informed decisions, so that you and your family can live happy, healthier lives. The first step is educating yourself. Please share this blog with anyone you think might benefit from it, which I believe is everyone!