Hidden Dangers: Before grabbing a bottle of your best body lotion to soothe that dry winter skin, take a moment to check the label. Just like so many other personal care products, moisturizers, balms and lotions can contain some seriously dangerous chemicals – from cancer-causing agents and endocrine disruptors to toxins that cause allergies and reproductive disorders. There’s more to choosing your lotion than its scent and feel: the skin is a living, permeable organ (meaning it absorbs what it comes in contact with). When lotion is applied, its chemicals are soaked in by the skin and transferred to the blood stream. Once your bloodstream is filled with these toxins, they can cause damage to the tissues, organs and cells – leading to a wide range of health issues.
What you should avoid: The most common toxin added to body lotion is “fragrance.” Instead of being derived from natural essential oils, these fragrances are chemical-based. They are known to cause allergies and to be toxic to the organ systems. The next ingredient to avoid is DMDM hydantoin, which is a derivative of the formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. And much like DMDM, BHT is also a common lotion additive that causes cancer. BHT also leads to reproductive and developmental disorders. Next up, avoid triethanolamine and parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and benzylparaben). This family of chemicals causes biochemical or cellular level changes, which lead to cancer, and disrupt normal endocrine function. Finally, avoid PEG and retinyl palmitate (vitamin A palmitate).
Avoid: Fragrance, DMDM hydantoin, BHT, triethanolamine, parabens, PEG, retinyl palmitate
Here’s what to do: Head over to your bathroom cabinet and start tossing your conventional brands of lotion. Most contain the toxic chemicals mentioned above, so invest in a natural version instead. Non-toxic lotions are typically made with healing oils such as coconut, cacao or shea, and essential oils that are natural antioxidants and antibacterial agents. They not only soften and restore moisture to the skin, but also offer protection against infection and damage from the environmental elements.
TCM Picks: See some of our favorite picks below. A DIY kinda girl? Make your own using this simple, easy-to-follow guide here.