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4 simple skincare swaps to reduce your chemical load

What we put on our skin matters.

Our skin isn’t just a protective barrier; it’s a dynamic, living organ that absorbs much of what we apply to it. This means that the ingredients in our skincare products can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, directly impacting our overall health and wellbeing.

Natural and organic products typically contain fewer (or no) synthetic chemicals, which reduces the risk of skin irritation and long-term health risks associated with certain artificial ingredients that can disrupt our hormonal systems (known as endocrine disruptors). Plus, it’s better for the environment, including marine ecosystems. Making simple swaps helps to reduce your body’s overall synthetic chemical burden – which in today’s world is quickly escalating. Let’s take a look at five key products that you likely use daily and why switching them out for natural alternatives will be beneficial for your health and body.

1. Antiperspirant deodorant to natural deodorant

Sweating is part of our body’s temperature regulation system which is also linked to our detoxification and elimination pathways. While I absolutely understand that sweating can be an annoying part of human existence for some, we have to start questioning the impact of preventing these kinds of natural and important processes. Antiperspirant deodorants use aluminium to block your pores, essentially plugging up your sweat roads. I’ve seen antiperspirant deodorants proclaiming up to 72 hours of protection – and most people would still apply this daily. Studies suggest a potential link between consistent aluminium exposure and various health issues, including breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. There are some fantastic natural deodorants on the market these days, and while they won’t stop you sweating, they do effectively combat odour.

2. Synthetic chemical-based sunscreen to mineral sunscreen

It’s become common for people to use sunscreen either on their face or their whole body every day. Then, if you’re out in the sun or in and out of the water, topping up every few hours. This can mean layers and layers of sunscreen across the day sometimes. Synthetic chemical sunscreens, containing compounds like oxybenzone and octinoxate, are absorbed into the skin and may disrupt hormones. These chemicals have also been implicated in coral reef damage. Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide offer a safer and equally effective alternative, as they sit on the skin’s surface and reflect UV rays without the risk of systemic absorption of concerning substances.

3. Bleached and/or fragranced feminine care items to organic alternatives

The intimate areas of our body are particularly sensitive and susceptible to irritation. Products such as bleached tampons, pads and other fragranced feminine care items can contain dioxins, chlorines, and other irritating and concerning compounds. Some feminine care products contain plastics in the absorbency parts. All of these can disrupt the delicate pH balance and lead to discomfort or health risks. Choose feminine care items made from certified organic and unbleached cotton to avoid any unwanted nasties.

4. Conventional makeup to organic makeup

If you wear makeup, it tends to be something you wear most days which means we’re absorbing potentially harmful substances day in day out. Conventional makeup products often contain parabens as preservatives which are known to mimic estrogen in the body, potentially contributing to a host of health concerns, both minor and major. Synthetic fragrances (often listed as simply ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’) are also common and these can contain hundreds of synthetic chemical compounds, including allergens and phthalates, which can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions and potentially have more serious health impacts. Other common ingredients include lead and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, sodium laurel sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, petroleum derivatives and siloxanes. Many of these substances are known to disrupt the endocrine system or be carcinogenic. There are many effective makeup ranges that don’t contain any of the ingredients mentioned above. Seek them out.  

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