Q. I’m interested in using natural products for my makeup, deodorant, nail polish, and other personal care items. What ingredients should I avoid? Which products are safe, and where I can purchase them?
A. Many people want to switch from using personal-care products that contain synthetic ingredients to more natural alternatives.
A report by the Environmental Working Group appeared in part in the New York Times in 2002, titled “Not Too Pretty.” It raised some serious concerns.
The report pointed out that many commonly used personal care products contain synthetic chemicals, called phthalates, that can increase the risk of birth defects in male fetuses.
According to the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that of 289 people tested for phthalates, all had been exposed to them. Phthalates are found in makeup, deodorants, nail polishes and other products, and often they aren’t listed on labels.
Ingredients found in personal care products that could be pro-carcinogens (substances that may initiate the development of cancer) include butylated hydroxytoluene (often labeled as BHT), polymethyl methacrylate and triethanolamine.
To make a safety assessment of your personal care products, go to www.safecosmetics.org or www.ewg.org.
You can easily avoid products containing potentially harmful synthetic ingredients by buying most of your personal care items at your local health-food store, or by making the right choices when you shop elsewhere.
Here are a few suggestions:
Makeup: Consider using Burt’s Bees, Dr. Hauschka or Bare Escentuals cosmetics. You can find some Burt’s Bees and Dr. Hauschka products at health-food stores, but more options are available online. Bare Escentuals products can be found at many cosmetic outlets.
Deodorant: To cope with body odor from the inside out, you can take a supplement developed in Hawai’i called Body Mint. It’s made from an all-natural derivative of chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants that makes photosynthesis possible), and can decrease body odor. You can find Body Mint at your pharmacy.
To cope with body odor from the outside in, use an all-natural deodorant. Tom’s of Maine, Weleda and Aubrey Organics make excellent underarm deodorants; natural mineral salts found in Crystal Body Deodorant are another option. These products, which are all available at health-food stores, help decrease the smell associated with perspiration, and they don’t prevent you from sweating.
Nail polish: No Miss and Acquarella nail care products don’t contain phthalates, toluene or formaldehyde, which are all used in many nail polishes. These products can be found online.
Article was originally printed in the Honolulu Advertiser, honoluluadvertiser.com