mindfully crafted soap & body care
Mountain Girl Botanics
 

Why Natural Soap?

Your skin is your largest organ and it readily absorbs at least a little of anything you put on it. Absorbs...meaning, allows some molecules to pass into your blood stream. It is precisely why trans-dermal medication patches work so effectively.

Chances are if you are an average consumer, you use at least 10 cosmetic or body care products a day. And like many consumers, you may believe that our government, namely the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures the safety of the ingredients in your products. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, there is no safety testing required for any cosmetics. The only policing the cosmetic industry receives is through itself.


Chemical Free Cosmetics

In June 2004, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer watchdog, initiated a project called Skin Deep. This report found that nearly one-third of cosmetic products contained at least one ingredient linked with cancer AND of the 10,500 ingredients used in cosmetics only about 11% have ever been tested for safety. This leaves plenty of room for toxic ingredients to make their way into your body and ultimately into our environment.

Finding truly natural, chemical free cosmetics can be difficult and time consuming. Reading labels and cross referencing ingredients with a reputable cosmetics safety database is a good start to determining what you are putting on your body, but consumers are often unaware that the FDA does not require cosmetics manufacturers to fully disclose all ingredients in a product. Companies that are committed to fully disclosing ingredients are more likely to formulate chemical free cosmetics. Reducing and eliminating exposure to known toxic chemicals in cosmetics is the best way to reduce your chemical body burden and get on the road to a natural beauty routine using only chemical free cosmetics.


Reducing Your Chemical Burden:
Good For You and Your Environment

So...what is a consumer to do? These materials are ubiquitous in commercial cosmetics and body care products. By making consumer choices to avoid purchasing and using products which contain chemicals such as these and choosing truly natural products, you can protect yourself AND your environment. These chemicals are not only environmentally harsh to manufacture but also contain certain contaminants (in the cosmetic world, namely those in chemical sunscreens and synthetic fragrances) that are so heavily used in our eco-system that they become bioaccumulative and biopersistent. That means that you can find them even in "clean" treated drinking water supplies. In addition, numerous studies show that as we wash these contaminants down the drain or flush them into the toilet, they wreak havoc on the hormonal systems of wildlife, for example feminizing the reproductive systems of males in a population.

"The fact that pharmaceuticals and body care products (PCCPs) can be introduced on a continual basis to the aquatic environment via treated and untreated sewage essentially imparts a quality of 'persistence' to compounds that otherwise may not possess any inherent environmental stability -- simply because their removal/transformation (by biodegradation, hydrolysis, photolysis, etc.) is continually countered by their replenishment, establishing a pseudo-steady-state in a manner analogous to a bacterial chemostat." 1

Want to reduce your personal toxic burden but can't wean yourself completely? Consider simply reducing the number of products you use or reducing the frequency with which you use them. Start slowly, read labels and pick your battles if going cold turkey seems a task.


In the Bath

Begin by replacing those products which remain on your skin for an extended period of time (like lotions and creams) or those which you may accidentally ingest (like lipstick or toothpaste) with truly natural cosmetics and natural body care. Try our natural sugar scrub. Our natural massage oils are perfect moisturizers. Consider using baking soda for teeth brushing and purchasing a beeswax and vegetable oil based lip conditioner free of sunscreen if you will be indoors.

Use a sunscreen only when you have to be in the sun for more than 15-30 minutes. First and foremost, avoid the sun completely at midday. Second, use your clothes, sunglasses and a hat or umbrella to protect your skin. When you will be in the sun for an extended period, choose a mineral based sunblock (look for one that does not contain nanoparticles) over those with bio-persistent chemicals such as oxybenzone or octyl methoxycinnamate. Re-applying products after 2 hours or after swimming is also important as further cell damage can occur from formation of free radicals on the skin as the chemicals are absorbed.

Wash your hair less often and let the natural oils in your scalp do their job to help condition the hair. Use a natural bristle brush daily to distribute the oils.

Our natural soaps can also double as shampoos. Try shampooing less often and using a baking soda and water paste at least every other time in the shower. When paired with a pre-"shampoo" hot oil treatment and post "shampoo" herbal vinegar rinse, you can often do without conventional shampoo and conditioner. Some hair types do well with just a dab of avocado, coconut or jojoba oil for static-frizz control.

Our natural sugar scrub and natural salt scrub make excellent pre-shave conditioners. No need for petroleum based shaving cream.

Replace worn out linens with organic and natural fibers: try our organic cotton washcloths and organic hemp washcloths.

Replace your vinyl shower curtain with organic cotton or hemp cloth. It is washable, reusable and hemp is naturally antimicrobial. Who wants to inhale PVC's and phthalates while in the shower?


In the Home

Most surfaces can be cleaned with vinegar and/or baking soda. Mountain Girl Botanics EcoSprinkle is a versatile cleaning product with the benefits of pure essential oils.

Forget about those synthetic fragrances in room and body sprays. Our Essential Spritz Natural Body Spray contains pure essential oils blended for aromatherapeutic purposes.

Try an old fashioned liquid castile soap with a little borax as an all purpose cleaner and mopping solution. Watch for the development of our line of liquid soaps.

Try vinegar wiped off with newspaper for cleaning glass and mirrors.

Lemon juice and sun will take out many stains.

Hydrogen peroxide will disinfect many surfaces as well as help fade stains.


In a nutshell, if the ingredients list takes up half of the bottle and you can't pronounce most of the ingredients, maybe you shouldn't be putting it on your body. Something to think about the next time you reach for a bottle of your favorite body care product...exactly what is in it?

 

Resource sites for this article and for further thoughts:

www.epa.gov

http://www.chemicalbodyburden.org/

www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep

http://www.iarc.fr/index.html

www.safecosmetics.org

www.cir-safety.org

http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/index.cfm

http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/sccp/documents/out188_en.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/

http://www.preventcancer.com/

http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov/index.cfm?objectid=32BA9724-F1F6-975E-7FCE50709CB4C932

http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/qendoc.asp

http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/new_issues/endocrine_disruptors/en/index.html

 

1 Excerpt from "PPCPs as Environmental Pollutants Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Overarching Issues and Overview" by Christian G. Daughton, Chief, Environmental Chemistry Branch, ESD/NERL, Office of Research and Development, Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/esd/chemistry/pharma/book-summary.htm

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