• 11Oct

    sb.jpgI was in two minds whether to watch this programme. I don’t tend to watch anything too heavy or scary these days but this sounded important and I wondered if I could afford to miss it? My Mum in Law has ME with chemical sensitivity so for 10 years now I’ve realised how chemicals can affect people. However, her sensitivity is very physically obvious and affects a small minority, whereas a lot of chemical damage is far more subtle, builds up slowly in our bodies and could affect us all in one way or another.

    Back then I changed some of the products I used, cut down on others, but I am still (I realise after watching this programme) exposed to far too many. We certainly don’t yet know all the ways these chemicals affect us and our children but if I could say one thing it would be not to trust that just because something is on the market it is safe to use, it may sound obvious but read the labels – I don’t believe there is enough control or that big companies really care as long as they make the packaging pretty and people spend money on them.

    I was completely ignorant of chemical sensitivity but then had to avoid wearing deodorant, perfume or hairspray when going to visit my in-laws, so began to read more about it. The first thing I did back then was stop wearing perfume! This programme didn’t mention the perfume industry directly but you only have to look at all the celebrities bringing out their own fragrance lines to realise what a booming, monied, industry it is. I used to wear Eternity by Calvin Klein so read with horror this was one of the most toxic on the market at the time. I do still wear scent but find more natural alternatives, occasionally I spray a tester on my clothes in a shop – I’m not immune to the amazing smells and packaging but have never been tempted to buy designer fragrance since. I also changed to Ecover washing powder and fabric conditioner and have been completely happy with that.

    Back to Sarah Beeny’s programme which I really really hope (to coin a well worn phrase now) will do for our nation’s wellbeing what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners. Rather than repeating the contents and statistics, I would urge a look at the Channel 4 pages which contain a summary, ways of finding out more, and guidelines for changing to a more chemical free way of living, including recommended paraben and triclosan free products. I only had to hear that those two chemicals could be responsible for birth defects, hormonal problems and possibly links to cancer to start taking notice… especially when mother’s feeding their babies with breast milk are passing on these toxins without realising the possible implications later.

    If only one person who missed the programme reads this and takes some advice from it I will feel I’ve helped Sarah in her very worthy quest. Thank you for a very well researched and put together programme Channel 4, I shall be watching the second episode next week with great interest and am about to go and throw away my hairspray and lip gloss now!!!

    Products I’ve used so far and what I think of them:

    Green People (http://www.greenpeople.co.uk) was the site I went to first and after a look through most of the sites mentioned, I went back. It looked the most user friendly, informative, easy to order and the order arrived well packed and very quickly. You get free delivery with your first order and I notice they give 10% of their net profits to charity. As it only arrived this morning I’ve so far tried the Body Comfort moisturiser (B014) which is gorgeous! It smells of blackcurrants, is very nourishing but non-greasy and a little goes a long way. Not really important (although it must be when so many by on the strength of packaging alone!) I really like the simple design of the containers. I also bought the Gentle Cleanse cleanser and some trial sizes which is a really good idea if you aren’t sure what will suit your skin… or to take travelling.

    Pit Rock salt crystal deodorant – I have used this before and really like it, good that the chemists in town stock it too. Also feel so much better using it, knowing there is no alcohol or aluminium, I feel these are really bad news if we only knew what they were doing to our bodies. I do keep a more conventional deodorant (usually Mum – still with no alcohol) as a back up for very stressful or busy days!

    Ecover liquid hand soap. Lovely smell, hands feel clean but not striped of moisture – most liquid soaps have the power to make my hands feel all shrivelled up after using!!

12 Responses

  • Deborah Says:

    Hello there, am I being stupid or does the channel 4 page you have linked to have no recommended toxin-free beauty products? I’ve been searching but there doesn’t seem to be anything. I’d like to find out which brands of cosmetics/toiletries were recommended. Can you help? Sorry to bother you.. Deborah

  • sue Says:

    No problem Deborah, there is a link on the “Beauty Addicts” page (bottom right of that page) entitled “Go Chemical-Lite!” – that page lists all the recommended stockist websites. I’ll also write an extra bit above with the ones I have found to be good.

  • Clare Says:

    I saw some of the first and second programmes and it has given me a bit of a wake up call. Since last week I have been using my crystal deodorant. I am keen to introduce some more of the recommended products into the home. I’m really keen to find an alternative baby shampoo and alternative to baby bath for my kids any suggestions?

  • sue Says:

    Hi Claire, good for you. After seeing tonight’s programme I’m even more determined but think it is all about moderation… some of the people featured didn’t use anything moderately!! I’d recommend http://www.earthlets.co.uk – look under “Natural Toiletries” on the left hand side to find both a gentle shampoo and baby bath (buy 3 or more and get 15% off). http://www.greenbaby.co.uk is another good site. Best of luck, sadly there are a lack of chemical-lite alternatives on the High Street.

  • Julie Says:

    Try http://www.mollycoddlesofrochester.co.uk for chemical free goodies including make up, toothpaste, baby products. You really can shop for everything under one roof. Brilliant friendly service

  • Gina Says:

    I would recommend elave skincare. The range is free from parabens, SLS, triclosan, perfumes, colourings, alcohol and other irritants. I buy them online and they are reasonalby priced 4.99+

    I thought the programme was really good. I’m glad they named products that most people consider gentle, natural and sensitive but are packed with irritants.

  • sue Says:

    Thank you Gina. I have just looked at the site http://www.elave.co.uk/and you can order online – it looks very good indeed. Elave care passionately about the products they sell – all vegan,certified organic and suitable for people with skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. I shall be trying them out.

  • Margaret Last Says:

    I would like to become greener but why is every thing so expensive. Just because you want to go green doesn’t mean you have money to burn. I have tried the crystal deodrant and highly recommend it, however other products are not so good and I feel I’m wasting money trying them all out to find out what works. If I want to go green do I have to compromise on what I look like? Most skin care products are for all skin types, I’m sorry but we all have different skin types. I’ve yet to find a decent shampoo that deals with my needs.

  • sue Says:

    Hi Margaret, I wonder what you have found to be particularly expensive? I agree you can pay more for green alternatives but think the prices are coming down generally as the issue becomes more prominent and these chemical-lite companies wish to compete. Also I have found with Green People’s products you need to apply less as, for example, the moisturiser goes much further. Many sites offer free delivery over a certain price, loyalty points or offers so it can pay to shop around then do a larger order less often.

    I really wish there was a High Street presence and knowledgeable dermatologists on hand so you could sample products and TALK to someone about your skin type and suitability. Lily Lolo cosmetics do a great sample size of all their stuff so you CAN try them out very cheaply and some health shops are now stocking mineral cosmetics with testers available.

    Yes it is a pain if you have certain requirements, I agree choice is limited and it takes more time to find what is right. I do think it is worth it though – I alternate if one product isn’t good to use all the time – ie shampoo which is the most problematic! I am sure some scientists are currently working flat out to try to improve the effectiveness of paraben-free hair products for us all… it is an area set to explode hopefully to the detriment of the chemically clogged up posh companies!!

  • Tammy Says:

    I have fgund the Naked skincare range (97% natural) to be really good and not too pricey. Currently 6 quid for two at Boots. The link to their homepage is:http://www.nakedbodycare.co.uk/

    I only wish I could get it here at home in OZ! :

  • Judith Says:

    Good to read your Journal and it is great when people really starting reading the ingredient labels. Sarah’s programme was great in that it drew attention to an increasing concern. However, we got the feeling that it was Sarah who took it most seriously while most of the participants found it a joke. With cleaning products the law does not insist on declaring all ingredients so this is really a minefield. All reasons why we start Home Scents and we develop and produce 100% natural products for home and family scented with pure essential oils. Have a look at http://www.homescents.co.uk and keep on checking out those labels.

  • Marilyn Angles Says:

    I am been talking to people about what goes onto their skin for quite some time as it is really scary. Tammy, if you’re still struggling to find products in Australia go to http://www.magnetic-health.eu. Maybe you could help others over there by passing on information to your friends and family.