Posted on July 19, 2010
I wear silver jewelry almost exclusively, but it’s a real downer when the oil from my skin tarnishes the metal, leaving it dull and dirty-looking. Recently I realized I hadn’t been wearing a few pieces I own that I really like, and it was just because the tarnish made them less shiny and pretty than they used to be. I knew I could go out and buy some expensive, toxic silver polish to restore my jewelry to its original shininess, but after a little research, I discovered a natural way to get the job done that doesn’t involve toxic chemicals.
So I did a little experiment using a silver necklace my parents brought back from a trip to Alaska a few years ago. I hadn’t worn the necklace in years because it had turned so dull, but after just 15 minutes or so, it’s just like new again! Here’s how I did it: Read more…
Posted on June 23, 2010
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gyuvallos/71410563/
Summer makes me happy. I love going swimming, watching baseball, and not wearing socks for four months. But if there’s one thing about summer that bugs me, it’s … well, bugs. Not only are mosquito bites itchy and painful, they’re also dangerous. Going outside, especially into a wooded area, with no insect repellent is not an option.
But insect repellents, as you can imagine, are neither eco-friendly nor particularly good for you. Many are made with DEET, which is highly effective in warding off pests but not something you want swimming around in your bloodstream, which is exactly where it ends up after you spray it on your skin. Fortunately, for those who want to protect their health by avoiding both bug bites and chemical-based insect repellents, there are all kinds of do-it-yourself recipes for natural bug sprays. Read more…
Posted on June 2, 2010
Memorial Day is now behind us, which means it’s officially beach season. We’ve all been told over and over again how important it is to wear sunscreen when you’re out in the sun for any length of time, but did you know that instances of skin cancer have gone up since sunscreen was invented? It’s true — because sunscreen is not a free pass for a day of fun in the sun. It’ll keep you from getting burned, but it won’t prevent skin cancer.
However, the sun may not be the only thing to worry about on bright summer days — research shows that sunscreen itself may actually cause skin cancer. Remember, sunscreen is a chemical that you rub directly onto your skin, and about half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products contain vitamin A that directly contributes to malignant cell growth. Read more…
Posted on April 28, 2010
Did you know that most brands of makeup and skin care products contain toxic ingredients that can cause cancer, reproductive problems, disruption of the endocrine system, allergies, and a whole mess of other nasty problems? It’s true. All it takes is a little experimenting with the Cosmetic Safety Database to see how many parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and other icky ingredients are found in the beauty products you see in corner drugstores. Cosmetics are not as heavily regulated in the United States as they are in Europe, which means if you care about your health, you should be careful and read those labels before rubbing anything on your skin.
Fortunately, there are some responsible and eco-friendly beauty experts out there who are producing makeup and skin care lines that are safe and make us beautiful. One such beauty expert is Ava Anderson, who has launched a non-toxic skin care line that scores a big fat zero in the Cosmetic Safety Database’s toxicity scale. That means nearly every one of her products is completely safe for everyday use, so your skin can be healthy and glowing without the use of nasty chemicals.
Oh, and did I mention that Ava is only 15 years old? That’s right — this high-schooler recognized the need for non-toxic beauty products and did something about it. I can say with absolute certainty that I was nowhere near that cool when I was 15. (Heck, I’m still not that cool.) Read more…
Posted on February 11, 2010
All that hysteria over H1N1 seems to have died down the past few months, but we’re still in the midst of cold and flu season. I know this because I managed to catch myself one. A cold, that is. Or possibly bronchitis. Or maybe the pneumonic plague. I’m kidding. I’ve consulted Dr. Google, and I’m pretty sure it’s not the plague, though I may have to wait a few days to be certain. Meanwhile, I’m sipping fluids and bonding with my couch and wishing I had picked up the little bottle of CleanWell hand sanitizer I recently bought a week or so earlier than I did.
Hand sanitizers have gotten a bum rap the past couple years, for partly good reasons. Read more…
Posted on December 17, 2009
It’s no secret that environmental awareness has finally gone mainstream. One area where this is increasingly apparent is green cleaning products. In the past year or two, my local big box retailers have moved the Seventh Generation cleaners out of what my Rush Limbaugh-loving father would consider the “hippie foods” section and incorporated them alongside their popular-since-the-Hoover-administration counterparts in the heart of the store. Not wanting to be left out, familiar brands like Clorox have started selling new products sporting new labels that tout a commitment to natural ingredients and enviro-friendliness. And while these changes are, of course, a sign of progress, the modern world has made me a bit of a cynic, so I can’t help eyeing them with a dose of skepticism.
My wariness is warranted. With so many companies jumping on the green bandwagon, how can we separate the real thing from the green sheen?
Posted on March 30, 2009
You wouldn’t scrub your child down with formaldehyde, right? Unfortunately, you might be without even knowing it.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the results of a study on personal care products for kids, and the results were upsetting: Read more…
Posted on March 1, 2009
Could your sweetener of choice be contaminating tap water? Read more…
Posted on September 22, 2008
Since I’m busy getting ready for my format change, please check out the following article, which I originally posted on BlogHer.
I’m a label reader. I am that person in the grocery store or pharmacy who stands there in the aisle, dazed look on her face, as she studies the tiny writing on the backs of jars and boxes. I’m the person who peels back the little sticker at the bottom of a tub of concealer or on the side of a lipstick to see the listed ingredients. At least 75% of the time, the item I’m studying ends up back on the shelf.
We assume that if it’s on the shelf in the grocery store it’s safe, but there are few specific safety standards for personal care products. The FDA is involved in products that fall into the “drug” category of personal care, like toothpaste or sunscreen. When you see a listing for “active ingredient,” that usually means the product is classified as a drug, and is then subject to FDA scrutiny. But the FDA has no authority over products intended for cosmetic use. Personal care product manufacturers are responsible for their own safety testing, which is a little like asking the fox to mind the hen house. Read more…