Dontcha Know That You're Toxic?

I'm a beauty product junkie. I remember asking for Neutrogena "Clean" Shampoo & Conditioner for my 13th birthday after Jennifer Love Hewitt's shiny hair captivated me in a Seventeen Magazine ad. I'm the reason marketing folks work so hard at product placement. They target me and suddenly, my hair is lackluster and basically keeping me from achieving all my life's ambitions.

I'd beg my mom to take me to Rite-Aid where I'd settled on the shampoo with the biggest promises and cutest labels. As I got older, I'd occasionally splurge on department store products, not because they were particularly good for me but because they were fancy. And when it comes to beauty products, your girl loves fancy.

I've never had particularly sensitive skin but after moving to a humid island, I developed cysts around my hairline and noticed my skin felt irritated when I put clothes on fresh out of the dryer. I found rashes and patches of dry skin that wouldn't go away and smelled awful all the time. I applied deodorant multiple times a the day and still felt like I was a walking B.O. parade. After months of trying different products to deal with the issues I was having to no avail, I began to research natural remedies. Suddenly I became aware that a lot of the issues I was dealing with were attributed to the products I had been using. 

It turns out every single product I was using on my body was toxic.

I really wanted to get to the bottom of what was happening in my body, so I hit the books and learned a few things about toxic overload. For the sake of simplicity, we'll refer to a toxin as any substance that's either unusable to the body or  presented in amounts in excess of what is useful to the body. Quick highlight reel on our body's processes for eliminating toxins:

  • A run of the mill moisturizer is applied to the skin. Within a couple of minutes, every ingredient in the moisturizer is absorbed via our largest organ and and enter the bloodstream. 
  • As unrecognizable/unusable ingredients make their way through various parts of the body, signals fire alerting the presence of an invader.
  • Inflammation is produced to protect vital structures from those invaders since our bodies aren't designed to use almost any of the chemicals present in most commonly used personal care products. 
  • Little note: many of the chemicals found in these products do things that are just plain awful. The most commonly used have been known to:
    • Kill the friendly bacteria in our gut
    • Block oxygen from binding to the red blood cells
    • Block the absorption of vital minerals and vitamins 
    • Block the enzymes the body needs for normal function
  • Toxins are are filtered out of the body as deemed harmful and/or unusable.
  • If the affected organs have been stressed by their interaction with these invaders, the inflammation that was designed to protect them has to stick around, AKA the inflammation becomes chronic. 
  • If this cycle continues on, enter much more serious chronic inflammation issues.

Depending on how long this has gone on, the body will increase the volume of it's message. These messages look like acne, eczema, cysts, dry/cracked skin, itchy and/or flaky skin. If ignored, you may also begin to see more serious sensitivities begin to pop up. I chocked these messages up to hormones, stress and what's "normal" in your teens & 20's but that is just not true. 

Looking back, I'm shocked it took so long for me to think about what products I was using in and on my body. Even after I discovered I needed to make a change, I was hesitant because it felt so overwhelming. And not to mention wildly expensive! I've been moving in the direction of chemical-free products for about two years and have seen an incredible change in my skin, hair, digestion, overall health, AND my wallet. 

If you've come this far, you're obviously ready for a change and I'm thrilled for you. There are so many great products out there that are effective, chemical-free, affordable annnnndddd haven't been found to significantly increase your risk of being diagnosed with cancer or decrease your likelihood of carrying healthy babies. 

SAY WHAT? 

Yeah. Ya heard me. The products we've grown up seeing on commercials are literally, actually, in every way truly causing us very real health crises and we're over here thinking we're not affected because we're not breaking out in hives. We may also be judging our natural product minded friends for acting like hippies.... 

Enter Think Dirty. (All. The. Praise. Hands.)

One of my very favorite apps since well, ever, this fancy-schmancy little search engine lets you scan the barcode of that leave-in conditioner you've been eyeing to find out if it'll do more to your life than tame the frizz. 

©️ThinkDirtyApp

©️ThinkDirtyApp

⬅️Check out the Think Dirty App rating system

So basically, green is clean and anything red or yellow should just be left to mellow (on the shelf, or somewhere else far away from you). The issue I had when I started using the app to scan all my wonderful products is a lot of the "natural" products I trusted didn't actually fare well on the rating system. In fact, several of them were 9's and 10's, which when we're considering carcinogenicity, *cough* cancer-causing, or reproductive system danger zone, I'm paying attention.

Check out Think Dirty's methodology to see how they come up with this stuff and why it's so dang real. 

Feeling curious? Grossed out? Excited? I'd encourage you to download ThinkDirty's free app and spend a few minutes scanning and taking note of your favorite products' ratings. I know it's not always easy to take the first step, so I created a free fill-in/printable guide to eliminating the most common personal product and household toxins over the course of a year. Think about it- you'll buy all kinds of new toiletries and household products within the next 12 months. Why not consider buying ones that may be just as effective without the dangers to your family's health?

It's tempting to toss away all of the products that don't meet the standard once you get going with all of this but unless you're made of money, re-buying everything you use every day can add up. Try using this guide to take baby steps and check off each product you eliminate as you're able. Speed up the year, slow it down, just take a step. The year is going to pass regardless and you could be on your way to a chemical-free home before you know it. 

Click here to download the free printable and tell us in the comments which product you're going to replace first! 

Samantha LeGassickComment