It’s that time of year again… detox time!  I know what you’re saying – didn’t we just do this? Well, if winter flew by for you like it did for me, then yes, it sure feels that way!  But there’s a reason why it keeps coming around.  Detoxifying is such an important thing to do for yourself to prepare your body and your immune system for the extreme temperature changes, which is why we do it twice a year.  Let’s not forget all the great benefits. A detox can help stimulate your immune system, assist in elimination of toxins and – quite possibly the biggest benefit right before the summer – shed a few unwanted pounds.  Dietary detoxification is obviously very important, but I also want to stress the need to detoxify your body by switching up a lot of common body products and cosmetics that could be contributing negatively to your health.  It is time to cleanse your body of these known chemical agents that have a negative impact on your health.

Are you a diligent label reader?  You need to become one!  In order to protect yourself and preserve your health, you need to look for body products that make your well-being a priority!  If you are unsure if the products you use currently are ‘healthy’ or not please check out the Environmental Working Group (  It has many common products listed with a rating so you can learn how your products measure up health-wise.

So, let’s get started on what you need to look out for:

Fragrance: When you see fragrance listed on an ingredient bottle it can mean there are hundreds of chemicals that do not have to be listed on the label that are known to cause health problems.  ‘Fragrance’ constituents are linked to allergies, skin reactions, endocrine/ hormone disruption and possibly even birth defects.  Fragrances are known to be one of the top 5 allergens that trigger asthma.

Coal Tar: Tar you say? Yes, tar – gross!  It is used in dandruff shampoos and dyes contained in toothpastes and mouthwash.  Coal tar is a known carcinogen.  It can be labelled as Solvent Red 24 49:1, Pigment Orange 5, FD&C Blue and FD&C Green 3.

Hydroquinone: Can be found in skin lighteners and facial moisturizers exerts its affect by decreasing melanin production.  It is a known carcinogen, immunotoxicant and neurotoxin.

Aluminum: Often found in deodorants and as a color additive to eye shadows, aluminum is found to be carcinogenic, toxic and a mutagenic.  Also studies are showing a link between Alzheimer’s and elevated levels of aluminum.

Triclosan: Used in antibacterial products and commonly disguised as ‘fragrance’, Triclosan is often contaminated with dioxins, which depresses your immune system, decreases fertility, are known carcinogens and can cause birth defects.

Phthalates: This is a common chemical used to make plastics.  It is found in so many everyday products like plastic toys, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo.  It is linked to birth defects, lowers sperm motility, and is a known hormone disruptor for women.  There has been a lot of controversy regarding phthalates, so they have been removed from a number of products; but don’t be fooled, if a product doesn’t list it, it may also be hidden and labelled as a ‘fragrance’.  Are you starting to see why fragrance is at the top of the list?!

Parabens: This is a chemical preservative that is estrogenic and a hormone disruptor.  Estrogenic chemicals or Xenoestrogens mimic the function of naturally occurring estrogens.  Exposure to such chemicals can put women at increased risk of developing breast cancer.  It will be found on labels listed as methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl-paraben.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This is the foaming agent found in toothpaste, shampoo, shower gels, bubble bath and soaps.  It is a known carcinogen.  Give up the foam; I assure you that you can get clean without it!

Mineral oil: This oil coats the skin so it cannot breathe, causing your skin – the body’s largest organ – to suffocate.  It is a by-product of petroleum and can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), another known carcinogen.  It can be found in products like mascara and because of the way it coats the skin, it slows down the natural processes of your skin, resulting in premature aging.  Yikes!  That’s definitely something to think about!

I hope this article has enlightened you about contaminants in your everyday products and cosmetics.  Time to do a spring-cleaning of your bathroom cupboard and make-up bag!  Toss out those things that contain these chemical agents.  Become an enlightened and empowered consumer and look for products that make your health and well-being the utmost priority.  And don’t feel overwhelmed by this list.  Make small and steady changes, as they will add up to big improvements in your health over time… you are worth it!

Do beautiful, naturally!

In great health & happiness,

Dr. Michelle

Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.