It Puts the Lotion on its Skin

My little models showing off some beloved products and sporting VERY natural smiles.

I typically title my blog posts after I’ve begun writing, but I knew what I would name this one before I ever typed a word. And I can’t stop laughing at the actual perfection. I mean we ARE talking about scary skincare (among other things) here today, but don’t worry… nobody is “getting the hose.”

If you’re Gen Z or whomever it is that comes after us elder millennials, you may not be familiar with Silence of the Lambs. And in that case, you’ll just have to excuse me because the mere idea of peppering this post with Lecter-isms is bringing me a substantial amount of joy. These days, my friends, I jump on that joy train at every opportunity.


“Okie-Dokie, Here We Go…”

This post is the third in a series I am writing about how to keep the cancer out of your booby-doos and all your other important parts. Please head back to my Blog tab to read Cancery-Booby-Doos and Welcome to Crunchy Town, so you will be fully informed before you begin here.

Today, we will delve a little deeper into the topic that is endocrine disrupters, and as promised, you will find links to my favorite safe, alternative products.

Before we begin, there’s something I want to plainly state. I often infuse my cancery talk with humor because finding laughter in the depths of hardship is a life skill I’ve worked very hard to achieve.

However, my next statement is no laughing matter. If you are a cancer survivor or someone currently fighting in the trenches with me, please know, you are NOT to blame for your cancer.

People who run marathons and eat clean, vegan diets get cancer every, single day. Meanwhile, Gary is over there having Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and a side of Marlboro Reds for breakfast and will live to be a ripe old 98. It’s ridiculously unfair.

But ole Gary probably doesn’t feel great. His life choices shockingly may not be affecting the quantity of life he gets to live, but it’s a certainty they are affecting the quality.

I do not blame myself for getting cancer. Life is about the journey, and it is possible that 50 years from now, science will discover I had a mutation that made me predisposed to getting sick. But right now, I know there are a lot of things that potentially contributed to me receiving a cancer diagnosis before age 40.

And when you know better, you do better.

Now all of this doesn’t mean you’re never going to see my van at the Taco Bell drive-thru hitting up some Mexi-Melt delciousness. The goal here, like everything else in life, is balance.

I also want to add that I am not a medical professional, nor am I in any way providing medical advice. But these are topics I have done extensive research around (as have many others), and I am hoping my legwork will make it easier to make healthy product swaps.


“Quid Pro Quo. Yes or No?”

I am going to give you all the goodies today. Unlike Hannibal, I want very little in return. I just ask you to activate your curious, open mind and be willing to take baby steps with me that will ultimately serve your health for the better.

In my last post, I explained that endocrine disruptors are found in products that we use every. single. day. The goal is to minimize our exposure as much as possible.

Extended exposure to these chemicals and heavy metals can cause cancerous tumors as well as a host of other horrific health issues.

Some real Buffalo Bill stuff, I tell ya.

Any system in your body that is controlled by hormones can be completely sabotaged as a result of exposure to these chemicals and other heavy metals. Specifically, these hormonal disruptions are associated with reproductive issues, learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development, birth defects, breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid and other cancers.

Endocrine disruptors can be found in the following products (just to name a few):

  • Cosmetics / skincare
  • Cleaning products
  • Plastic products (water bottles, plastic food containers, etc)
  • Non-stick pans and cooking sprays
  • Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides (found in non-organic food)
  • Fragrance (this label can hide a cocktail of more than 100 toxic ingredients, AND natural fragrance can be just as toxic as synthetic scent)

And that’s the short list.

Some of the specific things you need to look out for are PFC’s, BPA, fire retardants, lead, dioxin, atrazine, phthalates, arsenic, mercury, organophosphate pesticides, and glycol ethers. And you may be shocked at the amount of products and foods in your home that contain these very things.


If you’re a mom (or an elementary school teacher), you are probably already aware that girls are starting their periods younger and younger these days.

In a study conducted by the University of California Berkley, researchers found, “Early life exposure to certain endocrine disrupting chemicals commonly found in cosmetics and other household products was linked to early puberty in girls.”

The researchers found a “twofold increase in the mothers’ urine biomarker concentrations during pregnancy,” which was linked with an earlier onset of menarche. They also noted, “Earlier puberty in girls increases their risk of mental health problems.”

And you know what other horrible thing is linked to the early onset of menstruation?

Breast cancer.

Yup. It’s one of the questions they asked me at all of those first appointments.


“You Use Evyan Skin Cream. And Sometimes You Wear L’Air Du Temps. BUT NOT TODAY!”

(That’s the hope, Lecter. That is the HOPE.)

Now, I’m going to switch gears a bit because I’m beginning to feel like I’m writing a research paper, and I’m having some pretty traumatic college flashbacks.

But if I haven’t yet convinced you how HORRIBLE all of these chemicals are for us, I would like to also let you know they are linked to an increase in autoimmune diseases, PCOS, endometriosis, weight loss resistance, brain fog, insulin resistance (Diabetes), and infertility.

I don’t care if you’re 18, 38, or 88… making these adjustments in your life will absolutely benefit your overall health; and it’s never too late!

Actually, if you’re 88, you just keep doing you, Boo.

So where do you begin?

It’s fairly simple. When you run out of a product, make a safer choice when purchasing a new one. Little by little, your family will be that much safer, and they will have you to thank you for it! Okay, they probably won’t, but moms are used to that.

In my last post, I mentioned the Environmental Working Group. This is not a perfect resource, but it is a great place to start. Download the EWG Healthy Living app on your phone, or visit:

There, you can look up products you currently use and see a score and breakdown of the ingredients (and toxicity) of each. Ideally, you would like to choose products that are EWG verified or products that at least receive a score of 1 (or maybe 2).

Other household products are “graded” and for those, you will want to choose the products that received an A.

The problem is that many products are not available to view on their website. When that is the case, you would need to look up the toxicity of every. single. ingredient. Sounds like the stuff of horror movies, right? And can you believe my Crunchy Town sister actually did this?! God bless you, Candice.

But if you’d rather watch Buffalo Bill’s nude scene with your grandparents than go through that tedious and exhausting process, you could just go with my recommendations.

The products I’m linking today are ones that my sisters and I use and love.


“And Don’t Your Eyes Seek Out the Things You Want?”

Now onto the fun stuff. Shopping!

First up, let’s talk some deo for that B.O. y’all!


Deodorant

Aluminum and other ingredients (parabens and methylparabens) commonly found in deodorants are really stinkin’ bad for you.

Pun absolutely intended.

Sweating is a natural detoxification process. Your body is designed to do it for a reason, so the goal shouldn’t be to stop sweating; it should be to eliminate the odor.

I’ll be honest, this was one of my earliest “switches”, and I had a difficult time finding the right one.

Everyone’s body is different, so it may be a little trial and error to find your best fit. You can also expect to smell fairly unpleasant for a week or so while your body adjusts to the new, natural deodorant. During this time, you may find you need to apply more than once a day if you aggressively exercise or carry around a three year old everywhere you go (same difference). Also, bonus crunchy tip: you can wipe your armpits down with witch hazel before deodorant application to help during this transition.

Tom’s and Native are very popular brands and widely available at most stores, but they weren’t my favorite.

These are my recommendations:

My absolute favorite! I have very sensitive skin (and a cornstarch allergy), so this one works for me!



For the fellas! The hubs really likes this one.


I also love Just Ingredients (I use many of her products).


Beautycounter Clean Duo is a little pricier but beloved by so many people I know.


Shower Essentials

Shave Cream

Giving up the shave cream I have loved for my entire adult life was really hard (but it was jam-packed with stuff that was terrible for me). I went through several before I landed on this one. I have always really struggled with razor burn, and the Billie shave cream is just fantastic. (Unpopular opinion: I don’t love the razor, but most people I know do!)


Shampoo & Conditioner

I love pretty much all of Attitude’s products. This is a good budget-friendly shampoo/conditioner set for the entire family.


This Herbal Essences set is one of my favorites. I think it just smells devine, and it gives a good thorough clean.


EVOLVh is a more high-end, salon brand that is a favorite among my crunchy sisters.


I love this brand in both the lavender and peppermint.


LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Body wash that doubles as soap, shampoo, AND bubble bath for the kiddos. Yes, please! My babies dig this fresh scent.


Body wash for the grown ups of the household. Although for the longest time, we just used the kids’ and loved it, too.


And this one gets extra-special-bonus-points because you can avoid one-time plastic usage. Vegan bar soaps for the win!


Lotion

My kid’s favorite lotion. Super light and easy to rub into the skin. Nice beachy scent.


For me, I like something a little creamier (especially during the colder months). I also love the Orange Leaves scent.


Okay, so not a lotion, but sunflower oil is one of my favorite skincare items (and I wish I’d been using it for the first three decades of my life). I use it after I shave and as an intenstive moisturizer. It has done wonders for my scars since surgery as well.


This is the hand cream I use nightly before bed.


Toothpaste

I can’t even begin to explain how much of a THING switching the kids’ toothpaste was, but let’s just say everyone, including me, was in tears. After spending a fortune and nearly waving the white flag on this one, we finally found one my babies like MORE than Crest or Colgate. THANK YOU, Schmidts, for making this treasure.


And if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t love any of the early toothpaste alternatives either. A lot of natural toothpastes are super gritty and leave a weird aftertaste, but this one is perfection. It does score a 4 from EWG, but ONLY because it contains tea tree oil which can be troublesome for people with allergies, and it’s far superior to Crest, which contains dyes.


Germ Busters

You’ll find this hand soap at every sink in our house. Reasonably-priced, and this scent is one of my favorites.


If you prefer a foaming hand soap, try this one.


A pandemic means more hand-washing and an increased usage of anti-bacterial products. Triclosan is a chemical used in many of these products and extended use can really do some damage to your body. This is a great alternative to Germ-X. I’ve used several scents and like them all.

If I had to choose just ONE product to claim as my absolute favorite “switch,” this is IT.

I am a germ freak, y’all. I used to be queen of the Clorox wipes. And even when I realized just how HORRIBLE they are for my family, it was still hard to give them up until I discovered something that was just as effective at killing germs with none of the scary side effects. My sweet friend, Nicole, shared this product with me, and I will be forever grateful.

Yes, it is expensive. But also, not really, because it has replaced 95% of all my cleaning supplies. If you’re not convinced, you should absolutely check out their website to learn more. I will talk more about Force of Nature in my next post when I share more about household cleaning.


Cosmetics

If you’re like me, switching out your long-time favorite make-up and skin care products may be difficult. But remember, what you put on your skin matters. So again, when you’re running low on a product, purchase something that is safer.

The easiest thing for me to do with cosmetics was to find a brand that I loved and knew was safe. Beautycounter was the winner. For a more budget-friendly-drug-store-priced brand, I really like Honest Beauty. Mineral Fusion is also another great, affordable brand.

The website below is jam-packed full of great information about popular make-up brands (and groups them by toxicity). It also breaks down the ingredients for you. Unfortunately, most of my favorite make-up brands were on the Worst or Better list, but none of my oldies were on the Best list.

Beautycounter is one of the safest brands out there. For more information about the products you’re currently using, you can check it out here:

When I first made the switch, I ordered the Flawless in Five kit from Beautycounter. It’s a good starter kit.


This is my favorite eyeshadow.


I really like this lip tint. Everything from Mineral Fusion that I’ve gotten, I’ve liked.



Skincare

Although Beautycounter offers skincare products, I prefer Biossance. I am absolutely obsessed with their stuff. My friends will verify that I literally won’t shut up about it. “Hello, I’m Summer. Do you use Biossance? Because you totally should.”

I have also found a few products from Indie Lee that I REALLY love, too. But both of those brands are more of a splurge, so I will link up a few budget-friendly alternatives, too.

This is a great starter kit; you can start with the travel size in order to sample everything. I use every product in this kit and LOVE them all.


Ladies, it’s time to ditch the Retinol (as well as the Botox, Dysport, and all the other junk you don’t need because you are BEAUTIFUL and aging is a privilege). If you feel you need a wrinkle-fighting product, this one is both phenomenal and safe.


Reese Witherspoon uses this oil, and if it’s good enough for Reese, by golly, it’s just fine for Summer. My sister (and several of my friends) also use this product and absolutely love it. It’s included in the travel kit I linked above, too.


This is another oil that I won’t stop talking about. I prefer the Indie Lee one for colder months as it’s a little more hydrating than the Biossance. I. LOVE. IT.


This cleanser is super mild and hydrating if you have sensitive skin like me!


And here are a few Honest Beauty products that are very popular with the crunchy community:


Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is so important in order to prevent cancer, but if you’re using the wrong one, it can also cause cancer. Talk about a conundrum.

An easy fix is to make sure the sunscreen you are slathering on your skin (and your little ones) is safe. Here is EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens. I will link our favorites below, too.

And for the kiddos:



“Well Clarice, Have the Lambs Stopped Screaming?”

A few years ago when I decided to make these important changes, I was completely overwhelmed. Like alarm bells constantly going off in my brain, full-body sweating, completely freaking out at the level of toxicity that existed in my home. Back then, it wasn’t the lambs screaming, it was yours truly.

I am so thankful my sisters had already commenced on the path to health and wellness before me. I will be forever grateful for their help.

Now I sleep better at night knowing that I’m controlling what I am able, and my family is safer because of it.

There is no doubt in my mind that the products I used and the food I consumed for the first three decades of my life ultimately contributed to my cancer.

I feel God has laid it heavily on my heart to share my story and what I’ve learned, and I’m so glad you are a part of my journey.

I hope YOU are not screaming. I hope you are smiling and breathing easily knowing that you cared enough about your health to have read this today. And I know you care enough to start making the small adjustments needed for yourself and your loved ones.

I have chemotherapy again in a few days, but whenever I bounce back, I will write the next installment where I’ll give the dirty deets on laundry, cleaning products, contaminants in our water, and more.

Until next time my friends, Happy Learning!

And for the love, check your booby-doos.

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