There has been a flurry of news attention recently on the potential dangers of toxic ingredients in personal care products. Certain ingredients have been linked to respiratory conditions, endocrine disruption, and even cancer. Avoiding potentially harmful additives can be challenging as products often contain long lists of chemicals that can be hard to decipher. I often encourage my patients to start by avoiding phthalates. Phthalates help lotions to penetrate skin and help synthetic fragrances to last longer. Unfortunately, they also disrupt hormones and have been linked to PMS, infertility, and breast cancer. Phthalates are not usually listed in the ingredients but whenever you see fragrance, perfume, or parfum you can assume they are present. That means choosing non-scented products and those scented with essential oils.
Avoiding phthalates is a great start. Other ingredients to watch out for include parabens, triclosan, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Environmental Defence Canada has put together a pocket shopping guide of Toxic Ten Ingredients as part of their Just Beautiful campaign that you can download from justbeautiful.ca. You can also visit lesstoxicguide.ca for lists of non-toxic products that you can find in Nova Scotia.