Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cutting down on your chemical exposure

In an effort to decrease my exposure to potential carcinogens and estrogen-mimicking chemicals,  I have completely overhauled my cosmetic and skincare routine. That means chucking out and passing along tried and true creams and cleansers, and searching out unknown, but potentially less hazardous, simpler products.

With the help of the Environmental Working Group's database, Skin Deep, and reviews on Amazon and Canadian online health and beauty store, I have sourced new products for both myself and my family.

Here's what I have started with:
  1. Green Beaver Jr. Boreal Berries Bubble Bath for the boys. Smells great, lots of bubbles and none of the crap found in the bubble bath I used to buy for them. All organic, biodegradable, gluten-free...ok, the last part makes me smile cause I only ever thought gluten was an issue in edible products. Clearly I was wrong! Did I mention Green Beaver is a Canadian company?
  2. Also from Green Beaver, Purifying Grapefruit and Soothing Aloe Facial Cleanser. Works a treat, didn't strip my skin and has a light, happy, citrusy scent that comes from the ingredients and not added fragrance.
  3. For hand and bath soap, for us and the kids, I went with Rocky Mountain Soap Company soaps. They are great - lots of lather, skin softening and great scents. Plus, all of them are rated zero risk at Skin Deep. I bought ours at their Victoria, BC store but they are also available, along with the rest of their great products, via their website.
  4. Jamieson ProVitamina E Moisture-Rich Nourishing Cream for an all-around moisturizer, day or night, that packs a ton of moisture. To make it a day cream, I'm mixing it with my regular sunscreen in my palm. Skin Deep rates this a moderate risk, due mostly to allergy and immunotoxicity concerns, but it is a low-risk for cancer and that's my main concern. I will alternate this cream with straight olive oil for my night-time moisturizing needs.
  5. For an all over lotion, I got Ella's Botanicals My Darling Clementine Hand & Body Lotion. Doesn't show up on Skin Deep, but I can see from its ingredient list that this one's a keeper. Just a few ingredients, mostly sunflower oil, and tangerine and sweet orange essential oils to give it a light, appealing scent. Not greasy, rubs in quickly and, 24 hours later, my skin is still soft.
  6. For conditioner, I picked Live Clean Argan Oil Restorative Conditioner that goes with the Live Clean Argan Oil Restorative Shampoo I have already been using. No ratings on Skin Deep, but argan oil shows up as zero risk. So far, so good. My hair feels clean and soft (but I'm still growing out this goofy post-chemo hair and I think what I really need now is a haircut!) and the products are not strongly-scented.
As I find new products, I'll let you know. For example, Olivier Soapery makes shampoos and soaps that show up as zero risk on Skin Deep, so I think that will be my next purchase once these ones run out.

If you are starting this process as well, take heart! There are lots of places to look for advice on picking new products. In addition to the sites I used here, I also belong to Crazy, Sexy and Safe Products at the Crazy Sexy Life website and my friends there have lots of great recommendations.

If you have any natural products that you love, let me know and I'll share them here!


  1. Thanks for posting these! It's a great help. I am having a hard enough time just figuring out my food!

    PS Unrefined, organic coconut oil makes a great moisturizer; it was the only thing that didn't make me itch during my "itchy" phase after starting Tamoxifen. ;-)

  2. Hey, Renn!

    I completely forgot about coconut oil - I keep meaning to try it. Thanks for the reminder! What kind of itchiness did you get after Tamox? I missed that SE.

  3. Cyn, You're amazing. Keep making these discoveries and sharing them. I need to think about making more changes.

  4. Nancy - you're sweet! I will keep sharing as long as you're reading. For example, now I've read that there is a new study that connects BPA and paraben exposure to a decrease in the effectiveness of tamoxifen. If it is true, that is pretty devastating and an even bigger inspiration to clean up our products and packaging.

    I hope you're well!

  5. Hi Cyn
    Thanks for the website info. I placed an order yesterday. Our local health food store has a spotty selection of shampoo, soaps and lotions so this is great plus free shipping!

  6. Woo hoo!

    I think I overuse that term, by the way. Boomer was allowed to add 2 spelling words to his English list in school this week and he added "woo hoo" and "awesome". :-)