Few of us are really aware just how many toxic chemicals our body comes into contact with everyday – research has shown that there can be up to 15 toxic chemicals in a bottle of shampoo, 24 in your bottle of foundation, and a whopping 32 toxins in your favourite body lotion! We’re simply not designed to deal with this chemical burden and while we all think about the food that we put into our bodies it’s time to start thinking about what we’re putting onto our skin!
My rule of thumb is if you can’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin!
When you eat food it gets broken down and transported through your digestive system where any unwanted waste (including toxins) will be flushed out of the body, thanks to the help of our liver and kidneys. However, skin, hair, and body care products (and their toxins) can be absorbed directly through the layers of your skin into the muscles and fat, and ultimately into your bloodstream meaning any toxins will get transported around your body without any kind of filtering. This toxic build up has been linked to a wide range of problems from skin allergies such as eczema and acne to infertility and DNA damage. With this in mind I’ve put together a guide of my favourite Paleo-friendly essentials that every bathroom should have!
Bath Time and Body Essentials
Body Wash and Hand Wash
Body washes can contain a whole host of toxic chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (the chemical that makes things foam!), Triclosan, parabens, and synthetic fragrance. To find out more about the toxic chemicals we need to avoid, this article explains each one in more detail. I’ve recently discovered a lovely brand called Savon Stories – they are a small independent brand who sell raw, organic, cold-pressed soaps which can be used for the body or hands – my other half even uses the activated charcoal one as a shampoo to banish his dandruff when no other shampoo has worked! I’m currently using their Bergamot, Lavender, and Geranium Soap with Activated Charcoal! It leaves my skin feeling super clean with absolutely no dryness or irritation, the activated charcoal has the ability to absorb impurities (more on this later!) so expect to see a shocking amount of grime in your shower the first few times you use this!
Body lotions contain, on average, more toxic ingredients than any other personal care item. Not only are they usually crammed with artificial colours, fragrance, and alcohol, they usually contain silicones and mineral oils which will feel lovely and soft as you rub it in but actually clog your pores which can cause itchiness and irritation – especially if your prone to eczema or acne. My advice? Just use coconut oil! It retains the moisture content of skin, delays the ageing process, and protects the skin from microbial infections!
When it comes to hair care, you have two options – depending upon how brave you are! Shampoo contains chemicals (including SLS) that strip your hair of it’s natural oils and conditioner contains silicones that may make your hair feel soft, but have absolutely no hair-benefits whatsoever! The most Paleo-friendly way to clean your hair is to follow the ‘No Poo’ method! This means breaking up with your shampoo and conditioner and only using bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar to keep your hair clean. This is a very intense challenge which involves a difficult transition period where your scalp adjusts to how much oil it needs to product – this could take anywhere from 1 week to a couple of months! However, once you get past that “detox” phase, your hair will be healthier, shinier, and softer than ever! If the ‘No-Poo’ isn’t for you, luckily there are plenty of other natural and organic hair care options that will leave you with healthy, happy hair! I’m currently using Green People’s Quinoa & Artichoke Shampoo & Conditioner which are both vegan, cruelty-free, and packed full of certified organic ingredients that will give you great hair days, every day!
Most of us purchase dental hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash without really giving the ingredients list a second thought. Commercial toothpaste contains many potentially harmful ingredients such as SLS, Triclosan, and Propylene Glycol – The Material Safety Data Sheets for Propylene Glycol warn that the chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, with prolonged contact leading to brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. I’m currently using the Aloe Vera & Mandarin toothpaste from Urtekram. I always have a juice or smoothie on my way to work so I’m a big fan of non-minty toothpastes that don’t make my morning drinks taste funky!
Whether you use roll-on or spray deodorants – both contain chemicals that have been linked to health problems ranging from skin irritation, allergies, asthma, and even breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. On top of all that, antiperspirants prevent the body from eliminating toxins perspiration which can lead to skin conditions like contact dermatitis and prickly heat. I’m currently using OY! Orange & Vanilla Deodorant – it’s vegan and certified organic and works better than any other natural deodorant I’ve tried. You may find you have a week or two detox period when switching from mainstream deodorants to natural ones but with all the health concerns linked with conventional deodorants, I think 2 weeks of detoxing is small price to pay!
Remedies for Coughs, Cuts and Colds
I recently purchased an aloe vera plant so I can apply fresh aloe gel to soothe any burns, sunburns, or sore, irritated skin.
Activated Charcoal Capsules
Activated charcoal capsules (or activated charcoal powder) are a great natural remedy for food poisoning and tummy bugs. Activated charcoal adsorbs (adheres itself to) most organic toxins, chemicals and poisons before they can harm the body.
Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano, also known as nature’s antibiotic is said to help treat a huge number of minor ailments, including headaches, eczema, diarrhoea, and sinusitis. It can also kill bacteria, fungus, yeast, parasites, viruses and it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain killer, and antiseptic! You can either take a couple of drops in some water – or for headaches, massage some into your forehead/temples or add a couple of drops to a diffuser.
Although all raw honey helps to soothe sore throats and ease the effects of coughs and colds during the flu season. Manuka honey’s antiviral properties make is extra beneficial for cold and flu symptoms. Manuka honey contains more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants than other types of honey – this helps boost the immune system and help fight off any bugs.
Certain essential oils are great to have on hand for a number of ailments. Lavender is great for soothing and calming the skin and also promoting sleep, Tea Tree is great for cuts and bites and Peppermint and Lemon essential oil are great for relieving heartburn! Just remember to never use more than a 1% dilution which is 6 drops in 30ml of liquid. Essential oils are extremely potent and if used irresponsibly can cause further problems.
I hope you enjoyed my peak into my Primal Bathroom must-haves! What are your Paleo friendly ‘first-aid kit’ essentials?