Part VI: BODY CARE – SOAP, BATH OIL, SHAVING, EYE CARE, TOOTHPASTE and GREEN TIPS
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There are many beauty and body care products competing in the market. According to the World Wildlife Fund, chemicals commonly found in beauty and body care products have contaminated the environment. These are classified as:
1. Chemicals that break down slowly or not at all, which accumulate in the bodies of people and wildlife;
2. Chemicals called Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), which interfere with the hormone systems of animal and humans;
3. Chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive problems, or damage DNA.
These chemicals are used in a variety of products such as phthalates, acryloamide, formaldehyde, and ethylene oxide which have been found to act as carcinogens or reproductive toxins.
In Europe, laws were passed against cancer, mutation, and birth defect-causing chemicals. In California, a Safe Cosmetics Bill was passed which forces companies to notify the state when using chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. In the Philippines, cosmetics are monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.
Awareness is the key factor to reduce pollution and health hazards in our homes. The Eco-Living Handbook recommends:
1. Checking the website of World Wildlife Fund which is also the proponent for ‘Earth Hour’, and Women’s Environmental Network which can give you a toxic tour;
2. Checking the Skin Deep database which gives safety information of 25,000 body care products at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. This will also show companies that have signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics;
3. Being aware of every ingredient in beauty products before we buy them. Many chemicals are not manifested in the list of ingredients. Below are some trivia and tips to help you the next time you buy beauty products:
a. The term ‘parfum’ includes byproducts of chemicals produced while undergoing manufacturing process;
b. If in doubt, choose a product with the least ingredients;
c. Choose a beauty product with essential oil instead of fragrance;
d. Avoid products with preservatives, colorants, emulsifiers, and detergents. Buy organic products. Beware of some products that use the term ‘natural’ loosely. Some countries allow this despite the use of minimal natural ingredients in the product;
e. Anti-bacteria ingredients make the user immune to bacteria after long usage;
f. Choose plant-based products rather than petroleum-based products. Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum oil;
g. UV absorber is a chemical protecting another chemical from fading from sunlight.
It is enlightening to know that there are natural and unprocessed products that are helpful to the skin. Here are some Beauty and Body care Green Tips:
A. Use organic soaps or choose one with neither color nor fragrance;
B. Choose bar soap over liquid soap. Save leftover soap by putting it in a container with water. You can use this to clean cemented areas around the house and the pet area;
C. Use Gugo scrub. Gugo is a bark from the Philippine Gogo tree. It was used as shampoo, body soap and laundry soap by our ancestors. Since it is a bark, it can be used as exfoliant. You can use it as an exfoliant after using the Gugo as shampoo. (Click here for more information.)
D. From D-I-Y love.blogspot.com:
1. Milk sponge bath –
a. Chilled milk can be applied everyday as mild exfoliant for both the face and body;
b. Chilled milk can be applied every other day with the use of face towel;
c. Lemon may also be added to lighten the color of the skin and scars. Just
let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
2. Banana peel
To make pores look smaller, apply the inner portion of the banana peel on skin
and leave for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not rub.
E. Ginger Bath Ginger tea is serves as detox and soothes aches and pains, relieve colds, fever, and menstrual cramps.
II. Bath Oil – before or during bath
A. Do-it-Yourself Breath of Mint Oil. You can make your own oil out of Peppermint and Spearmint or herbs of your desire. (Click here for instructions.)
B. Do-it-Yourself Citro-Mint Oil which mixes Citronella, Peppermint and Spearmint together. You may also opt to just make Citronella oil. (Click here for more information.)
C. If you have an available essential oil, you can mix it with cup of olive oil or whatever oil you have available.
– Choose organic corn flour or cornstarch powder.
– Choose plant-based shaving cream or old-fashioned soap and water. The aerosol propellant is a pollutant inside your home.
– The skin, hair, nails, oil and sweat glands are called Integumentary System. The best food for this system are avocados, sea vegetables, cucumbers, apples, carrots, brown or red rice, sprouts, and pineapples.
VI. Herbs for youthful skin are Aloe Vera, Dokudami and Ashitaba because of their anti-aging properties. (Visit www.herbalandherbs.com for more information.)
A. Aloe Vera can be made into the following:
1. Syrup gel with honey;
2. Be applied to skin directly;
3. Aloe Vera rinse is a simple preparation which makes the skin smooth and the hair manageable. (Click here for more information.)
B. Dokudami can be eaten raw. It serves as an antioxidant and anti-aging, prevents anaphylactic shock (allergic reaction to medicines) and relieves nose congestion and respiratory system.
C. Ashitaba is eaten raw. It is an antioxidant, all the while being anti-cancer and anti-aging.
We cannot avoid processed body and beauty products, but we can aim to live green by being aware of their ingredients, and exert more diligence to make our own beauty products.
We will be featuring Hair Products in our next’ Its Twice or More Polluted Inside Homes’ chapter. Stay tuned!
The Urban Farmer
The Urban Farmer
Callard, S. and Millis, D. (2009) The eco-living handbook pp. 138 – 148, London, UK: Cartlon Books Ltd.
Handa, P. (1998) Speaking of skin care, pp. 7 -8, New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Ltd.
Jensen, B. (1993) Foods that heal, p. 62, New York, USA: Avery Publishing Corp.