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I Stopped Putting Toxic Chemicals On My Body, Here's What Happened

Just say no to propylparabens.

Take a look in your medicine cabinet, and think about it -- can you name a single ingredient in any of the products you use every day? It turns out that the average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals on her skin every day, without even knowing.

A little over a month ago I spoke with beauty activist Jessica Assaf about the lack of transparency in the beauty industry. She told me a few upsetting facts, among them that the FDA doesn’t require any pre-market testing or approval before beauty products hit shelves. She also explained how the European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals found in cosmetics, as scientific studies suggest that they could be linked to cancer, reproductive harm and neurotoxicity. However, the FDA has only banned eight and restricted three.

It got me thinking seriously about the products that I put on my body every day. So I decided to do a complete overhaul of my cosmetics and only use products that contain non-toxic ingredients that I can pronounce.

When I started researching safe products, it was incredibly frustrating. Not only were they more expensive (natural deodorants hovered around the $20 mark while the deodorant I normally use is $4), but also, many brands that market themselves as organic and natural, aren't. As it turns out, there are no regulations when it comes to labeling in the beauty industry. Going through every ingredient in every product is time-consuming and exhausting.

Thankfully, Assaf sent me a list of products that contain safe ingredients that she would put on her skin. And so I embarked on a month-long journey using natural deodorant, lots of coconut oil, paraben-free sunscreen -- all natural, all the time. No more, propylparabens, methylparabens and ethylparabens (three chemical compounds that have been linked to cancer) and absolutely no crude oil: petroleum derivatives or mineral oils.

At first, my skin freaked out a little -- I guess it had gotten used to all the synthetic compounds I had been using. I had a few breakouts (which, at my age, is pretty rare) and I found it difficult to find comparable products to the mainstream ones I had been using. But with a bit of trial and error, I managed to fall in love with several safe, non-toxic products.

Let me break down my findings:
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