By Sara Russell, Ph.D, NTP, CGP
Founder, Feed Your Fertile Body!™ Program
The numerous chemicals in common body care products overload the body’s detoxification pathways and cause stress in the endocrine system, making it harder to conceive and give birth to a healthy baby. These products contain numerous endocrine disruptors that can affect hormonal balance in both men and women before conception as well as in the developing fetus and growing children. This is the second post in the ongoing series on non-toxic home and body care products.
If you are anything like the average person living in the Western world, your home is full of toxic body care products. Don’t let this be a cause of fear or overwhelm. Just get to work on four things in the next 1-2 weeks: soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste. As you gradually give your home and body care products a much-needed make-over, always ask yourself whether you really need a specific type of product or not. Do you really need a dedicated shaving gel, or might the same aloe vera gel you keep in your house for sunburns be a good candidate for this second job?
Mentioned in the previous post, The Environmental Working Group’s skin deep database allows you to view ingredient and rating information for thousands of body care products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, sunscreen, and more.
Basic body care tips
Soap and shampoo
There are many products out there that are non-toxic and free of artificial scents. Personally, I find that castile soap, Aleppo soap and other olive oil-based soaps work just fine for my family. Castile soap is a liquid soap that can be used as a soap and shampoo as well as for numerous cleaning applications around the home. It can be purchased unscented or with the addition of any number of essential oils. Aleppo soap is a traditional bar soap made in Syria from olive oil and laurel leaf, which has a pleasant scent and mild antibacterial properties. At my house, we are minimalists and don’t go much beyond the basics. But if you enjoy the convenience and aesthetics of multiple products, you can search the EWG database for options that resonate with you.
Most people don’t actually need deodorant, but if you have a strong body odor, you can look for a commercial product or a recipe. Avoid commercial deodorants that contain aluminum and artificial fragrances. Avoid crystal deodorant products, which as this article explains, are based on aluminum salts that can be absorbed through the skin. Milk of magnesia can be used as a deodorant. Learn more here.
I recommend using toothpaste that is free of fluoride and SLS. If you can get a toothpaste that is free of glycerin, that’s even better. Glycerin may form a film over the teeth and actually make it harder to keep them free of buildup.
Be careful when looking at clay-based toothpaste options. Clay contains aluminum and incomplete spitting (especially the case in children) may result in absorption of aluminum.
Putting it all together
How fast you make changes to your home and body care routine, and how much you spend in the process, is up to you. There isn’t a right or wrong way to make the transition. Just start somewhere and find a pace that works for you. I recommend throwing out unnecessary and expired items and replacing your body care essentials with less toxic or non-toxic versions.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and would like help sorting through the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Pre-conception support for individuals and couples
The Feed Your Fertile Body!™ program offers nutritional and lifestyle tips to prepare you for conception and help you grow a healthy baby. See the program outline here. To sign up for an upcoming group or to learn about a self-paced option for going through the program, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.