The Stink FactorPosted: September 25, 2013
When you get Breast Cancer, all of a sudden you are besieged with information about how the skin care products that you’ve used all of your life are no longer safe to use. It is all so confusing. If you look at the lists of the super green – organic-bloggers, nothing is safe. You should just lock yourself in a closet with Baking Soda and Coconut oil and never come out.
I’ve posted before about my needing to find a non-aluminum deodorant which resulted in the Tom’s of Maine peeling fire pits from hell. To update you, I let the peeling go down and then switched to Crystal Essence with Chamomile and White Tea. That didn’t result in fire pits but did start to make my skin peel again. I ditched that one too.
The second evil I face now: Parabens
I’m not one to hop onto a panic “don’t use this” bandwagon, but I heard enough bad stuff that I looked into it.
Parabens: A quick overview
These little devils are in almost everything that you put on your body: shampoos, conditioners, face soaps and lotions, body lotions, makeup, you name it. For most people, these aren’t an issue but for BC patients that have hormone positive markers, we have to stay away. BC treatment for hormone + includes medicine that basically shuts down estrogen receptors which the cancer feeds off of. Parabens mimic estrogen and can be absorbed into your system through the skin. There was a study in 2012 that took tissue from hormone+ breast cancer tissue and almost all of them contained high levels of parabens.
So, I have to stay away.
Do you know that items without parabens don’t smell good? Some of them are unscented but some of them just smell foul. I have wash my hands fifty times to get the excess off. blech.
This is my new vs old regime:
New: Straight, Unrefined Virgin Organic Coconut Oil.
Old: Dove – baby powder scent
Review: This stuff works great. I poured some of the Coconut Oil in the jar into a tupperware that I keep in the bathroom. You just rub in into your pits like you would a lotion on your legs. It keeps the skin nice and soft and I’ve had no “odor” issues at all. You do have to let it dry before you put on your clothes. Bonus is that there is no white residue.
New: Burt’s Bees “GUD” product line
Old: Anything on sale
Review: It’s just been a few days but I think it will work out. The products are $6 a piece which is EXCELLENT . I’ve seen other paraben free stuff that was $17 a piece. The shampoo doesn’t lather up like you might expect but that is because there are no lathery chemicals present. The conditioner doesn’t feel like it is conditioning but after I blow dry my hair, it’s soft.
New: Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap in Tea-Tree
Old: Anything that smelled good or was very moisturizing (Dove, LUSH, etc…)
Review: I had tried Dr. Bronner’s years ago but I bought the Almond version which smells great in the bottle but not so much on me. It also doesn’t lather much. I gave it a whirl again (it has 18 uses) and bought the tea tree version. Tea Tree oil is a great, natural anti-bacterial agent and with all of the cuts and scrapes I get (thank you kitty cat!) I need the help. I’ve heard that regular anti-bacterial soap is too harsh so this seemed like a nice compromise. Plus! No parabens or odd chemicals. I’m definitely going to stick with Dr. Bronners.
New: Burts Bees Baby Bee lotion
Old: I had a few, Jergens, Ultra Bond, Suave (all Parabens!)
Review: My skin is super dry and I put it on my legs this morning. They still feel really smooth and happy. This is one of the products that totally smells foul. Once it is rubbed into your skin, you can’t smell it but DO NOT get up close and personal with it when you first pump it into your hands. So Gross. It’s good enough that I will finish the bottle (12 oz) but I will probably switch to a different Burt’s Bees product when I run out.
Face Soap & Lotion:
New: Dr. Bronner’s Mild-Baby bar soap, Boots Organics Witchhazel toner, Boots organics day cream, Clinique eye cream. At night, I use coconut oil for my night cream.
Old: Clinique 3-step system, Boots Sensitive Skin wash, toner and cream.
Review: I love the Dr. Bronner soap – I feel like I finally get my face squeaky clean without it drying out too much. The Witchhazel toner is something I’ve had for a while but it works great. The day cream I’m on the fence about. It does a pretty good job and I will finish the jar but I might go to a Burts bees product (same price). The Clinique eye cream is chock full of parabens but I love it and it was expensive and I’m finishing the jar. So there. The coconut oil at night was something to get used to. A little goes a long way and even if you just barely cover your skin it will feel oily. Thing is, I’ve had no breakouts. I’m seeing some positive changes in my skin.
Cuticle cream: LUSH’s Lemony Flutter. It does have a mild paraben in it called Limonene but that is because of the natural lemon in it. (Fruits have parabens. Nothing is safe! AAAAAAH!) This is the best stuff ever! It works great as a cuticle cream but you can use it anywhere you have rough skin (Elbows! Knees!)
Makeup: I started using Bareminerals a month or so ago and I love it! I was excited to read that it isn’t on the “do not use” list. I use the powder and not the liquid foundation they have now. I also use the blush. For lipstick/gloss, I use LUSH emotional brilliance in Perpective. (both Paraben and Petroleum free) My mascara is also from LUSH and it contains parabens but they claim to use 1/2 the normal amount. It’s the only mascara that actually works for me so I’m keeping it. My eyeshadow is covergirl which is probably not great but I don’t have the $$ to switch over to bareminerals.
Powder: I use a non-talc product from LUSH called “Silky Underwear.” It’s made from cornstarch and cocoa butter and it is amazing. A little goes a long way with this as well so even though it is expensive it will last ages.
In addition to the deodorant, I did have some other misses:
1. Using Dr. Bronner Tea Tree Castile soap as a shampoo. It is listed as one of the 18 things you can do with their magic soap and my hair is pretty resiliant so I gave it a try. Not a good idea. It did a good job of stripping all the build up from previous shampoos but it also stripped all the moisture from my hair. It felt really dry and horrible. They say you can follow up with an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse but I decided to just buy a new shampoo.
2. Using Coconut Oil as a hair conditioner. My plan was to use the Dr. Bronners as a shampoo and Coconut Oil as the conditioner. People have reported that this works well for them. This did not work well for me. I used the tiniest amount (less than a teaspoon) and rubbed it through my hair and my hair got incredibly heavy and wouldn’t do ANYTHING! I couldn’t even get it to dry completely. Let’s just say I only went on errands where I could use a drive through. The next day it took me two regular shampoos to get it all out. GROSS!
So that’s what I’ve been doing. If you have any suggestions, put them in the comments!
Apparently Coconut Oil is the baking powder of oils and can do just about anything (google it).
I’m just never putting it in my hair again.