There are many resources for learning about natural healing methods, and many voices out there trying to assert what is best for you and what is not. Unfortunately I've found that a huge majority of the sources out there are trying to make money off of you, no matter the cost (ironically) to your health and well-being. I created JP Holistic Therapy to help people make their own best decisions about what goes in and on their bodies, and to empower people to truly ADD VALUE to their lives. Fortunately, more and more people are getting the message that they can promote well-being by minimizing toxicity, and that toxicity itself comes in many forms. But there is still a lot of conflicting information from a lot of sources and it can be hard to parse out what's really true and what's just advertising. relevant for you and your family. That's why I wanted to write this brief piece to highlight the work of an amazing nonprofit organization that I have relied on for years in my personal life for critical information about chemical toxicities, and I hope you will consider using them as well.
They are called the Environmental Working Group. They do a lot of great work on many different causes, but they have one amazing database in particular called "Skin Deep." It contains descriptions of TENS OF THOUSANDS of products that are meant for contact with the skin, including creams, washes, hand sanitizers, and cosmetics. It lists the chemical ingredients in these products, classifies them according to whether and how they are toxic, i.e. - which body systems it affects and how, and ranks the product and/or ingredient on an easy-to-use scale of 0-10 (0 being least toxic and 10 being most).
For example, Blistex Simple Essentials Lip Balm is given a score of 8 on this scale, in part because it contains oxybenzone, a known disruptor of hormone signalling and the endocrine system that also produces increases in reactive oxygen species (those molecules that in large numbers cause damage to DNA and have been associated with a huge range of illnesses). Every ingredient in Blistex is included on the product listing and given a rank, from oxybenzone (7) to "flavor" (ranked 4 for its ambiguous chemical origins) to calendula extract (ranked 0, being of truly natural origin). If you click on the ingredient, you will be taken to another page within Skin Deep that describes the ingredient, what it's used for, the scientific basis for the ranking, and links to published studies about the ingredient (there are over 10,000 studies on oxybenzone ALONE) should you be interested in reading more.
So how do you use this information? Bookmark the Skin Deep database on your browser. When you are out shopping and curious about an ingredient that you don't understand (or, in the case of many products out there - cannot even pronounce!), you can pull out your phone and enter the product name OR the ingredient in question directly into the search bar on the Skin Deep homepage, and you will have your answer about toxicity. If you don't like the number you see, don't get the product. If you do like it, do get it! It's that simple. The Skin Deep database is FREE to everyone. It's a great, simple way to obtain quick and reliable access to the information you want and need to protect your health and the health of your family.
Here is the link to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database: www.ewg.org/skindeep.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Note: I do not work for the Environmental Working Group and received no inducement to share this database. I just know a good resource when I see one, and want to share it with you - especially when it's free!
James L Poole
I am a holistic health therapist: Emmett Technique practitioner, aromatherapist, nutritional therapist, and Reiki healer. This is my blog about natural healing.