Parabens and Phthalates – Part 1

I am a little over 4 years post treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and am considered in remission.  After I finished treatment, I tried to be pretty conscientious about reducing my exposures to toxins in food and beauty products.  I have gotten lackadaisical in these areas over the past few years and recently decided to step up my game.

I started by reading  Anti-Cancer A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schrieber, MD, Ph.D. He makes a pretty compelling scientific case for following an anti-cancer action plan.  Granted, his scientific examples aren’t usually based on randomized control trials, which are regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for scientific research.  But he includes enough small and observational studies to make his case. And a lot of what he says is just common sense!

Today I am going to blog about reducing my exposures to toxins in beauty products, specifically parabens and phthalates. I will talk about nutrition and physical activity in future posts.

Four years ago, there weren’t tons of ‘clean’ products out there.  The world has definitely changed! 

I have spent a fair amount of time asking Dr Google if product x contains parabens or phthalates.  A lot still do, but an increasing number do not.  In one of my recent Berkeley Wellness letters, I learned that manufacturers don’t have to list phthalates. I also learned that if a product is fragranced, it probably has phthalates.

There are lots of ‘clean’ choices out there and here are the one I have landed on for now (and am trying in most cases):

  • Liquid Hand SoapEveryone Hand Soap.
  • Bath soap – Dr. Bronner Baby Unscented Soap bar
  • Lotion and skin care overallDerma e. I have liked this brand for a long time and am using their CBD cleanser, serum and moisturizer.  CBD is calming and my skin needs calming. I also use their Vitamin E unscented lotion. I plan on trying their shampoo and conditioner. Among the things I like about this brand is its affordability and that it can be found at Ulta and Target.
  • Drunk Elephant is another brand that caught my eye and gets great reviews.  It is quite a bit more expensive.  
  • Trader Joe’s doesn’t use parabens or phthalates in their products and I really like their sunscreen.
  • Deodorant – I really like Sanex Zero Percent Normal Skin Roller, but it is out of stock.
  • Hair color – I think hair coloring might be a bit dicey. But it seems like my Clairol Natural Instincts is fairly ‘clean’.
  • Make-up – this category also has a lot of choices.  I have used Tarte and Bare Minerals off and on over the years and both are fine.  I have been wanting to try Jane Iredale for a while, but it is a pricey brand. There are lots of somewhat new players on the market.  I found this article in Elle that highlights the best clean makeup brands and what to buy from each one.

I know everyone has their favorite products that they have used for years.  I am not telling other people to ‘go clean’. But for me, since both my parents had cancer as have I, taking one small step to reduce my risk seems to make sense. And reducing the use of these types of chemicals also has to be a better bet for our environment!


Disclaimer: I have no financial relationships with any of the linked companies.  I just buy their products.


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