Toxic Timeout: Isopropyl Alcohol

WHAT IS IT? Walk down the beauty aisle at your local drugstore and chances are, you will see one reoccurring ingredient: Isopropyl alcohol. Commonly used as a disinfectant, isopropyl alcohol can be found in everything from hair dyes and shampoos, to lotions and perfumes, to disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers. What the labels are not telling you is that it is also commonly found in antifreeze, paint thinner and shellac.

HEALTH RISK:  That “rubbing alcohol” in your first aid kit is probably doing more harm than good. Isopropyl alcohol is an irritant of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. When absorbed or inhaled, isopropyl alcohol functions as a central nervous system inebriant – as well as a headache and nausea-inducing depressant. In severe cases, isopropyl alcohol may even cause you to go into a coma. Children are at an even greater risk of developing one or all of these reactions, so be sure to double and triple-check all products that come in contact with your little one!

WHAT TO DO: For an ingredient that is supposed to be keeping you germ-free, harsh isopropyl alcohol sure is inviting in a host of other health hazards. Instead, opt for ingredients like hydrogen peroxide and witch hazel. Hydrogen peroxide is a stable compound that naturally occurs within the body, and is just as effective as cleaning wounds and killing bacteria as its toxic cousin – without all the scary side effects! All-natural Witch Hazel can be applied topically without worry as well. A good rule of thumb: when perusing the beauty aisle, look for the keywords “alcohol free” to ensure you are steering clear of this toxin.

NON-TOXIC ALTERNATIVES TO TRY: We love JASON Natural Cosmetics Everyday Hair Care Natural Biotin Shampoo with Ginseng & Chamomile ($22) for healthy, alcohol-free tresses, and Thayers Alcohol-Free Toner in Lavender Witch Hazel ($30) when it comes to keeping our skin soft and clear. When it comes to germ-free hands, we adore BabyGanics Alchohol Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer ($16) for kids and adults alike!

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