Like most consumers you probably brush your teeth every day. You also probably use shampoo and conditioner when you shower, and perhaps you frequently apply moisturizing lotion to your face and skin. And it’s likely you use deodorants, cosmetics lotions and other personal care items on a regular basis.

Most people don’t think much about these products, the ingredients they contain, and the possibility that some of them might pose a threat to your health. The truth is that while most of us assume that personal care items commonly found in our bathrooms and kitchens are basically safe, many of them in fact contain various chemical ingredients sown to be harmful to human health.

A common cosmetic ingredient called diethanolamine, DEA, had carcinogenic or cancer causing activity when applied to the skin. It can be found in products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, sunscreens, soaps and cosmetics. It is easily absorbed into the skin and accumulates in the organs with toxic results.
DEA is just one of an estimated 125 ingredients formulated inot our home and personal care products that are suspected of being potentially dangerous or hazardous to our health. A 2009 study of teenage girls found cancer-causing chemicals from cosmetics from four major groups – phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks were identified including chemicals linked to hormone disruption.
DEA has been linked to cancers of liver, kidneys, stomach and esophagus. A 2006 study from the University of North Caroline also found potential danger from DEA in fetal brain development and miscarriage risk.

Another toxic chemical being used in our shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions and toothpastes is Propylene Glycol which is also a primary ingredient in antifreeze. Propylene Glycol is a humectant which mean that it retains moisture and prevents things from drying out. It is used in soft and chewy pet food, and when used in cosmetics and lotions it makes the skin feel moist and soft. Also found in baby wipes and some processed foods.

Propylene Glycol has been implicated in contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities; can inhibit skin cell growth in human tests and can damage cell membranes causing dry skin, rashes and skin surface damage. It may be harmful by inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption, and may cause eye irritation, skin irritation, gastrointestinal disturbances, nausea, headache, and vomiting, central nervous system depression.

And then we have Sodium Lauryl Sufate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) which can be found in products even touted as “natural”, “gentle”, or “pure”. It is found in toothpastes, soaps, shampoos and other items we expect to “foam up”.
Why should SLS and SLES be cause for concern? The journal of the American College of Toxicology; Vol. 2 No. 7, 1983 states the following:

• SLS is routinely used in clinical studies to irritate skin tissue
• SLS corrodes hair follicles and impairs hair growth
• Carcinogenic nitrates can form when SLS interacts with other nitrogen-bearing ingredients
• SLS residue can be left in the heart, liver, lungs and brain from skin contact
• SLS denatures protein, impairs proper structural formation of young eyes and may cause permanent damage.
• SLS can damage the immune system and cause skin inflammation or damage

Most children’s bubble baths and shampoos carry a warning for children under the age of 6. Even toothpaste warns that those under the age of 2 should not use toothpaste. It also warns to keep the product our of children’s reach and if swallowed to contact a Poison Control Center immediately. Basically these warnings give the manufacturers the right to put “safe” amounts of ‘poison” in these products.

Talc is another toxin found in many body and baby powders, feminine powders, cosmetics and condoms. It is a dry lubricant that gives the skin the feeling of “slippery” and “smooth”. Talc is chemically similar to asbestos. Doctors have raised questions about talc’s role in the formation of various cancers, particularly ovarian. One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that women who used talcum powder in the genital area had an increased ovarian cancer risk of 60 percent and women who used feminine deodorant sprays had a 90 percent increased risk.

Did you know that mouthwash has higher alcohol content than beer, wine, and many types of liquor? Mouthwashes with an alcohol content of 25 percent or higher has been linked to mouth, tongue and throat cancers.
Aluminum found in processed food, antiperspirants, antacids, cosmetics, paper products, beverage cans, cooking foil and cookware is the third most common element in the environment. Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to aluminum toxicity due to high concentrations being during autopsies or those who had the disease.

Since 1965 more than 4 million distinct chemical compounds have been formulated. At least 250,000 new formations are created annually. Approximately 3,000 chemicals are added to our foods and 700 chemicals have been found in our drinking water, with 400 being identified in human tissues. More than 500 chemicals on average can be found in American Homes. The cosmetic and perfume industries have used over 800 neurotoxic chemical compounds.

It seems we are killing ourselves slowly physically and financially through the use of these products. It is obvious we cannot depend on the FDA to warn us or protect us regarding these ingredients that we are exposed to in our everyday lives. It is up to each of us as individuals to take the responsibility to read labels and make better choices in our products.

When considering options for personal care and household products look for:
• Plant Based which are derived from actual botanicals, not synthesized in a lab to mode nature
• Safe, containing no ingredient that research has shown to have suspected health risks.
• Environmentally Responsible shish use sustainable plant-based ingredients and conservative recyclable packaging and do not conduct animal testing on their products.
• Full Disclosure that adhere to strict labeling guidelines required by the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI)

Companies that adhere to these guidelines will have personal home care products of extreme high quality and will make an immediate improvement in your health and the health of your family.
These healthier products may cost more but you can either pay now or pay later with your health!

If you would like information on the safe, healthy products Young Living
offers, please email me at or go to

Author's Bio: 

Pamela Heyen began her natural health education after regaining her own health through natural remedies and therapies. Her credentials were obtained through Australasian College of Health Sciences (aka: American School of Health Sciences) in Portland, Oregon.
She uses her personal health related experience, combined with her formal training to educate, encourage and support the option to heal with therapeutic grade essential oils.
Pamela offers free educational programs as a speaker for groups, as well as one on one consultation.