Natural Body Care

Choose healthier, natural body care products to protect your family and the planet.

| February/March 2005

Americans slather, suds, scrub, polish and perfume with wild abandon, choosing from an array of gels and creams, pastes and foams. Thousands of products vie for our attention with their promises of fresher breath, whiter teeth, glossier hair and clearer skin. Fortunately, today more and more cosmetic companies are also looking for ways to avoid long lists of chemical ingredients and are starting to put out products that are better for our bodies and the planet.

Beyond the Name Game

Whether you know it or not, your body already is familiar — and intimately so — with the alphabet soup of ingredients on the backside of your shampoos, lotions, shaving creams and deodorants. Your skin absorbs some of what you slather on it. To some extent, says Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, all chemicals penetrate the skin, some in “significant amounts.” Researchers have been studying the effects of some cosmetic chemicals, and the results show why we should read labels carefully and avoid the use of some products.

In 2002, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than 2 million poison exposures were reported, 52 percent in children under 6 years of age. The most common cause? Ingestion of household products, with cosmetics and personal care products topping the list.

Allergies — ranging from itchy skin to burning, watery eyes — are common reactions to cosmetics, the American Academy of Dermatology reports. Studies show that one in 10 people experience adverse reactions to cosmetics in their lifetime.

Some cosmetics can make it difficult to breathe, especially for asthmatics. Toluene, a chemical detected in every fragrance sample tested in a 1991 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, can trigger asthmatic attacks and also can cause asthma in healthy people.

According to Dr. Samuel Epstein and David Steinman, authors of The Safe Shopper’s Bible, some cosmetic ingredients also are possible players in health problems such as cancer, multiple chemical sensitivities and some birth defects.

8/12/2007 11:15:24 AM

Wonderful, wonderful article!!! I enjoyed reading every word!!! I smiled and nodded as I read throughout the piece. It's wonderfully written, researched and very well presented. Great job to the author of this article. I'm a natural living writer myself and I wrote an article just like this with the same style and information. Thank you for the wonderful information. It's great!

7/22/2007 8:46:27 PM

Been away so long I hardly knew the plac. Hortense Zvonimira.

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