I have exciting news. I am with child.
I was careful about what I put on my skin before I found out I was pregnant. Now that I'm living for two, I might be classified as totally neurotic. I have read reports that we absorb up to 60 percent of what we put on our skin. It's actually a more powerful way to transmit chemicals into our system than ingesting them. When we ingest a drug or chemical we have enzymes in our saliva and stomach to help combat and break it down. However, when we apply a chemical to our skin, whether intended or unintended, we don't have this protective mechanism to break it down.
When you carry another life inside you, your awareness of what you eat, drink and put on your skin becomes amplified. Your doctor or health care professional will advise against use of alcohol or drugs. No over-the-counter drugs without first talking to your caregiver. You will be given a list of fish to avoid due to high mercy levels. Your caffeine intake should be limited to one cup per day. You will be advised to either maintain or start an exercise program (as long as you are in good health). You realize very quickly that so many "normal" things you do can effect your baby in a negative way. I stared to realize that I don't alway take care of my body the way I should because my desires or habits prevail over what might be best for me. When you know what you eat, drink or put on your skin, it can have a profound impact on our your baby. You start to rethink habits or cravings.
I have watched several friends struggle with infertility problems for years. Some have been able to conceive. Some have not. When I read the ingredients on the back of common beauty products, I am overwhelmed by the prevalence of chemicals research has shown to be hormone disturbers. It doesn't seem like a far reach to correlate the rise of infertility and the increase of chemicals we apply to our skin every year in "beauty" products (close to 5 lbs of them!).
I think too often we don't want to think about the long-term effects of our actions. We don't want to think of the ripple effect of our choices. We live in a fast-paced, self-focused, consumer-driven society. We want what we are told will make our life better or what we think will make us happy, without much thought of where it came from or if it's really good for us to have it.
I recently went on a tour of Andrew Jackson's Estate in Nashville, TN and I overheard a man in his 50s remark about the furnishings. "They just don't make furniture like that anymore," he said. "You can't get quality crafted furniture anymore." My first thought was, "Yes, you can! But you just have to be willing to pay for it."
It used to be that if you couldn't afford quality products you just didn't buy them. But today we can buy cheap poor quality knockoffs and we bemoan that quality products don't exist anymore. Quality comes at a price for all of us but often we really WANT fill-in-the-blank, so we settle for the cheap knockoff.
Consider changing your consumer habits. Choose the quality product. This might mean you need to minimize your purchases. It's a habit I am still trying to reshape in myself, so I know it's a process. But ask yourself: "Do you NEED X or do you WANT X?"