When my second child was born, he had super sensitive skin. He broke out in a rash after I applied the supposedly ‘mild and gentle’ Johnson and Johnson products and even reacted to traces of beauty products/perfumes on my own skin! And so, my friend google and I set out to discover why this could be happening.
It all came down to one thing – chemicals. Chemicals are everywhere, in (and on) the food we eat, in the baby and beauty products we use, in the air and water, in our toothpaste and hand wash, in the toys our toddlers suck on, our laundry and cleaning products (and clothes) and subsequently, inside our bodies.
We are exposed to varying levels of chemicals on a daily basis many of which remain largely untested.
Due to the insufficient research into the effects of these toxic exposures, Australia still allows the use of chemicals that are banned in other countries. Some studies suggest links between chemical exposure and increasing cancer rates, behavioural and learning problems and neurological disease (like Parkinson’s). It’s really worth listening up!
According to the book chemical free kids, the effects of chemical exposure don’t always occur straight away. They may take years to accumulate in our bodies before we experience a problem. Smoking is a great example as studies have shown it often takes 15 years of exposure to toxic chemicals before lung cancer develops. It didn’t happen overnight – but it did happen!
So, how on earth do companies get away with selling us such potentially dangerous products?
TV commercials offer us ‘options’ and generally speaking, we trust them. Unfortunately, the loving mothers depicted in commercials are not the ones who create the products. These cheaply made chemical cocktails are created by a team of professional’s whose primary motivation is profit. Why do they use synthetic chemicals instead of natural alternatives? Because chemicals are cheaper to produce. They’re not concerned about the impact, as long as we still buy the product.
So what do we do about it?
Thankfully, we now have access to a wide range of organic alternatives and if these don’t suit our budget then there are cheap (or even free!) options.
My exciting (interesting!) discovery…
After realising this, I cut out the use of body/bath product containing chemicals for the kids. I switched to organic shampoos, soaps and moisturisers. It was during this time that I made an exciting discovery. Once we switched to organic soaps, their skin didn’t seem to need moisturising and once we switched to organic shampoo, their hair no longer became oily needing frequent washing! I realised that all the chemicals in our products create a vicious cycle of dependency on MORE chemical laden products and once I withdrew these, they no longer seemed to need them. Following this, I cut out soap to see if just good old water would achieve the same. Yep. I even stopped shampooing their hair and it made no difference. It was an A-ha moment!
Now, my boys bath (or shower) in water only and I wash their hair once a week with an organic shampoo. They use natural bar soap for their hands (and for the occasions where they are covered in dirt).
Simple. Cheap. Effective. SAFE.
Chemicals aren’t good for adults either, but children (especially babies) are more sensitive and vulnerable to the impact so it’s worth taking a close look at the products we have in our homes.
For more info visit Chemical free parenting