The products you use around your house every day could be ruining your skin. Here are 7 things you must avoid at all costs!
“I have an 18 year old niece who suffers terribly from eczema and is embarrassed by her legs, especially. I would say she has gone through more than 25 products, OTC and prescription. If this product works for her, because nothing else ever has, she would be a customer for life.
“She itches constantly and her legs look like a victim of agent orange they are so bad. She is 18 and ashamed to wear shorts or skirts and it only gets worse instead of better." - Krista
After countless medications Krista came to us for help with her niece. As you can see from her email above, they were desperate for an eczema treatment that actually worked.
Never one to turn down a challenge, especially to help someone suffering from a skin condition, we were happy to do everything we could.
We got her the right plant-based products and laid out some important tips to help her not only treat her eczema, but also improve the rest of her skin. Here were the results:
Talk about success! If you are suffering skin damage then keep reading to find out what she did to change her life forever!
7 Hidden Causes of Damaged Skin
Have you ever read the labels of the many products lying around your house? They may surprise you.
You won't have to look far to find a host of chemicals and toxins that can be quite dangerous. Many of them are linked to eczema, dermatitis and even cancer.
If you are suffering from some kind of skin condition, or just want to improve your overall health, then avoid these 7 household products:
I became aware of how strong detergents are when I ran just the rinse cycle on my dishwasher. To my surprise, the water foamed up even though I didn’t add soap. It took three rinses to get all the suds out. That means quite a bit of dishwasher fluid was still on my dishes all the times I only rinsed them once. Yikes!
Besides the sudsy food factor, here’s why that’s a big deal:
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tests various commercial products for grades them based on their toxicity levels. When evaluating a product, they look at its link to serious issues like asthma, skin irritation, cancer, reproductive interference and more. Once all the data is in, they grade the product ranging from A-F….yep, just like in school.
Here’s where it gets interesting (and scary).
The most popular dishwashing detergents like Cascade and Finish received a big fat “F.” Their failing grades were due to toxic ingredients that carried the potential to cause skin damage, hormonal issues and reproductive issues.
With data like that, it’s easy to see how one Swedish study found that kids who grew up in households using a dishwasher were more likely to develop allergies, asthma and eczema. In fact, 38% of kids who grew up with parents using dishwasher fluid had eczema, compared to just 23% of hand-washed households.
According to the Swedish study mentioned above, the easy solution would be to simply wash dishes by hand with an all botanical soap. That decreases your chances of developing eczema and allergies by an impressive 15%. You can further protect yourself by wearing thick gloves.
Also, consider washing dishes in lukewarm water as opposed to higher temps because hot water tends to irritate and dry out skin.
If you still prefer to use the dishwasher, then opt for the growing list of safer dishwasher fluids becoming available. Brands like Seventh Generation have many options that score A’s.
Our skin is like a sponge that soaks up anything it comes in contact with, and since we wear clothes every day, the chemicals within those clothes deserve special attention.
Many of the laundry detergents we wash our clothes in have been shown to disrupt your skin’s PH balance, cause skin irritation and act as endocrine disruptors. Some animal studies have even shown detergent ingredients to cause cancer.
One study conducted at the University of Washington looked at the most popular laundry detergents and found that they emitted several toxic chemicals. Surprisingly enough, all detergents tested emitted at least one chemical that was categorized by federal law as toxic and hazardous.
What’s even more shocking is that none of the detected chemicals were listed on the product labels!
And it’s not just the detergent, but dryer sheets as well. Even air vented from dryers using top laundry detergents were found to be toxic.
The same researchers went on to test the air put out by dryers. They ran one load washed with no products, one washed with a best-selling laundry detergent brand and one washed with the detergent plus a dryer sheet. Once ran through the dryer, they captured the exhaust in a container and tested it. The results revealed more than 25 VOCs, including 2 cancer-causing ingredients known as acetaldehyde and benzene.
That’s not even including the toxic fragrances, brighteners and stabilizers (like ethylene oxide linked to dermatitis) that are found in most non-natural detergents.
If you want to stick to conventional detergents, check out the Environmental Working Group website to find a non-toxic option.
However, there are plenty of natural DIY solutions you can try. You’d be amazed what a little distilled white vinegar and baking soda can do! Just a half cup of vinegar added during the rinse cycle acts as a natural fabric softener, and a quarter cup of baking soda will naturally brighten colors.
As for the detergent, try making your own with the many recipes available online. For dryer sheets, an eco-friendly dryer ball is an easy swap for those toxic sheets. Miss that fresh spring scent? Put a couple drops of your favorite essential oil on the dryer ball and wa-la!
The commercials say they will give you thick, vibrant hair and smell oh so wonderful. First of all, the models in the commercials aren’t even using those shampoos. Second, they actually just strip your hair down with alcohol then cover the strands with silicone to make them feel soft, but actually ruin the hair. Third, they are loaded with chemicals, fragrances and dyes.
And those chemicals that have been shown to cause skin irritation and disrupt your skin’s pH soak your entire body as you rinse.
Now that wouldn’t be such a big deal if studies had not found that the human body can absorb up to 5 lbs of cosmetic chemicals each year….but they did. Within those absorbed cosmetic chemicals are toxins like parabens, preservatives, alcohol and carcinogens.
The American Chemical Society found that roughly 85% of personal care products in America contain parabens, which is a big deal considering one 2005 study detected harmful parabens in the urine of over 99% of study participants. Once in the body, parabens can act like hormones and disrupt endocrine function.
Then there’s the alcohols, which have a harsh drying effect. The worst offenders include those with “prop” in their name like propanol or isopropyl alcohol.
If you use store-bought shampoo, check the label for “sodium lauryl sulfate.” Most of them contain it. You might be surprised to know that this suspected carcinogen is also used in engine degreasers. And we’re supposed to put this on our hair, and as a result, our skin?
Fortunately, there are much safer shampoo alternatives.
To start off, it’s interesting to note that most dermatologists say we lather up way more than we should. The average American washes their hair roughly 5 times a week - a rate that is very stripping to the hair and irritating to the skin.
Instead, try a natural homemade hair care. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar are great for this. Just mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda in about 2 cups of water, and massage into your hair and rinse just as you would shampoo.
Then rinse with a vinegar solution consisting of 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 2 cups water, more or less depending on the length of your hair. The baking soda cleanses hair without stripping it completely like traditional shampoos, and the vinegar balances the baking soda’s alkalinity, leaving hair soft and smooth.Or better yet, you can use our plant-based Shampoo and Conditioner! We designed them after finding out just bad how many hair products can be for you. They are both completely free from toxins, parabens, alcohol, and sulfates, making them completely safe for people suffering from damaged skin.
One senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group had this to say about traditional cleaning products:
“Neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market.”
To put it simply, there is no federal regulation of the chemicals in our cleaning products.
Alcohol, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, formaldehyde, ammonia and more - none of it is regulated. Using it once might not cause a reaction, and that’s what product manufacturers believe and promote, but it’s the continued use and buildup of these chemicals in the body that poses the problem.
The overflow of these toxins often result in bothersome skin conditions.
One study published by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care showed that the most common triggers for contact dermatitis included cleaning agents, solvents and scents.
Besides dermatitis, ingredients in cleaning products have been linked to asthma, allergies, eczema and even autoimmune disorders.
Do your best to switch to natural cleaning solutions. Look for products labeled dye-free and fragrance-free. There are also a variety of simple DIY ways to clean using either lemon juice, baking soda, white vinegar or Castile soap.
Don’t forget to further protect your skin by wearing waterproof gloves. Sometimes latex gloves can cause irritation even if you aren’t allergic, so consider using vinyl gloves.
And last but not least, rinse your hands thoroughly with warm water after cleaning to remove any residue the cleaning products may have left behind.
If you have damaged skin, you want to keep it clean to avoid infection. What you DON’T want to do is strip away all the oils, nutrients and moisture from it.
That’s exactly what happens when you use a harsh soap.
On the pH scale, our skin is around 5.5, while most soaps are in the 8-10 range. To put that in perspective, household bleach has a pH of 12. Using such acidic soaps can ruin your skin’s immune system and ability to heal properly.
On top of that, 9 out of 10 soaps that foam use sulfates and other chemicals to produce the suds. Such chemicals are commonly found to promote hormone disruption, skin irritation, cancer and overall weakened skin.
Besides that, many soaps contain triclorcarban and triclosan, which give them their highly marketable “antibacterial” factor. The problem is this antibacterial “benefit” has been linked to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the FDA.
Then there’s the surfactants most soaps contain. These surfactants not only induce redness, dryness and irritation, but also interfere with the skin’s function as a natural barrier.
In general, liquid soaps are better than bar soaps as they often have a lower pH and include skin moisturizers that can balance the drying factor. However, it’s best to stick to non-toxic soaps that are pH balanced like our Cleanse + Restore. It is not only hypoallergenic, but we included many food-grade ingredients to safely improve the quality of your skin.
When washing, try to avoid very hot water as it dries out your skin. When done, gently pat dry instead of rubbing, which will further protect your skin.
Traditional makeup contains a long list of dyes, chemicals, fragrances and preservatives - all of which are known skin irritants and even possible carcinogens.
The liquid versions are typically worse as they more easily seep into the skin and clog pores.
Besides the chemicals and synthetic ingredients, most makeups contain oil, which disrupt the skin’s natural oil balance. These oils are known to either cause or worsen acne in many individuals. The specific type of acne is known as “acne cosmetica” and is characterized by red bumps on the cheeks, chin and forehead as well as blocked pores.
For those with acne-prone skin and really anyone in general, mineral makeup is a great natural solution. Most are created from natural minerals sourced from the Earth, though you still need to be vigilant in reading labels as some still sneak chemicals in.
Other than mineral makeup, look for makeup options that are oil and fragrance-free. There are also some makeup products that are certified non-acnegenic (won’t cause acne) and non-comedogenic (won’t block pores).
Whatever makeup you choose, be sure to wash it off at night to avoid extended contact and even deeper absorption and clogged pores. To help you avoid chemicals and toxins we created a plant-based Makeup Remover that is actually good for your skin. It is strong enough to remove waterproof makeup, but safe enough for all skin types.
Air fresheners promise good smelling homes and range from air sprays and fabric sprays to burners and plug-ins. The problem is they don’t neutralize scents but simply attempt to cover them, all the while filling your home with chemical-based fumes that your sponge-like skin quickly absorbs.
Most air fresheners consist of 4 primary components besides their fragrances - petroleum distillates, p-dichlorobenzene, aerosols and formaldehyde.
Some popular brands like Febreze have even been tested to contain propylene glycol and BHT, both of which are known skin irritants.
The EWG describes petroleum distillates as a “mixture of volatile hydrocarbons” with the potential of toxic bioaccumulation and organ system toxicity. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your health for a fragrant home.
There are several things you can do to improve the smell of your home naturally.
- Open windows: On a nice day with a gentle breeze, open all your windows to allow air to circulate your home.
- Use odor absorbers: Baking soda comes in handy once again as it naturally neutralizes odors.
- Make a DIY potpourri: Mix your favorite fragrant flowers, spices and herbs and set out in bowls throughout your home.
- Diffuse essential oils: Invest in a quality diffuser and diffuse your favorite essential oil. Bonus points for oils that are natural mood boosters like lavender!
As you can see, some simple changes around the house can make for a huge improvement. Anyone suffering from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, acne, and others should do their best to follow these steps.
Even if you aren't dealing any obvious skin problems, removing chemicals and toxins from your daily life will help prevent premature aging, excessively dry or oily skin and can completely change your complexion.
While we do everything we can to make the best skin care products in the world, they can only do so much if you are constantly aggravating the problem you are trying to solve. Remove the triggers from your life and you will be amazed at how much your skin can improve.
Removing the chemicals and toxins weren't the only part to Krista's success with her niece. She also added in some superfoods that greatly improved her skin. She started using two of our bestselling products: Relief moisturizing cream and Cleanse + Restore face and body wash.
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Both products are free from chemicals and toxins, and are pack with botanical ingredients proven to help your skin.
Whether you have eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rashes, acne, or something else we hope you do make the same changes Krista's niece did and use the same products that gave her such great success.
To help you try them you can use this coupon code on our store save 15% off your entire order: ERA15OFF