How to tell if a product is natural

By: ShaRhonda Muluzi 

November 21, 2010
Products advertised as “natural” and “safe” does not guarantee that the product you buy is really safe. Despite claims like “gentle” and “pure”, dozens of top- selling bath products are contaminated with cancer-causing substances. These cancer-causing chemicals are also referred to as carcinogens.  One non-profit US organization, hired an independent laboratory to test 48 kids products and two contaminants linked to cancer and skin allergies were found: formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane (also called dioxane).  The laboratory test revealed that 61% contained both contaminates, 69% contained Dioxane and 82% contained formaldehydes.  
An online report “No More Toxic Tub”, was generated to reveal its findings by this non-profit organization, and released on March 12, 2009. Among those products found to contain both formaldehydes and dioxane are Johnnson and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.  As a result of these findings, a major Chinese supermarket pulled baby shampoo made by health care giant Johnson & Johnson from its shelves.
Formaldehydes and Dioxane are anything but safe. The IARC has classified formaldehydes as a human cancer- causing substance. Sweden and Japan banned formaldehyde in cosmetics and toiletries.  Dioxane, is a by-product containment used to make suds in such products as baby body washes and shampoos. This chemical is a probable human carcinogen that readily penetrates the skin and because of multiple exposure in a single bath ( i.e. body wash, shampoo and bubble bath), is a cause for concern. 
There is no federal law, to stop companies from putting almost any ingredient they choose into their products. They can claim their products are natural and gentle even when they contain artificial harsh skin irritants.  Is the product really natural?   Many times, companies’ products only contain a tiny percentage of “natural” ingredients in the products and the rest of the product is filled with synthetically produced ingredients.  Also, the “all natural” ingredients are extracted in such a way that the wondrous benefits that these natural ingredients boast to contain are lessened. That is they are  extracted using toxic chemical solvents and chemically refined.  Many products are scented with fragrance oils, these are synthetic.  Research shows, fragrance oils have been found in the breast of many women.  So, how can you tell if a product is natural? Here is what I recommend:  Check for the following:
1.       Does it contain chemicals?  You can visit www.safecosmetics.org and type in the ingredient.   It can give you information about the product.
2.       Check in ingredients listed on the back. Many times ingredients are listed from highest to lowest.
3.       If the product says the ingredients are cold-processed, it means the ingredients are extracted without chemical solvents and are not chemically refined. This means the ingredient is pure and you can enjoy the wondrous benefits of those ingredients.
4.       Is the product only scented with essential oils?
Many handcrafted soaps are created using only 100% natural ingredients.   Mami Creations makes soap using the oils that are extracted without any solvents and are pure. These soaps boast a generous amount of one natural’s best skin smoothing emollients, unrefined Shea Butter and carefully crafted to create a mild soap that cleanses wonderfully.  They are scented with essential oils that offer various benefits. 
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A Story Behind Coconut Soap

About two weeks after my twins were born, I was bathing my daughters and it was a sunny afternoon. I noticed small bumps on their faces and backs. I called their pedestrian’s nurse and she warned me that the ingredients in most of the best baby lotions, body washes and shampoos. She advised me to try Dove soap and Aveeno baby lotion. After hearing this I immediately packaged up the many baby body washes, lotions and shampoos I had and set them aside.

That day I purchased some dove soap and Aveeno lotion. After a couple of days I noticed the small bumps on their bodies were still not going away. I convinced by self that I was going to wait at least a week before making any decisions about the new combination.A week had gone by with no improvements. I became concerned and worried as most first time moms. I searched the internet for hours looking for possible reasons babies develop bumps. I read as many articles and postings as I could find from other moms experiencing the same problem. According to most paediatricians babies normally develop skin conditions due to many reasons but largely because of: allergies, sensitive skin, clothing fabric and heat. I also tried several ideas proposed. I even bathed the twins in water only every other day. I was convinced my daughters had sensitive skin.Not knowing was torture for me. It was not good enough. I asked myself the question; but why? What ingredients are in the so claimed soap for sensitive skin that caused such reactions? I started my journey only to research the effects of the ingredients on the body and chemical compositions of these products. The truth was scary and prompted me for change in the products that I will use on my girls.


The story is continued on my next posting.
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