Skincare benefits. Bottles coconut oil, coconut milk, shavings.

Cleaning up my hygeine rituals

by Maggie Jones

Most of my focus so far has been crafting my diet to make sure I’m fully supporting the organs and organ systems responsible for clearing out the cancer cells: my immune system, liver, kidneys and lungs.

It recently occurred to me that there’s another detox organ – and it happens to be the largest organ in my body: my skin.  

Everything I’m putting in my body from an internal perspective is squeaky clean: raw, organic veggies; distilled water; purified air… But I’m still rubbing the same chemicals on the outside. Time for an overhaul.

I’m using the ol’ 80/20 rule to guide my toiletry revamp. I’m not ready to ditch all my products just yet but can replace the most impactful 20% and see an 80% improvement. Just finding a better soap and moisturizer should make a substantial difference.

Body Wash
I’ve replaced my Nivea Men’s Body wash (don’t judge, I like the smell) with Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap. Actually, it’s “Dr. Woods” because that’s what I can get out here for reasonable. Same thing just uglier label (goddamned Papyrus font and it’s cousins!). It’s also now serving as our hand soap – 1 part Castille soap mixed with 2 parts water in a foaming dispenser. Change monthly to keep it from going bad.

Body Lotion
I’ve been using organic virgin coconut oil on my body after showering and absolutely LOVE IT! My legs have never felt softer and even my bare feet don’t send Brad to the other side of the bed anymore. Soon I hope he will touch them voluntarily. Coconut oil is known to clog pores and may not be right for everyone. In my case, my skin is so dry it absorbs immediately.

Coconut oil isn’t enough for my crazy dry hands, though, so I’m still stuck on my Neutrogena Norwegian Formula for now. I’ve been doing some research and there are some promising beeswax formulations in my future.

Face Moisturizer
I’ve put my fancy La Mer on the back shelf and have been using organic, cold-pressed, unrefined argan oil on my face. Again, I have crazy dry skin so pure oil doesn’t cause any breakout problems for me. As a bonus, I can also use it as a hair gloss. The smell isn’t notably delightful so I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a few drops of essential oil. More research to be done there but I mostly smell like coconuts, anyway.

I remember balking for half a second at the $20/ 4 oz price tag and then remembered that I’ve been spending $160 per ounce of La Mer. Each 2-oz jar could have bought a day of chemo.

Up Next
I’ve covered the majority of my skin’s exposure to intentionally applied chemicals but still think it’s worth finding all-natural alternatives for the following:

  • Hand Cream – As mentioned above, I have crazy dry hands that crack and snag on everything. I’m on the hunt for a powerful enough natural balm.
  • Toothpaste – I’ve seen some good suggestions out there for homemade versions I’m eager to try.
  • Shampoo/ Conditioner – I’m considering going “no poo” and can probably get away with using just vinegar. I’ll report back when I try it.
  • Sun Block – This will be the trickiest but there are a few brands out there that claim to fit the bill. More research is needed.

Of Less Concern

  • Face Wash – I currently mostly rely on water to clean my face and Aveeno ultra calming cleanser for sensitive skin every few days. It’s not a high priority for me but might be nice to replace.
  • Mascara and Lipstick – It’s not like I wear them that often, anyway. I’m not worried about toxic makeup for now.

Given how much of what I put on my skin ends up inside my body, it just makes sense that I only apply the same healthful, healing ingredients that I’d eat.

Then we’ll move on to household cleaners and unintentional chemical exposure.

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Christine G November 3, 2021 - 7:48 pm

I have found the skindeep database by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to be very helpful when looking for alternative skin care/makeup options. Look for their EWG Certified products to be the cleanest/healthiest. A small donation to their organization supports them in their on-going research and reducing toxic products.

Maggie Jones November 3, 2021 - 8:53 pm

Yes! I recently discovered then and it looks like an incredible resource! Thank you for sharing!

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