5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Welcome back to Part III of the health havoc series! Today I’m sharing the five most important self care products for you to switch to decrease exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptor chemicals (ECDs).

If you’re a gentleman and thinking this doesn’t apply to you, I beg to differ. First of all, on average you use 6 personal care products (things like body wash, lotion, shave gel, and antiperspirant) — all of which MAY contain carcinogens or EDCs. Furthermore, you probably know a woman or two that could benefit from you sharing this information. Women use about 12 personal care products a day.

So male or female, read on!

Disclaimer: I have NO financial relationship with any of the brands/companies/products I recommend below.


Let’s recap. In Part I, we discussed how what goes AROUND or ON your body can also impact your health (because we absorb what’s around us). If this still sounds like hippie mumbo jumbo, check out this post. Part II focused on endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) - what they are, why they matter, and the worst offenders.


1. Body lotion

Why You Should Change It:

Body lotion is a product many of us use once or more a day. Furthermore, it is often applied to large areas — even the entire body. For these reasons, body lotion should be one of the first products you transition to natural. Our bodies absorb products applied to the skin and carcinogens or ECDs in body lotion are no exception. Common culprits in body lotion include: parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrance.

Better Alternatives:

Weleda body lotions have lovely texture and clean ingredient lists, but are pricier than many mainstream options. For light hydration, you can try aloe vera gel. If you have drier skin, oils can be a great option.

Image Credit

Image Credit

Grapeseed, safflower, jojoba, pumpkin-seed, flaxseed, and sweet almond oils are good options. Those with extremely dry skin may enjoy coconut oil, but those with acne prone skin may find this too emollient (I do). I often make my own mixes depending on the season. A good blend for normal-dry skin is 1 part pumpkin-seed oil and 2 parts grapeseed oil. For drier skin try 2 parts safflower oil, 2 parts jojoba oil, and 1 part sweet almond oil.

2. Body Wash

Why You Should Change It:

Body wash, like body lotion, is a product you can use one or more times a day. It is often applied over large areas of the body and to the genitals. For these reasons, body wash is something that you should make sure is carcinogen- and EDC-free. Common culprits in body wash include: parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrance.

Better Alternatives:

If you are married to the idea of a liquid body wash, Alaffia makes great options. This fair trade company makes a variety of naturally scented and unscented body washes. My favorites are the lavendar and unscented.

If you don’t mind switching to bar soap, pure vegetable glycerin soap is great. The 365 brand is under $2 and can be found at Whole Foods.

3. Lip Balm & Lipstick

Why You Should Change It:

For most of us, lipstick or lip balm is applied multiple times a day. In fact, the average woman eats pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. If your lipstick contains harmful chemicals, lead, and endocrine disruptors, you are putting yourself at risk every single time you swipe. Switching to a natural alternative should be front of mind. Common lip product carcinogens/EDCs include: parabens; phthalates; and butylated hydroxyanisale (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

Better Alternatives:

Don’t fret — there are wonderful natural alternatives with great moisturizing benefits and large color selections.

For a straight lip blam, Waxelene makes a hydrating lip balm with high quality ingredients. The good news is Waxelene is priced similarly to conventional brands and can be purchased at many retailers. If you want something more luxurious (and $$$), Kari Gran and Osmia Organics have balms that help mend the driest lips.

If you are going for color, Ilia is a luxury natural brand that makes beautiful, pigmented, and fashion forward lipsticks and tinted lip conditioners. Vapour Organics also make lovely lipsticks. For something more affordable, Pacifica makes lip glosses and tints sold at stores like Target nationwide.

4. Antiperspirant

Why You Should Change It:

Conventional antiperspirants are linked to cancer and other health problems. While there is conflicting evidence (some studies suggest links and others do not), I wouldn’t risk it. Switching to a natural alternative should be a top priority. Top culprits in antiperspirant include: aluminum salts, parabens, and artificial fragrance.

Better Alternatives:

Most natural products are actually deodorants and do not prevent sweating. It may take a few weeks to accustom yourself to using deodorant, but it will be worth the wait. If you are a heavy sweater or do not relish the idea of sweat, consider disposable adhesive sweat pads that can be applied to the underarms daily.

If you like stick deodorant, Tom’s of Maine makes some great options and can be found at national retailers (like Target and Trader Joe’s). If cream is more your thing, Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant (can be found online or at many natural food stores nationwide) and Soapwalla make reputable deodorant pastes that rub on.

5. Artificial fragrances

Why You Should Change It:

Artificial fragrance is a tricky subject. Manufacturers are not required to list individual ingredients in artificial fragrances and can just list “fragrance” on the label. This is a problem because many fragrances contain styrene, a known carcinogen. To be safe, only use fragrances that list the perfume’s individual components or switch to a natural alternative.

Better Alternatives:

Instead of artificial fragrances, use perfumes made from pure essential oils. Brands like Lurk or Kai make good options. Or, make your own signature fragrance with essential oils. Mountain Rose Herbs sells high quality essential oils at competitive prices.


This list shouldn’t scare you off from buying your favorite products, but rather serve as a reminder to read the labels and be aware of what you’re putting in your body. From there, you’ll be empowered to make the right personal care.

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