Top Six Toxic Products to Swap Out First
To truly reclaim your health, it is imperative to reduce the amount of toxins you are exposing yourself to every day. These changes need to be a daily way of life, not an aggressive 'miracle quick-fix detox cleanse.'
This guide is intended to help you start to swap out some of the most toxic products lurking in your everyday routine. Eliminating the harmful hormone disruptors that cause imbalances in thyroid and sex hormones can make all the difference in your healing as well as preventing future hormone and autoimmune issues as well as cancer.
Most people find that the toughest and most time- consuming part when learning how to live a less toxic lifestyle is learning and implementation. Instead of viewing this process as a 'chore', I encourage you to view it as 'empowering personal growth'! Knowledge is power, and to truly regain control over your health, you must learn how to decrease your daily exposure to toxins.
So many clients I have worked with want to switch to non toxic products, but are hesitant as they fear they will be sacrificing performance. I used to feel the same way and wasted so much money on natural products that did not perform. I hope that by sharing what has worked for me and my clients, I will save you time, money, and frustration searching for high performing, non-toxic products that perform as well or better than your old favorites!
Before digging into it, an important disclosure:
Some of these resources contain affiliate links, but rest assured they are all from companies I personally use, recommend and trust. There is no additional cost you, and in fact, often times when you use my link, you will save money with my exclusive discounts and coupons. Please trust that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they perform well, use clean ingredients and aren't toxic or harmful; not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Let's get into it!
What we put on our skin might be an even greater risk for toxin exposure than what we put in our mouths!
The Federal Drug Administration has not passed a major federal law regulating the personal care industry since 1938. In nearly a century, thousands upon thousands of harmful chemicals have been created in labs and through GMO practices.
The average woman uses 12 products on her skin daily, which can contain 168 different chemicals – most of them with little to no safety testing and many of them with proven harmful effects such as immunotoxicity, hormonal imbalance, reproductive/fetal harm, infertility, PCOS, autoimmunity, and cancer 1.
Here are some of the most common and toxic chemicals in personal care products that have been proven to be absorbed through the skin and detected in breast milk, urine, and plasma 2 3.
• Parabens; endocrine and reproductive hormone disruptors. 4
• Phthalates; reproductive and endocrine disruptors, linked to breast cancer (often hidden in the word 'fragrance'). 5 6
• Triclosan; linked to bacterial resistance, endocrine disruption. Several studies have shown triclosan to adversely affect thyroid and reproductive function in rats as well as cancer. 7 8
• Fragrance; While this is not a chemical, this ingredient is an industry loophole that allows companies to hide chemicals within this 'ingredient'! Often, a product can even claim "phthalate-free" but hide the phthalates in the word "Fragrance/Parfum." In fact, up to 72% of products with Fragrance include phthalates9!
This is not an exhaustive list of harmful chemicals in skincare products, just a few of the worst offenders that have been studied extensively. There are hundreds of other chemicals that have been proven to be harmful, and many other.
Unfortunately only 11 chemicals have been banned in personal care products the US, in the EU 1300 have been banned!
My favourite skincare and cosmetic brand, Beautycounter, has banned 1,800 questionable or harmful chemicals in their products. Their strict ingredient screening (from source to finished product), contaminant and heavy metal testing, and commitment to only using ingredients they feel confident will not harm humans, animals, or environmental health is bar none. AND their products perform as good as or better than my old high end favourite products from Sephora and Clinique. If you are ready to clean up your skincare routine I highly recommend giving Beautycounters products a try! Their products cost about the same as other high-end brands, but I find I save money overall as they are very effective so they last forever. AND they have a 60 day return policy (best I have seen anywhere) so there is no money wasted being stuck with product that’s not a good fit.
Need help? Click here to get your personalized skincare and cosmetics routine
The cosmetics/makeup industry is as loosely regulated as the personal care products industry. The toxic chemicals discussed above in skincare, including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and that pesky 'fragrance' ingredient are also found in cosmetics, along with additional chemicals, including heavy metals.
Cosmetics often contains heavy metals, particularly natural makeup due to mining practices and contamination - especially with mineral makeup mined from the earth. Heavy metals are linked to autoimmune disease, central nervous system dysfunction, Alzheimer's, anemia, and a plethora of scary health issues and are known human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. 10 11 12
In all kinds of color cosmetics, heavy metal contamination has been discovered. You won't see heavy metals on an ingredient list because they are not added intentionally, they just tag along with the pretty colors.
Heavy metal contamination is yet another reason why it is so important to purchase cosmetics from transparent companies with rigorous standards who perform third party testing on every batch of raw materials they receive.
Beautycounter is one of the cleanest beauty brands on the market and the only makeup company I have found that tests for heavy metals – let alone TRIPLE tests for them in every single batch. I find it empowering each day I'm applying my lipgloss or foundation that I know (and not just am guessing) my makeup was tested this stringently.
Their products perform better than any other clean cosmetic brand I have tried and perform as well or better than my old toxic favourite cosmetics from MAC, Clinique and Sephora!
Click here to clean up your cosmetics routine
Need help? Click here to get your personalized skincare and cosmetics routine
One of the biggest potential offenders in your bathroom is your deodorant!
Deodorants and anti-perspirants are cocktails of many different chemicals that are endocrine and reproductive hormone disruptors and linked to Alzeimers disease, breast cancer, heavy metal toxicity, and thyroid function.
Some toxins that are in the majority of conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants include;
• Parabens (endocrine and reproductive hormone disruptors)
• Aluminum (linked to Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer and heavy metal toxicity)
• Propylene glycol (a synthetic chemical solvent)
• Phthalates (reproductive and endocrine disruptors, linked to breast cancer)
• Triclosan (linked to bacterial resistance, endocrine disruption. Several studies have shown triclosan to adversely affect thyroid and reproductive function in rats)
We put it on every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and we apply it to our underarms. Our axillary lymph nodes can be found in this area of our body. Other lymph nodes can be found in the groin and in the neck. They are part of our larger lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering and draining fluids, bacteria, and toxins as well as acting as an important part of our immune system. The lymphatic system is incredibly important in preventing autoimmune diseases!!
Deodorant is always a tough one to get my clients on board with switching, mostly because they have tried natural deodorants and anti-perspirants that did not work for them! For many people the risk of toxic exposure does not outweigh the risk of smelling like a caveman every single day. I felt the same before I found a non-toxic deodorant that actually works!
Well actually I found three natural deodorants that actually work; Soapwalla, Routine, and Primally Pure. However, both Soapwalla and Routine have to be applied with your fingers, which can get a bit messy and inconvenient, I don't find they work as well as Primally Pure and they are more expensive. So for me, Primally Pure all the way!
Get 10% off your entire first order with code 'Autoimmune10'
Conventional sunscreen chemicals are a group of chemicals found in the majority of drugstore sunscreen, in SPF makeup and tinted moisturizer. Chemical sunscreens are linked to molecular mimicry of the female and male reproductive hormones 13.
An FDA-led study released in January 2020 suggests we should all choose sunscreen with caution 14. According to the new study findings, "Chemical sunscreen ingredients are systemically absorbed after one application, and some ingredients can stay in the blood for at least 3 weeks."
All six active ingredients tested readily absorbed into the bloodstream of humans in the study — and at concentrations that surpass an important FDA safety threshold. The sunscreen chemicals tested include, Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octinoxate. Two of these chemicals have been studied extensively and have been proven to disrupt hormones;
• Oxybenzone (linked to endometriosis, complications during pregnancy, alterations in birth weight and low sperm count in males in human studies 15)
• Octinoxate (proven hormone-like activity; effects reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies 16)
And in addition to these toxic chemicals that are getting absorbed into our bloodstreams and effecting our hormones, about half of the beach and sport sunscreens sold in the U.S. that EWG analyzed would not be allowed on the market in Europe due to inadequate protection against UVA rays!
The EWG also cautions against sunscreens with vitamin A. One study by U.S. government scientists says retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A) could speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight 17.
The good news is there are many safe and effective product options out there, you just need to know what to look for. And it isn't always obvious.
Look at the Neutrogena sunscreen pictured here – Sensitive Skin. Pure. Fragrance Free. 100% naturally sourced ingredients. #1 Dermatologist recommended.
It has to be safe, right? Wrong. This sunscreen has a rating of 10 on the EWG Skin Deep Database. The WORST possible rating.
Unfortunately, these words are no guarantee for safety. Because there are so many loopholes in US federal law, cosmetic and personal care companies can claim all the good words they want on their products without proper regulation.
Instead, opt for mineral sunscreen made with non-nano zinc oxide (I recommend non-nano so that particles of zinc oxide are not inhaled or absorbed into the skin) or titanium dioxide.
Finding a safe sunscreen that doesn't go on super thick and leave skin white is the next challenge! I used Badger for years but it definitely made my skin feel sticky and left a white (almost purpleish) hue… but I kept using it because my priority was healing my hormones!
After I discovered Beautycounters formula I fell in love immediately. It rubs in like a dream and leaves skin feeling silky and soft and not looking like a ghost!
Also, Beautycounters formula is more effective for anti-aging and skin cancer than many other mineral sunscreens as it also blocks Blue Light rays (in addition to UVA and UVB). The sunscreen is available in a Mist, Stick or Lotion!
click here to clean up your sunscreen and slow down the aging of your skin
Household Cleaners and Laundry Detergent
Ideally, our homes should be our sanctuary, a safe retreat from the outside world. However, modern-day homes can, unfortunately, contain a plethora of toxins, many of which have a significant impact on our health!
Most of us are doing some form of cleaning every day, and if we're still using conventional products, we're exposing ourselves to chronic respiratory irritants, allergens, carcinogens, and endocrine toxins.
Similar to the EWG Skin Deep Database, which you can use to look up your skincare and beauty products, the EWG also has a Healthy Living Home Guide on choosing better-for-you cleaning products and air fresheners. You can also search their database of over 2,500 cleaning products to find out how yours rank.
Here are some of the most toxic ingredients hiding in your cleaning products to watch out for;
• Fragrance: This high hazard ingredient disguises thousands of undisclosed and untested chemicals, including Phthalates linked to cancer, endocrine disruption as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity 18 (we will go more in-depth on Fragrance later in this guide).
• Triclosan: an antibacterial agent that has been linked to decreased thyroid hormone in animal studies as well as increased resistance to antibiotics/"superbugs." 19
• Ethanolamine: strongly linked to respiratory toxicity 20.
• Chlorine Bleach: a respiratory irritant, allergen, and potentially deadly toxin in the presence of ethyl alcohol (i.e., NEVER mix chlorine bleach with alcohol) 21.
• Ammonia: combined with bleach, it can be a lethal respiratory irritant 22.
NOTE: Many Lysol products are ranked an "F" - highest hazard - by EWG. If you're still using this brand, I recommend ditching it as soon as possible for a safer alternative!
"Greenwashing" is a big problem in the cleaning products industry. It refers to the marketing industry's slippery tendency to use words, colors, and images that mislead consumers to believe their products are "healthy." More often than not, a brand that "looks clean" (especially if they offer conventional alternatives) is not. Mrs. Meyers brand is a good example of 'green cleaning product' greenwashing.
I have literally spent hours in the 'organic' cleaning isle at the grocery store looking up the ratings of various 'clean' products before I discovered Branch Basics! Their products rank all 'A's and 'B's with the EWG, they are super efficient, and very economical!
When I found their Branch Basics User Guide, I knew I found the fragrance-free cleaning product I was looking for. We use Branch Basics to wash everything from our hands to to our clothes, bathrooms, clothes, carpets, windows, and kitchen!
Here's how Branch Basics works:
1. You receive a large bottle of The Concentrate and empty, refillable bottles for All-Purpose Cleaner, Glass Cleaner, Laundry Detergent, Foaming Hand Wash, and Bathroom Cleaner. You'll also get a container of Oxygen Boost Powder to brighten your laundry, remove stains and also sprinkle on stained bathroom tile grout.
2. Fill the bottles with the marked amount of concentrate and water, and off you go! When your bottle is low, refill it again with your concentrate and water!
3. Think of all the plastic cleaning product bottles you'll save by refilling the same ones over and over again!
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"Fragrance" is known as the new second hand smoke! It is a generic term many of us don't give much thought to ... it sounds good, right? What could be wrong with something that smells like apple pie or Christmas? But those fragrances can be incredibly detrimental to our health.
Fragrance/Parfum is an industry loophole term that can mean thousands (over 3,000 specifically) of harmful or untested ingredients are lurking in just that ONE ingredient on the label 23. Fragrance is ranked as an 8/10 High Hazard on the EWG Skin Deep Database!
Often, a product can even claim "phthalate-free" but hide the phthalates in the word "Fragrance/Parfum." Up to 72% of products with Fragrance include phthalates 24. Phthalates, discussed above in skincare, cosmetics and household cleaners are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, ADHD, diabetes, and more.
Here are just a few other examples of ingredients allowed to hideout in the "fragrance" ingredient. Remember, over 3000 chemicals are hiding in the word "fragrance"!
• Phthalates: strongly linked to endocrine and reproductive toxicity especially in young and pre-pubescent children 25
• BHT: a preservative linked to cancer, allergies, and reproductive harm, often Phthalates hide in this ingredient
• Parabens: strongly linked to endocrine and reproductive toxicity 26
• Styrene: A known cancer-causing human carcinogen found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, as well as cleaning products and cosmetic sprays 27!
• Formaldehyde: A known human carcinogen and respiratory toxicant that has been banned in toiletries in Japan and Sweden 28
• Oxybenzone: Toxic to liver cells, accumulates in blood, kidneys, and liver 29.
• Synthetic musks: (Musk Ketone, Musk Xylene): Carcinogenic/tumor-forming links. Builds up in fat deposits, breast milk, and newborns cord blood. banned in other countries,
Air Fresheners (sprays/sticks, etc.) and wall plugins are some of the worst offenders. Nearly all Febreze and Airwick products rank as a D or F (worst possible rating!) with the EWG and fancy air freshening sticks (the type that sits in the scented liquid that gets flipped around to increase the scent) are some of the worst offenders! Trash them immediately and diffuse high-quality essential oils instead!
Nearly all scented candles contain toxic ingredients hidden in the word 'Fragrance' (hint: that Apple Cherry Blossom candle does not have apples or cherry blossoms in it)! Instead, use high-quality unscented candles or LED candles and diffuse your essential oils for that scent you are after!
If you want to freshen the air, I suggest diffusing REVIVE's 'Breathe Air' essential oil in their 'Oasis Ultrasonic Diffuser, Mist Humidifier, And Ionizer'. In addition to it being an excellent diffuser, the Ionizer produces "happy feeling" negative ions that help lift your mood, relieve stress, and strengthen your immune system.
I am a huge essential oil advocate, but it is important to know that not all essential oils are created equally. Sadly, most essential oils are synthetic and adulterated. There is currently no government agency that is responsible for certifying the quality of Essential Oils.
This lack of regulation is why it is crucial to only purchase oils from transparent companies who are doing 3rd party testing for every batch of their oils and posting the results on their website. This is the only way to ensure their oils are 100% pure therapeutic grade, free from any additives, adulterants, fillers, synthetics, or dilutions.
Quality essential oils can be extremely expensive, making it impossible for some people to reap their benefits. Essential oils from aromatherapy industry leaders doTERRA and Young Living are extremely expensive, and to purchase their oils at 'wholesale,' you must become a member and purchase a starter kit (even at 'wholesale' pricing these oils are still not affordable for many).
I was thrilled when REVIVE Essential Oils joined the essential oils market, offering affordable prices for the same quality oils as doTERRA and Young Living, without the need to purchase an expensive starter kit or minimum monthly purchases. It makes me so happy that more people can afford the benefits of essential oils that are of the highest quality.
How do we know they are of the highest quality? Every lot of every REVIVE Essential Oil is independent, 3rd Party Tested & Certified for Quality, Purity, & Potency by Essential Oil Expert, Dr. Pappas. Dr. Pappas is a Ph.D. Chemist, has been testing Essential Oils since 1996, and previously worked for doTERRA and Young Living testing the quality, purity, and potency of their oils.
You wouldn't sit in a car full of second-hand smoke and take deep breaths, would you? No, because you know better. Now that you know the truth about Fragrance, take that knowledge and choose safer!
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Hi, I’m Chelsea Lye, CNP!
I’m a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, AIP Coach and Yoga teacher showing you how to balance your hormones and reverse autoimmunity naturally.
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