8 Common Hygiene Mistakes Everyone Makes & How To Fix Them

The FDA is incredibly strict about food ingredients, and yet there's still very little regulation on the ingredients in personal care products. The Environmental Working Group estimates that women use an average of 12 cosmetic products a day, which means some of the most common hygiene mistakes happen just from having a daily beauty routine.

When I first started reading about this stuff, I figured, “So what? It’s on my skin. I’m not eating it.” It turns out — quite terrifyingly, actually — that everything you put on your body gets absorbed right into your blood stream. Your skin’s even more porous when you shower or wash yourself, as the heat and the moisture cause your pores to open right up. I don’t know if your parents ever put soap in your mouth when you said a bad word as a kid, but there’s no reason to continue that practice into adulthood. A general rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your body.

Yes, it’s exhausting to keep track, and no, I haven’t started lathering myself with avocados and crushed cranberries. But I am that annoying person in the drug store reading every single ingredient on the label of the shampoo bottle. It’s really, really important to know what you’re putting on your body, but thankfully, you’re not alone. Here’s a list of some of the most common hygiene mistakes people are making (filled with the worst ingredients for you) and how to fix them.

Using Toxic Soaps That Disrupt Flora

Himalayan Pink Salt Soap Bar, $7, Amazon

Some soaps have toxic ingredients like triclosan, which contribute to antibiotic resistance. This disrupts the flora (beneficial bacteria on your skin) that's necessary for proper protection, hydration, and elasticity. That’s why I’m in love with artisanal crafted, all-natural soaps, like this Himalayan Pink salt soap bar. For one, I can pronounce every ingredient: good stuff like Himalayan salts, coconut oil, shea butter, activated charcoal, and essential oils. It lightly exfoliates while drawing out impurities in the skin. Reviewers love it because it lathers well and moisturizes while it cleanses, and it also has a beautiful scent that fills the whole bathroom during your shower.

Showering In Non-Filtered Water

Live Water Filtration Shower Head, $10, Amazon

We’ve already talked about fluoride in the drinking water. However, tap water is also filled with chlorine, which, when ingested or absorbed, potentially leads to higher cancer rates, heart attacks, asthma, and liver problems. This Live Water filtration shower head is one of the most affordable ways to purify your water, as it removes chlorine, limestone, and other impurities from your shower. Skin and hair feels much softer and more hydrated, and because this hand-held shower head is high-quality and has great water pressure, it’s a great addition to anyone’s clean-living lifestyle.

Killing Natural Flora With Face Wash

Elma And Sana Pure Rose Water, $11, Amazon

Face washes are supposed to clear and tone skin, but most of them have SLS, alcohols, and parabens that damage your health and your skin. Elma And Sana pure rose water tones, moisturizes, and cleanses skin while leaving healthy flora in place — unlike harsher creams and soaps. It’s great for both oily and dry skin alike, and it smells absolutely incredible. Users say it leaves their skin feeling soft, firm, and toned.

Stripping Natural Oils With Harsh Shampoo

Renpure Coconut Crème Cleansing Conditioner, $9, Amazon

My hair’s really thin and gets oily super fast, so I can't not wash it. Renpure coconut crème isn’t a shampoo; it’s a cleansing conditioner that uses natural ingredients (no parabens or sulfates) to clean dirt and build-up without affecting your scalp’s natural oils. Amino acids and proteins repair damage to limp strands, and coconut oil rehydrates and smooths hair so it’s silky, beautiful, and shiny. Best of all, your skin produces less oil — because it no longer needs to replenish it on a daily basis (aka: You can wash your hair less often — yes!).

Using Exfoliants With Microbeads

Organic Dead Sea Salt Exfoliator, $20, Amazon

Those little plastic beads in your facial washes don’t break down in the sewers, so they’re terrible for the environment, but they’re also not great for your face. Because they’re made of plastic, they’re filled with chemicals and are harsh enough to create little microscopic cuts on the surface of your skin. This organic Dead Sea salt exfoliator uses organic and mineral-packed salt granules to gently buff away dead skin and build-up, as well as ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E, and organic shea butter, which hydrate and heal. Pores look clean and fresh, and your face (or body) is left with a subtle but pleasant scent. Best of all, because it’s all natural, everything decomposes in the sewers.

Applying Harsh Moisturizers

Radha Coconut Oil, $12, Amazon

Many run-of-the-mill moisturizers contain BHA and BHT, which are both preservatives and carcinogens. Radha coconut oil, though, is nothing but 100 percent pure (you guessed it) coconut oil, delivered to you in a super convenient and always-liquid pump bottle. It’s odorless and non-greasy, so you can experience all the healing and ultra-moisturizing benefits of coconut oil on your skin without any of the mess or the chemicals. It works great as a post-shower moisturizer, and because a little goes a long way, you’ll be set for quite a while.

Drying Off With Toxic Towels

Moolecole Luxury Bath Towel, $24, Amazon

It’s an unsettling statistic, but more than half of bath towels on the market today contain chemicals like formaldehyde and fluorescent agents, which cause the very skin problems you thought you were avoiding by showering daily. This organic bamboo bath towel has high ratings because they’re made from 100 percent bamboo fiber, which is an all-natural fabric that’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, eco-friendly, and contains no chemicals. It's significantly more absorbent and way softer than cotton, but it's also super durable.

Using Fluoride-Filled Toothpastes

David's Natural Toothpaste + Whitening, $8, Amazon

Most toothpastes are ridiculously toxic, and very few people realize it. They’re filled with triclosan and artificial sweeteners, but the real culprit is fluoride; although once thought to be totally harmless (and that’s why it’s now in our drinking water), it can accumulate in your tissues, messes with your enzymes, and cause brain and endocrine dysfunction, according to toxicologist Dr. John Doull. This toothpaste has no fluoride whatsoever, nor does it have artificial dyes or sweeteners. Instead, it uses natural ingredients (like peppermint oil) to keep your mouth feeling clean and refreshed. Reviewers say it tastes great and leaves long-lasting freshness all day.

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Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (8)