by Lisa McLean of www.beautyfulnaturally.com
I am a mother who has become more and more concerned about what products I use around the house over the last few years. This goes for cleaning products, bathrooms products and beauty products. The main reason for this is that I am discovering so many different ingredients that are used in products that are really pretty toxic.
We are so heavily marketed to by big brands and we have such busy lives that we tend to pick up anything off the shelf without really thinking about what it is. It looks good, smells good, is the right price, does the job or someone else has told us it’s a good buy. The scariest thing is there are very few regulations on the ingredients used in these products and many ingredients have never been tested for effects on the human body. In Australia, the beauty industry is self-regulated, so even if there are concerns over some ingredients, they are still not banned from being used in products.
Now, I could write many blog posts about my discoveries and my journey so far on detoxing the home of products with questionable ingredients but I thought this post would be a good one to focus on just one product that as mothers we are buying and using more and more.
Anti-bacterial hand washes and hand sanitisers have become a must-have in so many households.
Not only do we wash a lot of hands when we become mothers (our kids and our own), but we also have become more and more concerned about bacteria and nasty viruses – and so hand sanitisers were born!
When my kids were younger (now in their early teens) I used hand sanitisers often, and I have bought my fair share of anti-bacterial hand soaps too! However, the more I learn about what is in them and discover we may be using them too often (which means our kids may not build healthy immune systems), the more I am convinced that we don’t need to use them as much and need to look for healthy alternatives.
I admit a hand sanitiser in the bag is useful at times and of course there is place for them (you may have noticed they are everywhere at hospitals – and for a reason!) but there are so many options out there that are not packed full of chemicals, so there is no excuse not to make the switch to a healthier option – I’ll tell you why.
Here are some of the key ingredients in the hand sanitisers readily available that most people reach for:
- Denatured Alcohol – a type of methylated spirit, which is a volatile and flammable alcohol (also used in engine fuel). Need I say more…why would we want to use this around kids let alone on them!
- Propylene Glycol and PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer – an ingredient I can’t even pronounce is instantly questionable to me. This is a compound of Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – a big no no, and also a derivative of petroleum.
- Acrylates – are linked with contact dermatitis, sensitisation, skin irritation, asthma, rhinitis. How can you put an ingredient in a hand product that’s linked to a skin condition like dermatitis?!
- Ethylenediamine – is a skin and respiratory irritant.
- Lastly, a few additives to hold it together and make it smell nice including “Fragrance” which can have issues of its own as this label can hide all sorts of chemicals. Have you ever thought about how strong smelling hand sanitisers are!
Have I convinced you yet that a swap to a healthier option is a good idea?
So, what are the alternatives you might ask?
Look for products with natural antibacterial properties and no drying alcohol, which are triclosan-free, benzalkonium chloride-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free and synthetic fragrance-free.
Here are few available online and at local health food stores:
These healthier options may be a few more dollars than we are used to paying but personally, I think for the sake of our health it’s worth it – especially if you are letting kids use them!
Alternatively, make your own which will cost even less – here is a recipe from The Wellness Mama. It includes natural antibacterial fruits and herbs include orange, cinnamon, clove, rosemary and lavender. Some great advice too, from Wellness Mama – wash your hands with a non-drying natural soap more often and don’t over-do the sanitisers!
To learn more about using low-tox beauty and home products visit my blog www.beautyfulnaturally.com, join my community on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/beautyfulnaturally/) and Instagram @beautyful.naturally