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Want three great reasons to try organic body lotion and cream? They provide all the benefits of their chemically laden cousins without exposing you to endocrine disruptors, skin absorption enhancers and cancer-causing contaminants.
Soft supple skin, youthful skin, glowing skin, sun-kissed skin. These are some of the benefits of using chemically laden lotions and creams. At least that’s what the labels say.
But all these benefits come with health risks. Because here’s what the labels don’t say – Warning! Applying this product to your skin will expose you to several types of endocrine disrupters, carcinogens and skin absorbing enhancers.
On the other hand, organic body lotions and creams are made from plants, not synthetic chemicals concocted in a chemistry lab. So no warning label needed.
Need more convincing? Here are three great reasons why switching to natural, plant-based lotions will protect your health.
Multiple types of endocrine disruptors can be found in one bottle of lotion. If you use multiple products on your skin, you’re then exposed multiple times to multiple endocrine disrupters. Now you may be wondering, why is this a problem and is the small amount of these chemicals found in body lotion worth worrying about? When it comes to toxins that mess with your endocrine system, the answer to both questions is yes.
The endocrine system regulates your body’s functions through a network of glands (thyroid gland, ovaries, etc.) and the hormones (insulin, estrogen, etc.) they produce. Hormones bind to receptors in organs and tissues that recognize and respond to specific hormones.
Endocrine disruptors are like schoolyard bullies. They push around and bully your body's natural hormones. They block them from going where they need to go and push them out of their seats. This means your hormones can’t do their job.
Endocrine disruptors also take the place of your natural hormones, setting off similar chemical reactions in the body. They can even mess with your hormone levels or change the way hormones move throughout your body.
Now here’s the thing. The body is designed to respond to very low concentrations of hormones. This means exposure to even small amounts of endocrine disrupters can mess with your health.
Some of the health effects linked to endocrine disruptors are cancer, developmental problems, diabetes, and possibly also obesity and the metabolic syndrome, infertility and subfertility. (Endocrine Reviews, June 2012).
Endocrine disruptors have also been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and cardiovascular disease.
And you are exposed when you use body lotions with endocrine disruptors. A 2017 study that measured paraben and phthalate levels in 400 men over 11 years found 2 types of parabens and 8 different phthalates in 90% to 100% of the samples. This study also reported that using body lotion increased paraben levels in men 79–147%.
Endocrine Disruptors In Body Lotions
Your skin provides an effective protective barrier for your body. Skin penetration enhancing chemicals open this barrier up, allowing toxins to be more easily absorbed into your body. These chemicals can be found in many skin care products, including hand sanitizers.
In my opinion this group of skins absorbing enhancers are some of the more dangerous chemicals used in skin care products. First, they increase the absorption of toxins from the product you are using. Second, many are also endocrine disruptors and and carcinogens.
Skin Absorption Enhancers
Additional toxins that don’t appear on the product labels can end up in creams and lotions through contamination. Contaminates are toxic residues left behind from the manufacturing process. And many contaminates are carcinogens.
A common cancer causing contaminate is 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is an impurity in almost half of all cosmetics and can be absorbed through your skin in toxic amounts. It’s an unwanted byproduct of a processing method called ethoxylation used to reduce the risk of skin irritation from petroleum-based ingredients.
They can also be created through the interaction of different chemicals in the products. An example is the reaction of Cocamide DEA with some preservatives in personal care products. This reaction results in the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
The Silent Spring Institute published their study of the endocrine disruptors and asthma-related chemicals detected in 213 samples of 50 different products. In the body lotion samples they tested, they found the endocrine disruptor BPA. It’s very possible that BPA ended up in the lotion because it leached from the plastic lotion bottles.
You can safely and effectively moisturize your skin using organic body lotions made with plants, like shea and cocoa butter and coconut, grapeseed and jojoba oil. And there are lots of options available, whether you want to buy or make your own.
I like Badger's Antioxidant Body Oil for it's simple and safe ingredients. Other great options to try are ATTITUDE Body creams, Sea Kind Hydrate Sea Plant Lotion and Sally B's Skin Yummies EcoBody.
Making your own organic lotions and creams is a cheap and safe option. It's really easy to make homemade hand and body cream. Keep it simple when you're first starting out by making lotion bars.
You'll need a liquid oil, coconut oil, beeswax, essential oils (optional), a muffin tin and unbleached muffin papers.
A recipe I use often is two parts liquid oil, like grapeseed, jojoba or almond, to one part coconut oil or shea butter and one part beeswax. Beeswax is a wax used to thicken and harden lotions. You can adjust the amount you use to make your lotion bar harder or softer.
Place the oils in a jar and place in a pot of water on the stove or in the microwave to melt the solid oils. You can then add a couple of drops of essential oils if you want.
Once everything is melted pour into molds. I like to line a muffin tin with unbleached muffin papers. Clean-up is a snap, the paper makes it easy to hold and you can peel away the paper as you use it up.
Whatever recipe you use, store the cream in small glass jars or metal tins. Because every time you put your fingers in your jar you're introducing bacteria to your lotion, which will reduce shelf life. Also, keep in mind that any recipe that uses water will decrease shelf life because water is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Unlike hair dyes, where all the benefits of the most toxic types are not found in the more natural and less toxic options, organic body lotion and cream gives you all the benefits without the health risks. To reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors, skin absorbing enhancers and carcinogenic contaminants, consider giving these plant-based lotions a try. Your skin will thank you.