What’s REALLY lurking behind your bathroom mirror
So what’s really hiding on the shelves of the medicine cabinet or vanity in your bathroom? There might be parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, synthetic polymers and formaldehyde donors in some of your favorite personal care products. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?
Well it’s not, and scientists have been discovering that many of these ingredients are bad for your health, prompting manufacturers to remove them from their products and tout such claims as paraben- and sulfate-free.
And weighing in with its own seal of approval is the Natural Products Association, which created a set of standards and guidelines that “define what natural is and what it isn’t,” according to the organization’s website. For the full list of ingredients that should and shouldn’t be in that lotion you’ve been using, click here.
So did we totally lose you at sodium lauryl sulfate? Yeah, we didn’t know what that was either. (For you inquisitive minds, it’s a “harsh cleansing agent that can potentially damage the lipid layer of your skin and cause irritation,” according to the NPA.) But we’re betting that you all know what aluminum is! Well, did you know that aluminum-based compounds are the main ingredients in most antiperspirants?
Now, that’s antiperspirant, NOT deodorants. Deodorants work to cover up the odor emitting from some of those delicate body parts, whereas antiperspirants work to actually help constrict your sweat glands so that you don’t emit as much sweat — that’s where the aluminum compounds enter the picture.
There have been some studies linking aluminum in high doses to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, but none have shown an actual causal link between antiperspirant use and the development of those diseases. For more info, check out the National Cancer Institute website. (FYI, according to Discovery Fit & Health, the FDA requires that over-the-counter antiperspirants contain no more than 15% to 25% of the active ingredient.)
So, if your issue is not an odor one, but rather a sweat one —pit stains, anyone? — and you’re really not into the idea of absorbing aluminum into your delicate skin, there certainly are other options out there for you.
Check out AntiperspirantWithoutAluminum.com for some ideas (yes, there’s actually an entire website dedicated to this issue). In a quick Google search, we found aluminum-free antiperspirants and natural deodorants available from Tom’s of Maine, Secret Natural Mineral and Arm & Hammer, as well as several smaller, organic brands.
If you find some other ones not mentioned here, let us know!