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Sassy Mama’s Expert Guide to Toxins: Part One

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We’ve looked at the best ways to protect our little ones from being exposed to chemicals hidden in their everyday products – from popcorn to kid’s shampoo – but what about the chemicals in a mama’s products? We need to think about ourselves too! 

When I first started to investigate this topic, I was shocked at how many chemicals were in my daily routine! These little nasties were creeping into my life from my hair appointment to my make-up bag without my knowing. Let’s face it, as busy mamas we don’t have time to research what could be impacting our health. The chemical landscape is practically a minefield these days. Understanding which chemicals are potentially impacting our health can help minimise the risk of a suppressed immune system, breast cancer, thyroid issues, fertility issues and even obesity. 

Here are a few chemicals you can very easily reduce or get out of your life – you’ll be surprised where they lurk!


Image sourced from Pinterest

PHTHALATES, used in Fragrance (also known as “PERFUME” or “PARFUM”)
This very common chemical is used as a plasticizer and  to “fix” smells, so that you can smell great for hours. We looked at this chemical in the context of your kid’s shampoo in my previous post, however it’s also in more adult products than you think. Spend five minutes looking at the items in your bathroom and you’ll see it everywhere: in your luxury body cream, shampoo, and most prominently, in your perfume.

Studies have linked phthalates to serious health problems. In animal studies, phthalates causes an array of reproductive problems. In humans, mothers who’d been exposed to phthalates gave birth to boys with altered genital development. Phthalates also sometimes causes asthma as well as liver and kidney damage.

It’s not all bad news though mama – phthalates does not build up in our bodies, so we can detox and rid ourselves of it – BUT it’s pretty difficult to avoid so levels in our bodies probably remain fairly constant unless we take measures to avoid it.


Image sourced from Pinterest 

PARABENS, used in cosmetic products
Parabens have been widely used in products to prevent bacteria growth since the 1950s. About 85 percent of cosmetics have them! The most common are butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Parabens are hormone disrupters that interfere with normal hormone signals – they have been directly linked to abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. What’s more, watchdog organisations worry that if Parabens can be stored in the body, over time they could have a cumulative effect. Parabens are also xenoestrogens, agents that mimic estrogen in the body. This can lead to estrogen disruption, something that has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. In 2004 British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found parabens present in malignant breast tumors. Parabens have also been found in skin cancer biopsies.

Parabens can be absorbed through the skin, blood and digestive system, meaning you can absorb them through your sun creams and shower/bath products! The double whammy here is that you tend to use these things when your skin is more vulnerable, as heat from the sun or bathwater will open up your pores.

As a result, experts in many countries are recommending limits on Paraben levels in your favourite cosmetics. Over the last few years, in response to customer concerns, many brands have started to manufacture (and you will see clearly on the label) Paraben-free products, including lotions, lipsticks, shampoos, bodywashes etc.



 Image sourced from Mind Body Green

So what can we do, mama?
The simplest action to take is to start taking notice of the labels on your products! Next time you run out of a cream or perfume, look to replace it with something more organic.

Some product brands to consider could be: Dr Woods, Aubrey Organics, John Masters, Beyond Organic, Meyers, Origins, Avalon Organics, Aveda, Burt’s Bees, Dr. Hauschka, John Masters Organics, Josie Maran Cosmetics, Korres, Origins, Pangea Organics. Plus, don’t forget that essential oils and natural oils can also replace creams and perfumes.

There is a fantastic resource called the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. Check out your products today and swap the nasties out for the goodies!

You can also try a few easy detox methods:


  • Helps to break up fatty deposits
  • Aids in lymphatic drainage and detoxification
  • Stimulates circulation on top of the basic exfoliation
  • Brush upwards, towards the heart


  • Sweat it out!
  • Infrared saunas have the ability to penetrate deeper into the fatty tissues to help root out the poisons
  • Can help to remove heavy metal build-up.

Stay safe, mamas!

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