Hygiene is an old concept related to medicine, as well as to personal and professional care practices related to most aspects of living. In medicine and in home (domestic) and everyday life settings, hygiene practices are employed as preventative measures to reduce the incidence and spreading of disease.
The terms cleanliness (or cleaning) and hygiene are often used interchangeably, which can cause confusion. In general, hygiene mostly means practices that prevent spread of disease-causing organisms. Since cleaning processes (e.g., hand washing) remove infectious microbes as well as dirt and soil, they are often the means to achieve hygiene. Other uses of the term appear in phrases including: body hygiene, personal hygiene.
Hygiene should not be overlooked, but during a disaster it is one of the first things people let go to the wayside.
You survival is directly related to how well you practice good hygiene. Every disaster kit should have hygiene supplies and every prepper should know how to make the basic hygiene products.
How To Green Your Personal Care
beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that, until now, has
had little other than "cruelty-free" additions to their marketing
campaigns in terms of social and health consciousness. The safety of
beauty products has largely been taken for granted – who would wittingly
poison their customers? Unfortunately, lax regulations in many
countries and a faith that companies were testing their products
properly has covered up the reality that many chemicals in personal care
products and cosmetics are untested, unhealthy and even carcinogenic or
have the capacity to disrupt and mimic reproductive actions in both
humans and animals. This article discusses some ways that you can start
to green your personal care.
- Take a look at the ingredients of your shampoos, conditioners,
moisturizers, hair gels, lipsticks, mascaras and perfumes. Do you
understand the ingredients? It is probable that there are very long
words that make very little sense... If one or more of the below
statements about your personal care product is true, then the ‘safety’
of your products is questionable. All of the chemicals mentioned next
(see "Tips" for details) have been linked to health problems and some or
all of them are banned in certain countries:
- shampoo & body wash often contain sodium lauryl sulphate
- hair products often use a combination of: sodium lauryl sulfate
and TEA (triethanolamine, DEA (diethanolamine), or MEA
- methylparaben appears on many labels, from cosmetics to deodorant and perfume
- dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, or diethylhexyl phthalate, or DEHP appear on many labels too.
- Understand the problems you face when using many everyday commercial personal care products:
- many beauty products are not well regulated
- health and beauty products top advertising breaches (they don’t do what they claim they do)
- many use varying mixtures of synthetically produced chemicals
- many of these synthetic chemicals have not been approved by
regulation authorities, but find their way into products and onto
shelves through loopholes in regulations
- as much as a third of personal care products contain at least one chemical linked to cancer
- mineral oil and petroleum are the basic ingredients in many cosmetic products – these have their origins in fossil fuels
- the meanings of "natural" and "organic" are generally not
regulated and can mean whatever the company wants them to mean! “Organic
100% active ingredients” reads a loud label that misleads you into
believing that the product is organic, when it is most definitely not.
- Choose organic products. Organic products should be certified,
but if they are not, another good way to assess their validity is to
look out for a list of natural ingredients. True organic personal care
products do not contain preservatives – so there should be absolutely no
sign of methyl or propylparabens. It’s up to you – learn to read the
label and be careful of products claiming that they’re organic when they
- Be careful of sunscreen. There are concerns about both chemical
and mineral blocking sunscreens. The higher an SPF the more chemicals
are involved in its production, and sunscreen encourages a false sense
of security – we think we can stay out in the sun longer than is either
smart or safe. See further "understand your sunscreen label".
It’s all a question of balance – stay out of the sun as much as
possible, cover up when in the sun. The average t-shirt has an SPF of 7
and according to an Australian study, and 85% of fabrics have an SPF of
20 or more. Use organic or natural sunscreen properly but as
infrequently as possible.
- Be careful with body lotions, face creams, make-up. As already
outlined above, the biggest issue with the incredible range of lotions,
potions, gels and pastes is the unregulated chemicals that make up
their composition. It is medically recognised that the body absorbs a
lot of what goes on our skin. A sobering thought: the average adult uses
9 personal care products exposing them to 126 chemicals. Look out for
chemicals that are harmful to you (see top 4 chemicals to avoid below)
or, rather than scrutinising every label, go for organic or natural
- Be aware of the ingredients in your deodorants and toothpastes.
Household essentials – we can’t do without them. But we can question
what goes into them. Did you know that most commonly used
antiperspirants contain aluminum – toxic to the nervous system and a
cause of irritation? Consider that antiperspirants block pores and stop
the body regulating its temperature naturally. Toothpaste contains
parabens, titanium dioxide (for whitening) and high levels of fluoride –
there is growing concern about the level of fluoride we consume from a
combination of our drinking water and toothpaste. We are told that
fluoride helps fight tooth decay, but high doses can be poisonous. It is
mandatory for toothpastes in the USA to carry a poison warning (since
1997), if they contain fluoride. Look for the natural alternatives in
health food stores, or make your own, such as baking soda toothpaste.
- Stay aware with hair care. Hair might be dead (it contains no
living tissue), but it’s as absorbent as the skin, and the number of
chemicals we put on our heads in the name of beauty is particularly
scary – shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, gel, serums, wax, hair dyes
etc. Shampoos and conditioners use petroleum products, whilst hairsprays
and gels use formaldehyde, phthalates and synthetic fragrances – time
to start reading the label! The hair colour ingredient Toluene-2.5
Diamine (TDA) is known to be highly toxic. Not only is it dangerous for
your health, but it’s harmful to the environment, as is coal tar, which
is sometimes also used in anti-dandruff shampoos and preparations. There
are natural hair colours using vegetable-based ingredients such as
henna, walnut and chamomile extracts which you can use as alternatives.
- Keep learning and researching (see links below). You’ll begin
to realise that greening your personal care is a long and hard process
that is not being helped by numerous cosmetic and personal care product
industries bent on protecting profits rather than studying health
impacts and providing healthy alternatives. And the frightening aspect
isn’t so much the use of the chemicals, but the cumulative effect,
because we use so many different products, and the chemical soup that we
wash down the drain every time we shower or clean ourselves. Be
proactive and read your ingredient labels, demand that changes to
products be made by writing to companies that manufacture these
chemically laden products and ask your local pharmacist to stock safer
products from companies that have taken a conscious choice to remove the
potentially dangerous chemicals from their products.
- Make your own personal care products. You can make many
different products at home from nature's products.
- Top 4 chemicals to avoid and why:
- Sodium laureth sulphate - banned in Europe and Central America:
- It’s used because it makes things foam
- It’s found in toothpaste, shampoo, body and shower gels etc
- It’s a suspected carcinogen linked to kidney and liver damage, nervous system disruption, eczema and dermatitis
- Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl & ethyl) – banned in Japan and Sweden and under review in the UK
- Parabens are used as a preservative or germicide
- They are found in conditioners, hair gels, nail creams,
foundations, mascara, facial masks, skin creams, deodorants, sunscreen
and hair colouring
- They are a hormone disrupter – mimics natural estrogens that lead to cancer; linked to breast cancer, skin rashes
- Formaldehyde family Diazolidinyl urea, 3-diol Imidazolidinyl
urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium-15, Nitorpropane-1, Formalin,
Methanal, Methyl aldehyde, Methylene oxide etc. - banned in Europe
- It’s used because it’s a disinfectant, fungicide, germicide, defoamer and preservative
- It’s found in shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid hand
wash, skin lotions, bubble bath, hair care products, antiperspirants,
nail polishes, talcs, mouthwash etc.
- It can cause allergic reactions, dermatitis, headaches; it
irritates mucous membranes, is linked to joint and chest pain, fatigue,
dizziness and immune dysfunction
- Phthalates – banned in Europe
- It’s used because it makes plastic soft
- It’s found in nail polish, hair-straighteners and sprays, body lotions and deodorants
- It’s a carcinogen linked to birth defects, lowered sperm counts, damage to reproductive organs, lung, liver and kidney cancer
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