Why should you choose natural products?
There are over 85 000 artificial chemicals in the market today (and growing), which includes cosmetics, medicine, household cleaning products, pesticides and food.
60 percent of the substances we put in our body are absorbed by our skin.
If you do further research, many product brands will claim that the quantity of these chemicals is too low to pose any danger, and that they meet the safe maximum dosage. BUT, just take a minute to think about the amount of products you use each day – toothpaste, mouth wash, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toner, face cream, make up etc. Each containing the safe maximum dosage, which means you are actually consuming ten times (or more) of the safe maximum dosage everyday!
Studies are linking exposure to unsafe chemicals to a wide variety of problems:
- disruption of the immune, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems
- sexual dysfunction
- visual disturbances
- memory loss
- personality changes
- sleep disturbances
- muscle in-coordination
- aches and pains
(Source: Debra Lynn Dadd, Home Safe Home)
A healthier body is an excellent reason why you should switch to natural and organic products wherever possible. Other reasons to convince you:
- It can be cheaper: Making your own products can be a whole lot cheaper than buying synthetic products, and cheaper even than buying natural/ organic retail products.
- It is sustainable & eco-friendly: the recipes I share on this blog use natural products which are biodegradable and ethically sourced. If you come across an ingredient which isn’t, please contact me and I’ll happily stop using and promoting it (I try my best to research every ingredient, but I’m human and can make mistakes).
As a starting point, I’d like to give you a practical example of the toxins used in your everyday life.
Grab your roll-on/ antiperspirant and read the list of ingredients. I’ll bet that you’ll find aluminium listed among the plethora of unpronounceable, harmful chemicals.
The aluminium based compound is the active ingredient which blocks your pores and prevents you from sweating. Apart from keeping you fresh, applying this heavy metal to your armpits is also proposed to cause, or be linked to breast cancer. The research is not conclusive yet, and some say it’s just another ‘internet rumour’, but just think about how long it took tobacco companies to accept and publish that cigarettes cause cancer. I don’t want to take my chances, do you?
Aluminium in any shape or form is really bad for your health, even in small amounts. Aluminium has also been the subject of much research when it comes to Alzheimers disease.
However, aluminium is not the only culprit. Toxic preservatives and softeners called parabens and phthalates, are also found in most cosmetic products, including your roll-on.
Read more about:
What are phthalates and how the heck do you pronounce it?
What are parabens and why are they dangerous?
Aluminium-based antiperspirants and cancer research
Where is aluminium found and why is exposure harmful?
Labelling policy of products
It is very important to understand the ingredients in the products you buy, so that you will not be fooled by words like “natural”, “pure” and even “organic” among others. Firstly, many products claim to be “natural”, but what they really mean is that they contain naturally derived ingredients. This is basically a manipulation of words which actually means that the ingredients derived from nature have been used to artificially create a product that is delivered in an unnatural form.
- Certified Organic products are best, however they are also the most expensive due to the costly process of getting certified. You can completely trust that certified products are in fact organic.
- Organic products are better, and more affordable. These are brands that have chosen not to go through the pricey process of certification.
- Natural products are okay, and are the cheapest. However, one must be very sceptical when seeing this label. It is very important to read the list of ingredients and understand what exactly is inside.
If you are interested, you can also read the Regulations Relating To The Labelling And Advertising Of Foodstuffs from the Department of Health (South Africa). The usage of the above terms are dealt with on page 19 under the headline “misleading descriptions” (point 47.1 and 47.2)
Be aware of these ‘natural’ myths
1. “Natural” is not always better
Keep in mind that just because something is natural, does not make it good for you. Everything is natural if you think about it, because everything must be made from the natural periodic table of elements – everything is chemistry. Aluminium is natural, since it can be found in the earth’s crust, but it’s definitely not good for you to grab a spoonful to eat, or smear it on your perspiring armpits.
2. Crystal antiperspirants are bad
I was fooled by this one too. When I first started out, I heard that crystal deodorants were the healthy alternative as they were merely a natural mineral salt which were free from parabens and aluminium, and were endorsed by Cancer Treatment Centres. I encourage you to do further research and make your own informed decisions, but I have personally chosen to stay away from this misleading product.
The primary ingredient in crystal deodorants is “ammonium alum” or some other “alum” compound. Guess what alum stands for? Yep, you guessed it, “aluminium”. Arguments for this product claim that this compound of aluminium is too large to be absorbed by the skin. However, there are just as many claims that this simply isn’t true and that it is in fact absorbed by the skin. Either way, until there is conclusive evidence I have opted to stay away from any aluminium compounds altogether. Better safe than sorry. However, these deodorants are better in that they contain no parabens.
3. Please don’t make your own sunscreen – it’s dangerous!
Many natural beauty blogs will share DIY sunscreen recipes, and I will never do this for the simple reason that it is irresponsible and dangerous to your health. The ingredients in many of these recipes are not dangerous themselves, but you cannot trust that your homemade sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun. Mixing the ingredients for homemade sunscreen does not ensure that the protective compounds like zinc oxide, for example, will be distributed evenly. You will probably be left with clumps of lotion among some clumps of protection. Again, I encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions. However, I personally only trust lab tested sunscreens which can ensure that the SPF is accurate, and that the protection is consistent. There are many natural and organic lab tested sunscreens available in South Africa. Another organic option is the tried and tested wide-brimmed hat!
4. Avoid using alcohol in recipes
Alcohol is found in many synthetic products and natural recipes such as mouthwash, perfumes, deodorants, face wash, toner and even moisturisers. They are added to give products a lightweight and fresh feel. Yet, the sobering fact is that some studies link the alcohol in mouthwash to oral cancer. Also, the topical application of alcohol damages your skin’s protective barrier and facilitates the absorption of toxins including carcinogens. As such, I have chosen to use distilled water instead of alcohol in my recipes.
Please help spread awareness by sharing this information. Your health and your family’s, as well as this beautiful blue planet can only benefit from it.