With September here now, remember that spring cleaning doesn’t only relate to your actual house and the contents in it. You should consider including yourself in the ‘spring clean’. And don’t just think food and fitness – have a think about your bathroom vanity while you’re at it.
Yay! The weather has warmed and we are coming out of hibernation. Spring is a great time to have a clean out: the linen cupboard, clothes, toys, nic nacs – it’s garage sale season as we clean out the clutter. How about turning your attention to the bathroom too and taking a close look at the products you and our family use on a daily basis that are not serving your health.
Our skin is our largest and thinnest organ – covered in pores that absorb whatever we lather, soak in or rub on and which then absorbs into our blood stream. Since we are careful with what we put IN our bodies we should also be aware of the impact of using personal care products, including products for our kids that are not serving our health.
Start by spring cleaning anything that has expired or that you don’t plan on using and then have a close look at what is left. So, what are you looking for on those labels? Labelling is not that clear cut and unfortunately some companies use words such as “natural” or “organic” which can be misleading. If you plan to use organic products, ensure that they have the Australian Certified Organic symbol. This ensures the quality of the product.
Most of us have heard of parabens which is a term used to describe a range of chemicals used as a preservative in cosmetics. Basically it is used to reduce fungus and bacteria growing. Parabens can be found in moisturisers, cleansers and body washes and notably deodorants. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has linked Methyl Paraben to hormonal and neurological disorders as well as some cancers in both males and females.
Other ingredients to look out for include phthalates, which is a plasticising ingredient that has been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm motility in adult men. Other nasty ingredients include Methylisothiazolinone found in shampoo, Toluene which is made from petroleum or coal tar and found in most synthetic fragrances and Triclosan which is a pesticide and found in toothpaste, body wash and domestic cleaning products.
As a rule of thumb if you are putting products on or in your body (mouthwash/ toothpaste) ensure you can read the label and pronounce the ingredients. Take a close look at the ingredients in the products in your bathroom and the products your children are using. As you move to replace some of these items look for that certified organic symbol which is your guarantee that the product is free from the nasties.
In Australia we are encouraged to report those products or companies misleading the public to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. They in turn investigate. As the end consumer, we as always have power over how we spend our money. By being informed and having a good clean out of our bathrooms, we become more aware of the ingredients listed on our favourite products and we can choose to upgrade our products and in turn our health and that of our family.