The Nontoxic Mama: Soap and Moisturizer

When I was pregnant with Fallon, I spent an embarrassing amount of time binge watching Netflix documentaries (what else is a girl supposed to do without wine??). I had finished nearly every health-related film available when Netflix recommended The Human Experiment.  This documentary exposes the chemical industry's lackadaisical attitude towards testing and regulating potentially harmful products we use or come in contact with every single day. A saddening light is shed on the blatant disregard for the safety of the citizens of the United States.

I was unsurprisingly enraged and set out to de-toxifiy my life, starting with my beauty and bath products. I devoted countless hours to researching and understanding each questionable chemical and their impact on my health. After tearing through my cupboard and medicine cabinet, I ended up recycling everything but organic tea tree oil.

I was shocked.

We trust our federal leaders and organizations to protect us and keep us safe ... right? It seems perfectly reasonable to expect that the products available to us over-the-counter, that have been approved by government associations and organizations, were evaluated for not only their efficacy, but more importantly, their safety. Unfortunately, this is not our reality. Chemical monopolies and their not-so-subtle ties with government officials greedily dictate the products we can or cannot purchase based on profit, not potential risk.

So, I invite you to take your health into your own hands. I know it's overwhelming and discouraging, but I'm here to answer any questions you may have. We're going to kick off this blog series with my recommendations for face wash, soap, and moisturizer.

If you have sensitive skin, attempting to live a toxin-free life in regards to what you slather on your face is absurdly challenging. I'll be honest; pregnancy and motherhood completely destroyed my complexion. I worked for a dermatologist for several years in college and I desperately wanted to reach for the products filled with parabens, petrolatum, preservatives, and phthalates that I used back in the day.

If I'm going to recommend products solely based on what's is or is not in their list of ingredients, I would recommend two companies: Beautycounter and ACURE. Both companies are devoted to quality ingredients that won't disrupt your delicate hormonal balance or clog your pores. I use Acure's Yummy Baby 4-in-1 wash on Fallon and I LOVE the way it feels and smells and the ingredient list is pleasantly small and completely non-toxic.

I have always used and will continue to use organic cold-pressed coconut oil as a moisturizer for myself and Fallon. Slather it on in the shower for ultimate absorption and to prevent the oily, slick feeling. I also use it as a shaving barrier and if you're not shaving with coconut oil, what the heck are you doing with your life... I digress. I've tried several products from both Beautycounter and Acure and my postpartum skin still had me shying away from the mirror. To be fair, I'm not sure any cleanser or serum can remedy low estrogen, so I will retry the products once I stop breastfeeding and post my results. 

With all of that said, I am currently using the Zero Oil line from Origins. Some ingredients I'm not super satisfied with are: sodium cocoyl sarcosinate (cleansing agent/surfactant), polysorbate 20 (emulsifying agent/surfactant), linalool (deodorant), limonene (scent ingredient/solvent), peg-6 (added to preserve moisture), peg-150 (binder/added to preserve moisture), potassium sorbet (fragrance related/preservative), methylisothiazolinone (synthetic preservative), and methylchloroisothiazolinone (synthetic preservative).

This is a VERY short list of just SOME of the toxins (chemical irritants, hormone-disruptors, eco pollutants, etc.) that can be found in our everyday beauty products... even what we use on our babies. If you're ever curious about a product or what's in it, my go-to site is www.ewg.org/skindeep. They have a huge database of products that are stringently rated by levels of toxicity. You can search the brand, product or individual ingredient. 

If you're a bar soap kind of person, Nubian Heritage is my go-to. BUT, I don't use bar soap on my face. Just my body. I've never had luck with using bar soap on my face - but that's just my experience. Either way, their soaps are a great, nontoxic alternative to your typical big-name competitor.

Bottom Line:

1. Our skin is our body's largest organ. What we wash with, moisturize with, protect with matters. It's a direct line into our bloodstream, so if we slather poison on our skin we're essentially poisoning the very thing that is meant to protect us. 2. I get it. Sometimes the "natural stuff" just does't cut it. Acne and other skin conditions are emotionally-taxing and can snowball into mental dis-ease such as depression and anxiety. If you've exhausted all efforts (i.e. changed your diet, used the most organic, purest products available, etc.), it's OKAY. If you can't achieve the gorgeous, glowing skin you deserve, see a dermatologist and use the damn products they recommend. Your mental health matters too. I was on Accutane in high school - talk about toxic. Everything in moderation, right?

xx
S