Natural Product Alternatives for Families

Most people these days have an increased curiosity surrounding climate change and sustainability. It’s something that feeds the media on the daily and an issue we can no longer avoid. One thing that comes along with learning about what is good and bad for the environment, is learning what’s good and bad for us too.

We have started to become more aware of how actions impact our environment, how plastic pollution in the ocean is polluting our food and how many harmful ingredients are in the products we use every day. There is not a lot of evidence about how some of these ingredients may affect us in the long run, but I think it’s best not to find out. Here are some you should avoid.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a very necessary part of our daily routine. Majority of people wouldn’t think that toothpaste could contain harmful chemicals, but unfortunately some of them do. One of the chemicals that is in some toothpastes is Triclosan. Triclosan helps to prevent bacterial contamination and gingivitis. While Triclosan may prevent swollen gums, it has been linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption.[i]

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to start making your own toothpaste from bicarb soda. Many people can vouch for the homemade toothpaste, but there are a number of natural toothpastes on the market if you’re looking for a little more convenience.

What’s the alternative?

My top tick for a natural toothpaste is Grants. Grants is known as ‘Australia’s Original Natural Toothpaste’ and was established in 1984. They have a wide variety of products including children’s, whitening and sensitive toothpastes. You can purchase Grants from Coles or Woolworths or directly from their website here.

Deodorant

Another can’t go without item in our daily routine is deodorant. Most popular antiperspirants contain aluminum. This is something I didn’t know until about a year ago and I was shocked. The aluminum is used to ‘plug’ your sweat glands and give you a dry feel all day long. But at what cost? Aluminum can cause an increase in the tenancy of our cells to mutate. Mutations can increase the chance of tumor growth. [ii] Like many of these harmful chemicals, we don’t know a lot of the long-term risks associated but it’s probably best not to find out.

What’s the alternative?

The increase of knowledge around the affects of aluminum has results in an influx of new natural alternative deodorants. While everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you, my personal favourite is No Pong.

A few of my colleagues are advocates for No Pong and introduced me to it last year. This deodorant is a little different as it’s a paste and it does not work as an antiperspirant. Sweating like a normal person instead of clogging your pores with aluminum takes some getting used to but it well worth it. I will never go back to a traditional antiperspirant spray. No Pong keeps me fresh all day long and keeps the chemicals out of my body.

Lip Balm

Lip balm isn’t something that every person uses everyday, but as we move into the cold or dry months you might find yourself needing it. Unfortunately, a lot of common lip balms can contain harmful ingredients. One of the most common ingredients found in lip balms and lipsticks is Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA).

BHA is a preservative used in many cosmetic products to increase the shelf life and kill bacteria. It might enable you to keep your lip balm until next winter but it could have some nasty side effects. BHA has been proven in test animals to have carcinogenic effects. This is in trials where animals are fed high doses and low levels in humans show no increased risk of cancer. However, for me, I’m not too thrilled about putting something on my skin that has been labelled carcinogenic.

What’s the alternative?

There are plenty of natural lip balm alternatives on the market that don’t contain harmful chemicals. Burt’s Bee’s is a popular natural alternative that can be found at your local chemist, but if you look online you can source numerous products that you might prefer. Nourished Life if a good place to start is you’re looking to upgrade your cosmetics to natural alternatives.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is probably the one thing most people think is safe. We need to believe it is because the alternative is going in the sun without protection or avoiding it altogether. While there is certainly a place for sunscreen and it’s something that some people can definitely not avoid, it’s important to know some of the effects it can have. One of the most concerning chemical present in popular sunscreens is Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone helps to protect your skin from UV rays but it could also have harmful effects.

Oxybenzone has been identified as a potential hormone disruptor. The full effects of Oxybenzone are still unknown, but studies have found it remains in our bloodstream for quite some time. The FDA are currently undertaking studies on Oxybenzone to determine if it could in fact cause issues with metabolism, growth and development, sexual function and reproduction, thyroid function, and more.[iii] In the meantime, I am going to avoid it.

What’s the alternative?

A few natural sunscreens have surfaced in recent years but it’s important to remember to find one that is SPF35+. I haven’t had any experience with natural sunscreens, but you can find a large variety on Nourished Life.

Like changing your habits to decrease your environmental footprint, making the switch to natural products should be done one step at a time. It can be very daunting if you think about all the different chemicals that could be sitting on your bathroom sink. My recommendation is to start with one thing at a time. Switching up your cosmetics is always a process.

I started with deodorant, moved to toothpaste and it flowed on from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself and go and tip everything into the bin. Next time something runs out, opt for replacing it with a natural alternative. Then you’ll wake up one day and realise everything in your bathroom is derived from natural ingredients.

 

[i] https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/09/toxic-toothpaste-ingredients.aspx

[ii] https://www.madesafe.org/education/whats-in-that/deodorant/

[iii] https://www.prevention.com/health/a27556739/oxybenzone-sunscreen-safety/

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