Personal Care Products and Hormones - Why I Switched to Safer

 

Environmental toxins pose a major threat to our health and wellness. The typical products we use day in and day out contain toxins, parabens, and metals that can cause cancer, hormonal disregulation, allergies, and even some disabilities. After years of struggling with hormonal imbalance, despite healthy eating and exercise habits, I made the switch to safer skin and personal care products.

 
 
Emily Morrow Beautycounter.JPG
 

When Eating Organic & Exercise Still Is Not Enough

I always thought I was doing enough by exercising, eating organic foods, and staying away from processed ingredients, artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives, etc. For years I struggled with hormonal imbalance, and after learning that our skin, which happens to be our largest organ, absorbs most of what we put on it, I realized I was not in fact doing enough. Hormones control everything from our mood, to cravings, to metabolism, to weight, to overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

It only takes 26 seconds... 

Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for the chemicals in our personal care products to enter the bloodstream, and of that, 60% is immediately absorbed. However, unlike with what we eat, our skin does not have a digestive system to break down and filter out the unsafe and endocrine disrupting ingredients.

After learning this, I looked up all of my products on the EWG Skindeep Database, an online website that ranks products based on their toxicity score. My supposed "natural" "sulfate-free" and "organic" products ranked in the 6-9 toxicity score range (10 being the worst). It showed me that the products I had been lathering on my skin for years contained ingredients linked to endocrine disruption, disease, allergies and cancer. I was sad, scared, shocked and even mad. I questioned why the United States would allow companies to create products like this.

How do I Find Safe Products?

You can be your own researcher and read the label of every product, or search for it on the EWG Skindeep Database. Both of these take time and sadly, since the EWG is a non profit, not all brands and products are on there. Lucily, there is a company that does the searching, screening and testing for you. Beautycounter is a company based out of Santa Monica, California that creates safer, high performing color cosmetics and personal care products for women and their families that are free from chemicals and toxic ingredients. They are the ONLY company in the country that tests for heavy metals in color cosmetics before, during, and after production. There is also no animal testing, which I love!

I first heard about Beautycounter while listening to a Balanced Bites Podcast. One of my favorite nutrition experts, Liz Wolfe, raved about the mission and advocacy of the company. There is currently little to no regulation in the cosmetic industry in the United States. In fact, a law has not been passed since 1938, allowing companies to continue getting away with adding ingredients like Formaldehyde and Fragrance to products. Beautycounter's mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. This is a mission that I personally knew I could trust and stand behind. 

A Few Skin Care Facts

The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients. The U.S has only banned 30 to date.

This is where Beautycounter sets a new health and safety standard:

  • Beautycounter has banned more than 1,500 ingredients, all while ensuring that their products are as indulgent as any cleanser, luxe shampoo, lipstick or oil in the market.

  • Beautycounter created a never list that consits of ingredients to avoid and ingredients that will never show up in any of their products.

  • Beautycounter has developed a rigorous ingredient screening process, looking for data on skin irritation, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, and more.

  • Every single Beautycounter product is rated between 0-2 on EWG’s Skindeep Database, an amazing go-to resource for testing your products’ safety.

 
Emily Morrow The Never List Beautycounter.jpg
 Beauty By Earth Self Tanner && Beautycounter Charcoal Bar + No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask

Beauty By Earth Self Tanner && Beautycounter Charcoal Bar + No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask

 

Beautycounter's leadership team is equally as impressive. Chief Artistic Officer, Christy Coleman, is a fashion and celebrity makeup artist in Los Angeles for top models and celebrities like Heidi Klum, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr, Emmy Rossum, Amanda Peet, and Connie Britton. 

After learning about Beautycounter, I wanted to test the products' performance. I was a gal who always used Nars and other name-brand companies, but I was desperate to find safer products that would not interfere with my health or hormones. My first purchase consisted of the charcoal bar, nourishing cream cleanser, no. 1 brightening facial oil, countermatch adaptive moisture lotion and dew skin. After only a few weeks, the lingering acne that had been on my chin for years cleared up, I had various sunspots that faded, and my skin had a new sort of glow to it for the first time in my life. I started getting compliments on my makeup-free, bare skin, and let me tell you, that felt good!

The charcoal bar also got rid of those annoying bumps on the backs of my arms. Once I also started noticing changes in my mood, sleep and overall happiness, I knew there had to be a correlation between the skin and personal care products we use and our health. Just three months into using Beautycounter and safer products, my hormones reregulated and cycle returned after going six years without one. 

 
 Photo Credit: Lauren from 34 Magnolia Street

Photo Credit: Lauren from 34 Magnolia Street

 

Unfortunately, we can not control the air we breathe nor the chemicals in our environment; however, we can control the food we eat, lifestyle we live and products we use. If we can limit our exposure to toxins, why not do just that? I've listed other ways to reduce your exposure below. 

Simple Ways You Can Reduce Your Exposure to Toxic Chemicals:

  • Use safer beauty and personal care products; my favorites are Beautycounter, Beauty By Earth and Cocokind.

  • Replace househould plastic with glass; I use these glass containers.

  • Cook with safe, cco-friendly materials; I absolutely love Vesuvio's Ceramic Pans because they are Ceramic, PTFE-free, cadmium-free, and lead-free and oven safe up to 450 degrees F; I have both the 9.5 inch and 11 inch Nonstick Frying Pans and the 3 Quart Ceramic Coated Nonstick Sauce Pan is on my wishlist. Cast Iron & Stainless Steel are also great options.

  • Drink filtered water; I own the Berkey water filter and it is amazing.

  • Throw away toxic cleaning products in your home. I use Branch Basics because they offer a safe, pure and non-toxic plant based concentrate that makes an all purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, foaming hand wash and streak free glass cleaner. I also use their oxygen boost to remove stains and keep my laundry fresh.

  • Eat an organic, plant-based diet that limits or avoids conventional dairy and meat products, gluten, soy, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and refined sugar.

  • Limit caffeine consumption. Coffee is very acidic and increases our stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol will actually tell the body to store fat. I personally opt for matcha and use this recipe to supply a steady supply of caffeine and to lower the cortisol response.

Beautycounter aligned with my core values, so I joined their mission and now work as an independent consultant. I never ever want to make people feel like they need to buy something; but instead simply seek to educate others about safer skincare. You can find my current Beautycounter regimen  here. If you're interested in trying Beautycounter, joining our mission, or have questions about what products will work best for your skin type, feel free to email me via my contact page and I will be in touch! 

Xo, Em

Below is an amazing 2.5 minute video that I highly recommend watching and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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