Tuesday, December 28, 2010

another link to substances we should avoid in our skin care products...includes parabens & fragrance

So great to see these types of articles coming out.

I'll add it again...laundry detergent is part of our skin care products...
our face is on a pillow case for up to 1/3 of our day [if we're lucky!].
I didn't fix my face rashes around my eyes until I got rid of the old laundry detergent...and... the changeover also, over the months, got rid of skin creases, little veins, hormonal lumps, cherry spots and I don't need a moisturiser. The change is incredible!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

parabens banned from cosmetics in Japan and Sweden

Here's a site that talks about 6 of the common "nasties" commonly found in cosmetics, and mentions where they're banned. http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/six-makeup-chemicals-avoid
The list of products that contain parabens is enormous...almost everything that can be put on the skin will have some type of paraben. Although there are other nasty chemicals in cosmetics, for me I narrowed it down to parabens that were causing the rash around my eyes[ late last year].An important additional fact that I want to add here is that these same chemicals are included in laundry detergents.
This may not sound important, but from my own personal experience, I know that residues are left in fabrics - and you're resting your face and body against the fabrics for maybe 8 hours of sleep - and then surround your body with clothes for the rest of the day. The exposure adds up to 24/7!! It wasn't until I started using castille soap as a laundry detergent that the rash on my face disappeared - and remember...it can't contain "fragrance." [the industry's buzz word for including anything they want without telling you what it is].


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Parabens - why you should avoid them

...don't even be fooled by "natural" or "organic"...we have to read for everything. And remember, if it lists "fragrance," don't go near it, because that's where the producer can hide all the nasties [see blog below].
I enjoyed looking around this site today, and in particular the way they talk about methyl paraben.
...but first, a photo....



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Carcinogens & hormone disruptors in "everything" for the skin and hair : a link to a HuffingtonPost editorial

It's 7 months after my discoveries about how soaps and laundry detergent were causing my veins, "age spots" and wrinkles, and how shampoo and conditioner were causing my hair to fall out.
...and I'm amazed and so pleased that it all seems to be hitting the main stream media now!! Yeh!


...Although this editorial doesn't mention methyl parabens in the list at the beginning of the article.

Parabens are in "everything" and are known endocrine disruptors, and have been found in breast cancer tumors.
Here's what I replaced everything with [including household cleaners]...Dr Bronner's Pure Castile Soap...and it does a better job on the stove top than the special cooktop cream cleanser did !!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What is in the smell ??

Be wary of anything that lists fragrance as an ingredient.

It's the legal way of putting nasty things into the cosmetics or soap without telling you what it is....so everything might read well...organic, green, plant extracts, etc, but if the word fragrance is there on the list, the ingredients are proprietary, and are likely to contain parabens .
Here's a link to an amazing site for finding out what's in our cosmetics [and a cute picture to cheer you up before you go there...]
I'll introduce you to it by copying in an email letter I received from Ken Cook of the EWG organization. EWG does fantastic work.

Dear vicki,
Read our fragrance report!Fragrances are designed to make you smell good, but is that all they are doing? In a recently released study of 17 name-brand fragrances co-authored by EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, we found that they contain secret ingredients, chemicals not listed on the label, with troubling hazardous properties.
We found 38 unlisted chemicals in our testing. The average fragrance tested contained 14 secret chemicals. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the industry's own safety panel.
Click here to see how many secret chemicals popular fragrances like Chanel Coco and Old Spice contain.
In 1973 Congress passed the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The law, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels, specifically exempts fragrances. Since then, the vague word "fragrance" is all you'll find on the label. If there's anything to be grateful for in this, "fragrance" is a recognizable word that is easily avoided by label readers.
The FDA has not assessed the vast majority of these secret fragrance chemicals for safety when used in spray-on personal care products such as fragrances. Most have not even been evaluated by the safety review panel of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) or any other publicly accountable institution.
Of the chemicals that have been tested, there isn't a lot of good news. The vague term "fragrance" covers chemicals that can be linked to reproductive damage, hormone disruption, and can trigger allergic reactions.
Click here to found out about the health effects of chemicals in fragrances.
Fragrances may be designed to make you smell better and feel good about yourself, but here at EWG we don't know how you can feel good when you don't know what you are putting on your body. We hope this new report will help you make better-informed choices about your fragrances.

Ken Cook

Friday, May 21, 2010

Throwing all my cosmetics and soaps out...the long story...

I threw  out............................
makeup                  shampoo                 conditioner          moisturizer           hand soap
laundry detergent   dish washing soap    toothpaste           cuticle cream 

...and replaced it all with what you see in the photos [doesn't include one lipstick and an eyeliner pencil].
Why? It's not a quick story.
It all started so innocently...some weeping in the outer corners of my eyes led to a tiny rash on the outer corner of the RIGHT eye...pink, moist and stingy. Nothing to worry about!
Hung around for a few days, some days worse than others, but then it crossed over to the outer corner of the LEFT eye and it got to be a bit of a problem to wear eyeshadow. I've never worn much makeup....a bit of eyeshadow, lipstick and moisturizer.

Then the rashes got bigger...every day they were different...the size and which eye. I'd go to the mirror in the morning wondering what had happened overnight. I worried - this had been going on for 3-4 weeks - so I googled "rashes around eyes," and this led me to the contents of makeup, and in particular, methyl paraben.
As days of research went by, I also explored "staph around eyes" and "shingles around eyes" - I was really getting worried!!! I got my husband involved at this stage , finally admitting that I had an out of control situation - and he's a great online researcher.

I frantically thought back to what I'd changed in the weeks leading up to the rash...I'd gone from Revlon makeup to MAC makeup, and I'd bought a duck feather pillow. I stopped using both...then I went out and bought some l'oreal hypoallergenic eyeshadow. WRONG! The first day I put it on, I had to frantically drive home to wash it off - the skin around my eyes was burning! Scary. By coincidence I had an appt. with a dermatologist [to measure skin lesions]...so I asked, "What's this?" The answer was contact dermatitis of unknown cause [that's usual], and a 3 month dose of tetracycline MIGHT fix it.
That declaration put me into overdrive.
That very day I dropped into my local Chinese accupuncturist, Dr Ou,
I went home with a paper bag full of twigs, leaves, and things - boiled it for an hour - put it in the fridge - dabbed it around my eyes whenever the burning sensation came. The instructions from Dr Ou were :
  • don't scratch it!
  • go completely natural
  • you have to work out what's causing it - it won't be one thing - it'll be a combination of things that aren't right for you 
Back on line....research, research, research... What else does my head/face have contact with??  Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, toothpaste !! I pulled everything out, and assembled it all in the kitchen next to the computer [and a magnifying glass to read the labels].
Everything had methyl paraben in it [closely followed by anti freeze or ethanol glycol]. 
This was the beginning of throwing everything out. Strangely, I'd bought a bottle of Dr Wood's Castile Soap & Shea Butter a few months ago, thinking that I'd use it in the bathroom to wash my hands. I read the label carefully - it had nothing suspicious in it - not even "fragrance" which I'd discovered is the word companies use to cover their patented fragrance ingredients, most of which contain...methyl paraben! 
So...I used Dr Woods as a soap and shampoo. Meanwhile, still researching skin health, I came across a lot of references to apple cider vinegar. People were getting some success with rinsing there hair with diluted ACV, and using it to dab on skin irritations. The one to get seemed to be Dr Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar, which had the "mother" in it - the slimy stuff at the bottom - shake the bottle each time so that what you use has some of this in it. What I found out is that shampoos and conditioners are generally alkaline [neutral is a pH of 7.0]....and that the scalp is naturally 4.5 - 5.5 [slightly acidic]. My logic for including the ACV is that it makes sense to keep the skin at its natural pH...and that this allows the skins natural bacteria and fungus to thrive [parabens kill bacteria & fungus].
I also bought a stack of white cotton cloths so that I could use a clean cloth each day - at this stage I didn't know if what I had could be spread around the face.
So... I'd come up with a hair washing strategy...Dr woods castile soap followed by Dr Braggs apple cider vinegar [use a 75 water : 25 vinegar solution and a plastic squeeze bottle].
SURPRISE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
My hair didn't fall out!!!! I was not expecting this !!! I was just trying to fix the rashes around my eyes by making sure nothing with parabens came in contact with them !!
Actually, it was too surprising to believe...for years my hair had been coming out in the shower...clumps just dropping out and ending up on the shower floor. So I didn't jump to conclusions. Surely this was just a coincidence...but over the next month, my hair never fell out in bulk again...and my hair was softer and felt and looked thicker. It's 4 months later as I write this, and there's short hair growing back and sticking out everywhere [I'm not complaining!!].
But the rashes were still coming and going. As Dr Ou said, "it's a combination of things...you have to work out what it is."
So...think, think, think...and then one morning I woke up thinking, "What else is my face in contact with a lot ?????...What else is there???" There were no creams or potions left to get rid of.
And then the mightiest moment of the whole story...
I raced out of bed, pulled out the laundry detergent...list of ingredients not there - opened up computer - googled ingredients of...and here it is. No wonder they hadn't put the ingredients on the packaging !! Note the infamous "Fragrance" that can contain paraben.
  • Ingredients By Type
  • Ingredients By Prominence
  • Ingredients A-Z
  • Safety
Ingredients by Type Roll over the ingredients to learn more



  • Borax
  • Citric Acid
  • Diethylenetriamine Pentaacetate (Sodium Salt)


  • LiquitintTM Blue


  • Amylase
  • Mannanase
  • Pectinase
  • Protease


  • Fragrance

Optical Brightener

  • Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate
  • Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate

pH Adjustment

  • Sodium Hydroxide


  • Diquaternium Ethoxy Sulfate
  • Polyethyleneimine Ethoxylate

Process Aid

  • Calcium Formate
  • Diethylene Glycol
  • Dimethicone
  • Ethanol
  • Ethanolamine
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Cumene Sulfonate
  • Sodium Formate
  • Water


  • Alcohol Ethoxylate
  • Alcoholethoxy Sulfate
  • Laureth-9
  • Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
  • Sodium Fatty Acids
There are many details that I noticed over the next few months...the main point I want to make though, is that the rashes and spots and flaky skin move around the face. Each morning I'd look in the mirror, wondering what was there. If you pull yourself off parabens, be prepared to see all sorts of strange skin things...my theory is that the body is goes through an elimination of the parabens....fighting them off...and 5 months later my skin is smoother with less wrinkles [arms, legs, hands, face...the works].
The other ingredient that stands out for me is the anti-freeze [ethylene glycol and propylene glycol]. Paraben and anti-freeze are OFTEN in products together.
Read on for the BIZARRE  sorts of changes that occurred in the post-laundry detergent days:

MAR 14  -  scaly on outer edges of eyes - red spots on the inner eye area and between the eyes - tingling - tightness + + all over the face - red spot under right eye
MAR 15  -  red dots inner corner of eyes - strange large red blotches on my cheeks in the evening

MAR 16
same red spots - tightness - burning on outer Rt eye
Washed sheets, pillow case, towels, facecloths in Dr Woods  - this is the turning point!

MAR 17
face the best it's been - swollen Lt internal corner, but not red!!
MAR 18  -  pots clean easier! - top of stove is easier to clean - glass table top has no film on it!!
VERY CLEAR SKIN - FIRST DAY IN MONTHS WITHOUT RED SPOTS OR RASHES ON MY FACE! YEH11 -  and Chuck just discovered methyl paraben in his chamois creme [male cyclists use it] - is this why bikers have a higher rate of testicular cancer ??
MAR 19 my whole nose has gone red - red area by right ear - skin on the ears is flaking - lots of red dots around the top of the nose - they're different from the original redness/rashes - very small and brighter red - cheeks have lost their redness
MAR 21  - suddenly noticed  a lot of the "red spotties" on my arms were gone and others were fading into brown [1/16th - 1/8th " slightly raised spots like little collections of blood -  vessels - Chuck has them as well] - I'd had lots of them!
MAR 22  - swelling on inside of left eye [had it for 3-4 years] is going down - I suddenly noticed my facial hair is shorter !! [parabens are an endocrine disruptor] - tops of my hands are flaking really badly 
MAR 31  - the raised red spots on my legs and back are going away!! - elbows are suddenly smooth - lines along my smile line are disappearing

move forward to MAY 21
  • face smoother, less lines, don't need moisturizer
  • bump/lump on chin [approx. 6 years] disappeared last week
  • swelling inner left eye [approx 3 years] gone 2 weeks ago
  • red spots on arms, lower legs and back gone
  • red spots on upper legs starting to fade
  • small spider veins on upper legs disappearing in last few weeks
  • red spots on abdomen & chest - fading
  • thicker hair on the head
  • shorter hair on the face
  • hands smoother, less wrinkles
  • lips less dry
Here are a couple of sites you can go to to read about parabens ...





...found these 2 articles just yesterday [may 22, 2010].
Info on "fragrance" disclosures [ie. the ingredients NOT disclosed] :


...and a finding about contaminants in laundry detergent :


A picture to cheer us up...

...Ciao !!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shampoo and conditioner caused my hair to fall out

I discovered this by accident!!

My hair had been falling out in big doses for years - I'd watched it collect in the bathtub whenever I washed my hair while I was showering [daily shower, hair shampoo every 4-5 days]
It had crossed my mind "my hair falls out when I wash it," but I also thought "that's ridiculous."
so....after having an eye rash for a month and realizing that the makeup with paraben in it was causing the problem, it occurred to me that my shampoo and conditioner were also close to my eyes...and guess what...in microscopic print on the labels... parabens and anti freeze !!! [ethylene glycol or propylene glycol in its "non-toxic" form ]...so I stopped using them immediately. 
I had a bottle of Dr Woods Shea Vision Castile Soap [just soap, shea butter and herbs], and hesitantly used it...don't know what I thought it was going to do that was scary!
I couldn't believe what I DIDN'T see in the bathtub...HAIR.
This was too good to be true!!!
It took a month of my hair NOT FALLING OUT before I confidently declared what I now know [3 months later]...
that my shampoo and conditioner had been causing my hair to fall out. Id' tried numerous brands over the last 10 years or more...from cheap to expensive.
Also....the hair was suddenly thicker and softer [I've got straight, fine hair, so every bit of body counts].

Some google research revealed that not only do shampoos and conditioners contain parabens [usually methyl paraben], but they're also alkaline, with a pH over the neutral level of 7.
Turns out our scalp is slightly acidic [pH 4.5 - 5.5], so I figured that this also didn't help matters, so to aid my scalp back to normal, I added some acidity.
After more research, Apple Cider Vinegar was what turned up. I dilute a few tbsp. of Bragg Organic ACV with a cup of water, and pour it over my scalp after the shampoo.
Note...when I use Dr Woods Castile Soap with shea butter, I don't even need a conditioner...the comb goes straight through...no more knots...you're set to go!
Sometimes I'll cut a sprig of rosemary - pour boiling water over it - cool it - and use that as a scalp rinse instead of the vinegar. You can add sage to the rosemary as well for extra scalp health.
Discovering all of this was a very exciting side effect from fixing the rashes around my eyes.

So...experiment with alternatives to conventional shampoos...but you have to read the labels...organic and natural in big print don't count - and you'll need your glasses or a magnifying glass to do this. Especially watch out for any parabens or anti-freeze [ethylene glycol or propylene glycol in its "non-toxic" form].
Also watch out for "fragrance," as this is "proprietary" info, and so the manufacturer doesn't have to tell you the ingredients of the fragrance [and parabens are often used in them.
...and some advice I picked up in amongst my google searches...if you can't say it, don't use it [or eat it!!]...Ciao!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laundry detergent caused my red spots, dry skin and rashes

It was about 2 months after rashes appeared around my eyes  - I'd got rid of conventional makeup, shampoo and conditioner BUT the rashes, although smaller, still came and went. Just when I thought an eye was better, the rash would move or small, red dots would appear somewhere around the eyes.
WHAT COULD BE DOING THIS ??                               
I woke up one morning and went...Da Dah!!!...
  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Facecloths
I raced down to the laundry...what was in the laundry detergent?? To no avail. I had to go on line to search for the real list of ingredients. Parabens and anti-freeze!! again!! So I washed EVERYTHING...in a castile soap/herb concoction...I was getting desperate.
This is when I started jotting down notes about my skin
...and the day after sleeping on the sheets washed in Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, I wrote,
Slept on "clean" sheets - swollen inner corner of Lt. eye - but not red - face best it's been.
Two months later, as I write this, I can tell you that every day, since changing laundry detergent to a castile soap, my face, and all of my skin, improves.
...And there have been BIG surprises
  • lines on the face around the eyes have flattened - the skin goes through a flaky stage then flattens out!
  • tiny red spots on my arms, legs and torso are DISAPPEARING ! I thought they were from age or martinis [They're very small, slightly raised - like collections of little blood vessels].
  • 1/4" itchy flaky spot on Rt. hand for 3-4 years is GOING AWAY! This was identified as an age spot by a dermatologist, so I'm not exaggerating when I say my skin is getting younger!!
  • dry skin on legs, hands and face is going. It went through an even drier phase for days, but now it's better than it's been for years.
    So initially, after the withdrawal from conventional detergent, the skin seems to get slightly worse - a bit itchy, very, very dry, and scaly - and then over the weeks and months, the skin gets replaced with smooth skin. IT'S AS THOUGH THE RESIDUE FROM THE LAUNDRY DETERGENT in your clothes, sheets and towels ACTUALLY GETS "UNDER YOUR SKIN" and takes time for your body to eliminate it. Amazing!!!...and NOT good...and something really weird...my cheeks don't go pink anymore when I have a martini. I'm pretty sure I'm going to continue to see changes in my skin. Will add postings as I observe changes...Ciao