Most people don’t think about the harmful ingredients in the products sitting on their bathroom counter. It can’t be that bad if they’re allowed to be sold to us, right? Wrong. The beauty industry is grossly unregulated and unfortunately, a lot of nasty ingredients make it into everyday products like toothpaste and body lotion. These toxic ingredients wouldn’t be such bad news if we didn’t use them every day. But how many times a day do you brush your teeth, or apply some kind of lotion, or antiperspirant? We’re repeatedly applying these toxic chemicals to our skin, causing bio-accumulation. Compounds like parabens, SLS, PFAS, and more are huge hormone disruptors and can cause various adverse health effects including infertility and some types of cancers. Here are 5 toxic-free bathroom essentials you should switch to now.
Did you know the most popular toothpaste in 2019 was Crest 3D White? It raked in 263.9 million in sales just this year alone. Crest and Colgate are the most popular toothpaste brands and they’re also the worse ones for your health. Common toxic ingredients in toothpaste include:
There’s a lot of controversy around fluoride. The FDA says it’s safe to use and ingest, however, toothpaste packaging does contain a warning stating call poison control if too much is ingested. Flouride is in 95% of toothpaste. It’s also in our water. In a vacuum, a bit of fluoride would be ok to ingest, the body would be able to eliminate it and no lasting harm would occur. The problem is, we ingest fluoride every time we brush our teeth and every time we drink water unfiltered water. That adds up. Too much fluoride causes fluorosis, a condition that discolors tooth enamel and affects over 40% of adolescents.
Triclosan is a pesticide. It’s used in toothpaste to reduce or prevent bacteria from forming. In 2017 the FDA banned it as an ingredient in handsoap, however, it’s still allowed in toothpaste, mouthwash, and dish soap. Triclosan has been linked to a decrease in thyroid function, an increase in antibiotic resistance, lowered immunity, and tumor growth.
Artificial colors are used in toothpaste, purely for aesthetics. They serve no benefit when it comes to oral hygiene and the risks are many. Artificial colors in toothpaste, mouthwash, and even food, are have been linked to behavioral issues in children and depression in adults. These synthetic colors are derived from coal tar, you know, the same stuff the road you drive on is made of.
The most common is saccharin, a known carcinogen in rats. While it hasn’t shown tumor growth in humans, why take the risk? I prefer my toothpaste unsweetened anyway. Artificial sweeteners in toothpaste have also been linked to coughing, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Another common artificial sweetener, aspartame, has been determined to be a possible carcinogen.
This is the main active ingredient in antifreeze. Propylene glycol is used as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. It has no real benefit and it’s been linked to toxicity of the central nervous system, liver, and heart.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)
This is an industrial-strength detergent, commonly used as an engine degreaser. SLS is used in toothpaste as a foaming agent. It’s been linked to neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, cancer, endocrine disruption, and is incredibly drying. In my opinion, the risk is not worth the nice foaming action.
Toxic-Free Toothpaste Swaps
Dr. Bronners Toothpaste
Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste is available in 3 natural flavors. They flavor their products with plant-based oils and don’t include any nasty ingredients. I’m partial to Dr. Bronner’s peppermint toothpaste because it’s refreshing and only mildly sweet, thanks to being naturally sweetened with stevia. Additionally, Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste is vegan, cruelty-free, and uses organic ingredients. I also like that the tubes are recyclable. Dr. Bronner’s Toothpaste can be found at most Target stores, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Natural Grocer’s, and Amazon.
Bite Toothpaste Bits
Bite toothpaste bits were created to reduce the number of toxic ingredients we put in our bodies and the earth. Bite bits are little toothpaste tablets you chew on then brush. They come in a recyclable glass jar in order to reduce plastic waste. I love all the natural and simple ingredients they use and how committed the company is to sustainability. Bite bits are also vegan and cruelty-free. Bite toothpaste bits can be found on their website BiteToothpasteBits.com.
2. Teeth Whiteners
The most popular at-home teeth whitening method is whitening strips. Their main ingredient is glue. Technically, it’s called Polyvinylpyrrolidone, or PVP for short. PVP can also be found in batteries, paints, and inks. The second ingredient in whitening strips is PEG-8 which is derived from ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in anti-freeze. PEGs can increase the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer, according to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology. These strips also contain saccharin- a known carcinogen in rats. Some whitening gels contain similar ingredients.
Toxic-Free Teeth Whitener Swap
Charbrite-Organic Activated Charcoal Natural Teeth Whitener
My favorite way to whiten teeth naturally is with activated charcoal. You may be wondering what this is. Activated charcoal is made from charred organic materials like wood, peat, seashells, animal bones, or coconut shells. While some activated charcoal can be animal-based, most are plant-based. I recommend using Charbrite, which is made from organic coconut shells. You’ll be amazed at how effectively it whitens teeth naturally without any burning sensation. It’s great for those with sensitive teeth and gums; it’s also vegan and cruelty-free. Charbrite Organic Activated Charcoal Natural Teeth Whitener is available for purchase on Amazon.
3. Floss/ Floss Picks
Floss and floss picks contain PFAS, which are used for their non-stick properties. PFAS are man-made chemicals used in common everyday products like non-stick (Teflon) pans, paint, food packaging, cleaning products, stain and water repellent fabrics, etc. Why are they harmful? PFAS are endocrine disruptors, meaning they affect the body’s hormone production. They can cause behavioral, learning, and growth issues in children. PFAS have also been associated with numerous adverse health effects such as kidney cancer, testicular cancer, fertility issues, and ulcerative colitis.
Toxic-Free Floss Pick Swap
Humble & Co Floss Picks are free of PFAS and BPAS. They’re made from cornstarch and vegetable-based plastic. I love the double layer floss; it makes my teeth feel extra clean. Humble & Co floss picks are vegan and cruelty-free. Additionally, this brand gives back by providing comprehensive, sustainable preventive oral care to the most vulnerable children across the world. Humble and Co Floss Picks are available at Sprouts, Target and Amazon.
I could talk about the toxic ingredients in deodorants all day long, but I’ll keep this brief. The main toxic ingredients in deodorant are aluminum, parabens, triclosan, propylene glycol, & fragrance. Aluminum in deodorant is also a hot topic. Current data says aluminum doesn’t cause cancer. But is it merely coincidental that aluminum is commonly found in breast tissue cysts? I believe we still don’t fully understand the role of aluminum absorption and we need more data. In the meantime, I don’t think the risk is worth the reward and I advise everyone to steer clear of aluminum deodorants. Current data have linked aluminum to neurotoxicity. Aluminum has also been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. You can read more about the toxic ingredients in this post titled The Best Natural Deodorants | Vegan Deodorant Review.
Toxic-free Deodorant Swaps
I love Native Deodorant for their clean and simple ingredients. Their formulas glide on easy and lasts all day. This deodorant is also vegan and cruelty-free.
Schmidt’s deodorant is another toxic-free alternative. They use clean and simple ingredients like Native. This deodorant is also vegan and cruelty-free. Schmidt’s deodorant can be found at Target, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Costco, and Amazon. Click here for my review of these deodorants.
5. Body Lotion
Body lotions can be incredibly toxic. Thanks to a grossly unregulated industry- body creams, lotions, and moisturizers can contain hundreds of toxic ingredients. Fragrance is among the most cringe-worthy of those ingredients. Since it’s considered a trade secret, fragrance can be listed as just one ingredient on a label, however, it can contain any of 5,000 different chemicals.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis. You may notice certain lotions and cremes irritate your skin and that’s an easy fix, just discontinue using it. But what most people don’t notice are the harmful effects of hormone-disrupting fragrances. That’s right, fragrance is also an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism, and obesity.
Toxic-Free Body Lotion Swaps
Andalou 1,000 Roses Organic Body Lotion uses organic ingredients and leaves out all the toxic stuff. It has a light scent of roses thanks to its plant-derived ingredients. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and unlike other premium body lotions, this one is on the affordable end of the spectrum. This lotion is also vegan and cruelty-free. Andalou 1,000 Roses Organic Body Lotion can be found at Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, and Amazon.