How Toxic Skin Care Products Wreck Your Health with Brian Vaszily

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Content By: Ari Whitten & Brian Vaszily

In this episode, I’m speaking with Brian Vaszily, a natural health and wellness advocate and creator of the truly wonderful Younger, Longer Insider’s Health Summit. We’re talking about how the common skin care products we use every day can wreck our health.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Brian and I discuss:

  • Why cosmetics and beauty care products are often worse for your body than junk food
  • Why anti-aging products can actually age you
  • 5 types of chemicals that are the most dangerous for your health
  • The best advice for being an informed consumer in a largely unethical industry
  • The best natural skin care products that support your health

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Transcript

Ari: Hey there. This is Ari Whitten. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. Right now, I am here with Brian Vaszily, who is a prominent leader, researcher and advocate in natural health and wellness for over 20 years. He’s the founder of the popular health destination, theartofantiaging.com whose mission is to empower those in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, and beyond with the most effective evidence-based natural solutions to look and feel their best, avoid and overcome disease and live long doing it. In the past year, he created and hosted two different high profile summits, featuring top anti-aging and longevity doctors and researchers, that were attended by 300,000 people.

Earlier in his career, he was also key to building mercola.com, The Truth About Cancer and other well-known natural health organizations. He’s authored multiple bestselling books and appeared extensively in media, including ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. So welcome my friends. Such a pleasure to connect with you yet again.

Brian: Hello again, Ari. And I’m so honored to be on this. I’m excited about it too, so it’s good to be here.

The toxicity of skin care “foods”

Ari: So you are going to be talking all about avoiding some specific foods to enhance your energy levels, commonly consumed foods. I’m really excited to dig into this with you. And I’m excited to dig into health and anti-aging with someone who’s been around this for a very long time and who has interviewed probably hundreds of the world’s experts on anti-aging and longevity. So let’s get into it.

Brian: Sounds good. First of all, when we say foods I will put the little quotes around that. Because let’s start with the ultra-simple premise of what health is, and this is one way that I define it. It really is about putting the best stuff inside of you and trying to keep the worst stuff out. At the end of the day, whether you’re talking your physical health, emotional health, any aspect, that’s really what it’s all about, to overcome disease, to look your best even, feel your best, all those good things. Obviously you are known as the expert, in my opinion, which is why I had you in my summit when it comes to energy, and that’s what we’re discussing here in large part.

Now, if you have any symptoms I like to call the mystery symptoms things where you’re not so sure what the source of those may be. Fatigue, lack of energy is certainly a huge. Brain fog, moodiness, depression, dizziness and I really could go on and on with all sorts of symptoms. You probably want to pay extra close attention to this because now when I’m talking about foods, what I’m really talking about is the foods, so to speak, in the cosmetics and personal care products that we feed our body. Now, it is a unusual way maybe for some people to think about it, because we really don’t think about these products that we apply to our skin or spray on ourselves or apply even into our hair, as food, so to speak, but that’s precisely what they are. And I’ll dive deeper into that for you. 

I often like to say that from, thank you for pointing out decades, really, of research on this, interviewing hundreds of people and diving deep into all kinds of journals and research that, the typical cosmetics are really the worst offenders that people are putting into their bodies. And the reason that I say that, is because in a sense, there are toxins obviously in foods, people are more aware of. There’s toxins in the air we breathe, especially inside the home and a lot of people are aware of that. But the toxins that are inside of these cosmetics and personal care products, by which, I mean anything from antiaging products, to deodorants under your arm are a big one to be concerned about, to things you put on your hair, on your face. These things, we are actively feeding our skin and therefore our bodies, Ari, day after day. And they’re designed to be on and therefore penetrated into the skin. 

Surprising statistic to many people is that the average woman uses, currently, 12 personal care products a day. The last time I saw the data for men, I think it was about six to eight personal care products a day for men. So we’re kind of catching up there actually. The charts are even getting out slowly.

Ari: My wife will attest that I’m not part of the group of men that’s helping us catch up. I think I maybe use one personal, soap and toothpaste. That’s about it.

Brian: You want to know something? I can go off on a tangent and tell you why that’s a very smart choice overall and in many regards, but we’ll get to all that actually. So these 12 products, Ari, a day contain an average of 168 different chemicals in them. Now another profoundly revealing statistic is that in, for example, the European Union 1,300 different chemicals have been banned for use from cosmetics and from personal care products. Here in the United States, it’s now a total of 11. It’s rather stunning. So with that in mind, let me dive a little deeper on why I say that typical cosmetics are the worst offenders for people in a sense of toxins overall. Now, again I think, and this is certainly subjective, but I do think a lot of people would agree if they back off maybe even analyze their own view on this. But certainly in a general sense, when we think about skin, we don’t really think about it the same way we think about our kidneys or our brains or our lungs. We don’t think about what it really is. It’s an organ, it’s the largest organ in our body. Instead, it’s the one on the outside. It’s how we look basically, it defines so much of that.

People often tend to think about it, therefore, kind of in a more inanimate way versus the rest of the body. It’s something to design, it’s something to slather stuff on to try to improve the look of it. But really what it is, it’s not just the largest organ in the body, and that alone is pretty telling, it also is a fundamental part of our immune system. It’s the front line. I could argue, it might be the fundamental part of our immune system, because it does the job of keeping out most of the stuff that we don’t want inside. And that’s not only because it has its own microbiome, but that’s part of the skin. A lot of people have heard this term microbiome. And we think about our gut mostly with that. And there’s certainly a very important microbiome in your gut. There’s also a few others on different body parts. One of the most fundamental that we have is on our skin. 

Depending on where on your body, there can be thousand different types of necessary good bacteria. Now that, again, it’s just one aspect of the immunity that our skin attempts to afford us, but it does work. It’s worked for it to do that. So all that said, back to the idea of food, it really is food, because truly the skin eats, it consumes. You can picture all those little pores on our skin in a way like mouths, if you need to remember this fact, for example. Not only are these chemicals, therefore, not merely being applied on top of our skin, so many of them are going into our skin and into our body. In fact, this is an important point too, they’re not just going into our bodies, these chemicals, many of them toxic, we’ll get deeper into that, are designed to penetrate deep and fast. That’s the whole point of a whole class of these chemicals that we’re putting on our skin. 

With that in mind, I’ll go back to this idea, Ari, that typical cosmetics are the worst offenders for toxins. And here’s one very key reason that I would love people to remember on why. Foods that we put into our mouths, they have various filters. They have an advantage if they’re containing toxins and stuff, because they go through various filters in the body before they are ultimately sent out through your bloodstream and into your organs and so on and so forth. The main filter most people know is the liver, for example. And its job, it might be overtaxed these days, but its job is to filter out some of the impurities, the things that are not good for our bodies. Ari, when you’re talking about things you’re applying to your skin getting sucked in, they don’t have that kind of filtering really going on. There’s very little, if any. So when it penetrates, and again keep in mind, most of these chemicals, their particles are small enough to penetrate. In fact, they are designed to penetrate. So they go straight into the bloodstream and are sent off throughout all the corners of the body.

With that in mind, it’s really kind of a double whammy on you. So we’re getting into, maybe this is why I have these so-called mystery symptoms, a big one being fatigue, but so many others that people wonder what’s going on. Sinuses can be very associated with these chemicals. At the end of the day, it’s a big, I’d like to call it the double whammy on the immune system. It forces the immune system, including inside your body does, all of these different cells involved in our immune systems, they don’t like foreign objects. Their job is to try to detect. Now they’re on overload, they’re overworked because literally these products are designed all day long to sit there on your skin, some of them, many of them, deodorants, again certain anti-aging products, for example. So the immune system’s constantly like, okay, this thing’s foreign, whatever’s coming in and it’s fighting this fighting. So that’s half the whammy. The other half of the whammy is that therefore it’s weakened and it can’t as effectively fight other pathogens that it’s meant to be fighting. So we are really overloading our bodies, our immune systems with all of this. 

Prompts the question, and I think it’s a good question and I do understand why people go for these products. The promises there and all that good stuff. By the way, versus if you’re going to buy really good products and all that, we’ll talk briefly about that a little bit later, it will typically cost more. So I understand, people are on budgets. They want something versus nothing because they don’t want to, smell bad if we’re talking deodorant. Or they don’t want the wrinkles or what have you, so they’re prompted to buy something. I do liken it though, to where we were in our mentality, I don’t know, 15, 20 years ago with food. Where there were a lot of the knowledge about food and problems with pesticides and herbicides and all that was much newer. And there was a big resistance still out there or like, come on, that’s not a big deal, amongst many people. There wasn’t this awareness in terms of process food being as bad as we know it is and all those sorts of things. There was an idea and of course in certain pockets, there was much more advanced thinking, but on a general level. 

So I liken these products to fast food. They really are the equivalent of fast food, so many of these typical products, I’ll call them, that you’ll find on any old grocery store shelf or big-box retailer shelves. These chemicals are added. Like I said, certainly one class is a penetrator to drive the other ingredients deeper, but these are added for different reasons because it makes them cheaper. They’re synthetic it’s easier and cheaper to make. So it is going to drive the cost down, so the end consumer pays less, I understand, longer shelf life, these pretty smells. This Western world, we have gotten so trained and that’s the big we, not necessarily you and me, but the big we has gotten so trained to equate nice smelling stuff with effectiveness. Even though what you’re really smelling almost all of the time with these products is a synthetic cocktail basically of stuff. I’ll also get a bit more on fragrance in a moment.

All of these chemicals have a reason. Most of them are not really about you, in terms of helping you long-term look your best, long-term feel your best longterm live longer, long-term feel better. That’s not what they’re about. So it’s much like fast food. There can be immediate gratification. I’ll use anti-aging products, for example. Some of these products, you apply them. They may over a very short period of time, show some effect in terms of reducing the look of wrinkles and you may think, wow, that’s awesome. But you’re paying a much longer-term price in terms of your health and ironically, even in terms of early aging with these products. So it’s just like fast food. It feels good to eat it for many people right away, but there’s long-term consequences to that.

The importance of reading ingredient lists

Ari: If I could interject one thing, I think this is a great frame around it. I think it’s also a little bit more insidious in the sense that, if we eat fast food or real food, we know what we’re eating. We know if we’re eating Twinkies or broccoli, we can see it very clearly. There’s elements of greater subtlety like if you’re just presented with two broccoli heads, one’s conventionally farm, one’s organic. You’re just looking at the broccoli, there’s no labels on it. You don’t know which is which. And so a lot of people are looking at labels in the store. They’re just looking at how pretty the labels are and the design on the labels to sort of gauge whether something is good or not good. Same thing with grass fed meat versus factory farm meat. If you don’t have the knowledge of why it is a better choice to get the grass fed, why that’s going to be healthier for you and your kids, then you just look at the meat, they look the same, except one’s $3 a pound, one’s $10 pound. It’s like, of course, I’m going to go with the one that’s $3 a pound. They’re the same thing.

There’s one more example that I want to give, which is allulose which is a type of sugar that I was just talking about the other day. I made a little video on how to make elderberry jam. I used allulose as a sweetener. Allulose is really interesting because it looks just like table sugar and it it’s like 70% sweet. You can just use 1.3 times as much and then it delivers the same sweetness. There’s two key difference differences between it and regular sugar. One is, it’s way more expensive. It’s like five times more expensive. So if you just look at that and you say, it’s like a sugar, why would I use one that’s five times more expensive? That doesn’t make any sense. Well, here’s why. The knowledge that, that ingredient instead of being harmful to your health, believe it or not, it’s a type of sugar that is actually associated with anti-aging, improve metabolic health and longevity. And so that’s what you’re paying for, is you’re paying a premium to get the difference between something that is unhealthy versus something that’s healthy. And if you don’t mind me interjecting, I think it’s the same principle here with skincare is what you’re talking.

Brian: That’s a super valuable observation. And I will say, it’s listening to two events like this, that you’re hosting where you learn to read, so to speak, and become increasingly more aware of this. The last thing I ever want anyone feeling is like tense or scared or anything of that nature about any of this stuff, because I think it’s a great thing when people keep taking steps forward. Interestingly, you make a few small changes that can make monumental differences. And in terms of what you’re saying, if you don’t mind, I’ll dive a bit more into kind of an overreaching way, the best way, let me put it that way, of understanding if a personal care product or a cosmetic is going to be on the better side or much better versus worse. 

Because you’re right, it can be very deceiving and it is a little more sinister because it really comes down to that company’s ability to market, frankly, and to make it seem like it’s going to solve all these problems and your life’s going to change. Or at least you’re going to smell amazing all day long because you’re wearing the right deodorant, whatever that cosmetic may be. Or your hair is going to be voluminous and shiny. I think increasingly, especially the folks listening to something like this are aware, hey, wait a minute. I’m not going to believe all that stuff. I’m going to go a little deeper. I’m going to learn to read labels. I’m going to continue to experience great programs like this one right now. Also let me caveat by saying, in cosmetics especially if you’re talking anti-aging and that sort of cosmetic expensive always doesn’t mean better either.

In fact, it’s interesting and I could really go off on a tangent, but I will try to prevent myself from doing that too much, Ari. But I’ve seen two products that have almost identical and by the way, heavily heavy duty synthetic ingredients. One is positioned as this budget item, and the same one because they have French lettering on them, for example, and position them really high end, but they’re still both garbage, frankly, in terms of toxins. So it’s really indeed learning what to look for and understanding which is precise why folks are watching something like this. So on that note, let me point out just briefly some education on this front. There are all different kinds of chemicals. You are talking thousands of chemicals that here in the United States and unfortunately in other places as well, like I said, the European Union is considerably ahead in this regard, but there are thousands of chemicals allowed.

But in terms of their toxicity, you can sum them up in five categories, which are direct carcinogens. And these, as the name implies, are potential or flat out known cancer causing agents. I’ll jump back to hidden carcinogens. I’ll just state it. That’s a trickier category because that’s the merging of two or more different chemicals in a product. And in and of themselves, those two chemicals might not be carcinogenic, but when they come together, they produce results and ingredients, frankly, that are carcinogenic. That’s real tricky because they don’t have to even list that on the label because they’re just required for most ingredients, to list the ingredient itself, not what happens when they merged together. The other side of the equation is, they don’t even know what happens in so many cases when they put these different synthetics together.

Another of importance here for sure, is endocrine disruptors. And there’s well over 200 of these that have been identified that are allowed in cosmetics, multiple of them quite common in cosmetics. I’ll give a few examples. Endocrine disruptors are basically, they wreak havoc on your hormones in some way or another. Allergens, an obvious one. And then penetrators, I already discussed these. Sinister little chemicals that are designed to drive all these others deep and fast into your body. So that’s just the five categories now. I think I will only go briefly through this, but I think a logical question that people might ask is why? Wait a minute, can’t we trust the products on the shelf at least to some extent and especially when it comes to cosmetics, personal care products? The answer I’ll just say it, is no. No, please don’t. It’s the most unregulated industry in the United States. 

I’m not calling for regulation or against regulation. At the end of the day, even in regulated industries, a lot of people realize they still have to be their own best coach leader. I’m just pointing out a fact here, that this is the most unregulated industry that there is. In, what was it? In 1938, the FDA passed a law, which is really the last law that’s still stands, Ari, relating to cosmetics and personal care products. And basically the law said, companies that make these products, you’re going to self-regulate. Can you handle that? Just be honest with us about what you’re putting in there and you’re on your own. Cool? Cool. Off they go. There’s been attempts, but there’s been no substantial change since 1938 to that.

Ari: I remember being a kid and looking at ingredient lists on some of these products and you see all these weird chemical names, there’s 20 different chemical names on a skin moisturizer. And I remember thinking, that’s amazing all this technology. And I’m sure that all of these things have been put to the test in extensive, multi-year long safety studies in humans to determine that they’re safe for use on our skin. I distinctly remember thinking that they must have done dozens of safety studies on all of these hundreds of different chemicals and that’s the only way they could allow them to be in these products. As I got older and looked into it, I’m like, they haven’t done really any safety testing. Or let’s just put it this way, they’ve done maybe 1% of the amount of safety testing that they should have done.

Brian: Fantastic point. The fact of the matter is that companies can and they certainly do create a product and it goes straight on the shelf. There’s no testing literally required. Now, there’s some ingredients GRAS, generally recognized as safe, but they don’t even have to worry about that. As long as these are not banned chemicals, they could go into their product. Now, these companies also they’re not stupid, obviously. In fact, they’re far from it. They’re multibillion dollar companies. The beauty care industry alone is $532 billion and that’s just what’s categorized under the beauty care industry. We’re not talking about the chemical companies, which are clearly part of that industry as well as under their industries and certainly benefit from it, but that doesn’t include how much they make. So they’re mighty powerful and they’re also mighty not stupid. 

Their arguments in general, I’ll really narrow this down for people, when they have been challenged in the past, you know ingredient X is a known carcinogen. Their response is going to be, yeah, but it’s in such a minute amount in this product that even if they had tested that minute amount it doesn’t really have much effect. What they are not saying, of course, but what people need to know is, sure, if one day in your whole life you used deodorant and that was it, they have a point. But guess what? We use deodorant day after day. We put these products, like I said, on our skin directly feeding our skin these day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Not just one, but an average in the case of women of 12 a day. It’s really what I call death by a thousand cuts.

Ari: That’s 12 products which may contain a total of maybe hundreds of different-

Brian: 168 on average, like I said. 168 different chemicals. So you’re doing this day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. So all those little minute amounts that they might have tested one time, they’re not talking about the impact nor are they talking about the impact of all of them combined.

Hidden carcinogens

Ari: Yes. I was just going to say that’s critical because there’s some research suggesting at least some compounds have the potential to synergize and create enhanced toxicity than they do alone.

Brian: Absolutely. Like I said, there’s hidden carcinogens, for example, and that’s only one class of potential, but it’s a nasty class and two or more chemicals come together. The EWG has investigated this, others have investigated and they know these chemicals are an outcome of these products. It really is mind blowing to me. This to me is like maybe I don’t know if we can call it the last frontier, but it’s something that people have an idea about, especially probably folks listening here have heard this in general before, but the depth of this and how far this goes and how much this really impacts people’s health and wellbeing is astonishing to me. People always ask when I talk about this, what are the worst? What are the bad ones? And I’m like, well, you’re talking thousands of chemicals that can be used. You’re talking thousands that are used. And many of them are the worst. 

But people do love when you put things in boxes and categorize or rank things or what have you. So a few I think a lot of people have heard of parabens and there are certain types of parabens that have been found particularly harmful.

Methylparaben, watch out for that one, linked to breast cancer, other cancers. Polyethylene glycol or PEGs. These are also linked to cancer, thyroid issues, and other things like that. I can go on and on with this, but I want to point out one to watch for. And the reason I want to talk about that one is because unlike these other chemicals that are required at least to be listed on the label, and those are a lot of those long words you were talking about that you looked at when you were young. Again, keep in mind that even if you are listing them on the label, these other ones, as we just pointed out, Ari, they can mix together and create all sorts of other chemicals that they don’t need to list them. They probably are not even half aware of, for that matter, but at least they’re required to list the other main ingredients, so to speak.

But watch out for fragrance, watch out for the ingredient that you will see on so many products, unfortunately, sometimes on products, calling themselves organic even, products calling themselves natural, or what have you. And it also goes by, scent, is just another synonym for it. So if you look on a label and it says fragrance or scent or like the ones I was talking about earlier, perfum, trying to sound French, it all means the same thing. What that means is that could be any of 4,000 different chemicals inside of that. Different organizations, EWG and others have tried to break some down and they have found all the carcinogenics in there and they found that the endocrine disruptors and other nasty little things that. But they, being the companies that make these, don’t have to divulge anything more than calling it fragrance because it’s basically trade secret. It would harm their business if they revealed the magic synthetic, oftentimes potion behind this. 

So all they got to do is put fragrance there and it could mean anything. When you see that, run the other way, because nine times out of 10, you’re going to want to run the other way in that case with that. Another interesting one is triclosan. I’m sure you’ve heard of that. I think a lot of people will remember triclosan from 2016 when United States did ban it, but only, Ari, from the antibacterial hand soap.

Ari: That’s interesting. I had a recollection that it was banned, but I didn’t realize it was only banned from certain products, but not others.

Brian: Isn’t that bizarre? And it’s telling.

Ari: They’re harmful, but only sometimes. 

Brian: Yeah. So if you’re washing your hands with it, but it’s in a wide range of other personal care products and it’s perfectly allowed in there and you will see them. And it’s got endocrine disruption aspects to it. It’s part and parcel to the whole thing with the over use of antibiotics in general. So it creates super bacterias they call them. I can go on and on about a lot of this stuff. Those are a couple to watch for.

Ari: It’s interesting that it’s been in soaps and hand soaps, but still allowed in personal cosmetics. On the one hand, this makes logical sense if the goal is maybe to decrease, as you said, the antibiotic resistant bacteria and sort of the broader population. On the other hand, if you’re looking at the harmful effects of triclosan on our individual physiology, in one case, you’re like putting it on for a few seconds, washing it off. In the other case you’re like applying it, leaving it there. I mean, it’s almost certainly going to result in much higher levels that are absorbed into your body. Yet they’re saying that’s the one that’s okay, that’s still allowed.

Brian: Because of the outcry it really caught on and there’s good aspect to that, I guess in that little brief moment in 2016, that it was such a cry about it, but you bring up a good point. And also the fact that it’s sitting on your skin again, you do have a microbiome and it’s all over your body. And so if triclosan is in the deodorants or if it’s anywhere else and it’s sitting there all day long, it’s harming the good bacteria on your skin too. It’s just like any antibiotic, and most people think of antibiotics as the pills they put in their mouth from their doc. I think most people know by now that’s not a highly targeted type of medication that only goes after one bad guy. If there’s a bunch of bacteria in the room and a lot of them are really good guys, the antibiotic just shoots them all. They’re all, goodbye everybody. Flattens everything around. Same thing on your skin. 

Again, it’s mind boggling how out of control, I guess I’ll say that, the industry has got with all of this. I laugh, but it’s really sad. Formaldehyde watch for this ingredient, it’s in so many products. I think people will get a creepy sense just hearing that word because it’s what’s used in embalming. People might remember it from high school biology. It’s what the poor frogs we’re sitting in and preserved forever. And you’re applying this stuff to your body and therefore it’s going inside your body. You can imagine, it’s neurotoxic. It’s heavily associated with asthma and other things. So there’re so many ingredients that. If I had about five hours, maybe I’d sit here and tick them all off for you, Ari and I still wouldn’t remember all of them. Some of them long names, I can’t even remember to be honest.

Ari: There’s studies in new babies where they look at umbilical cord blood. Have you seen this? 

Brian: Yeah. 

Ari: So they’re taking samples of umbilical cord blood and they found, I think there’s two studies, one found about 300, one found about 400 different manmade chemicals already in the bloodstream that that baby is exposed to before they’re even born. When people understand that the scale at which they’re being exposed to these things, it’s just incredible.

Brian: Yeah and you remind me of an important point on this too, is that what you just said alone speaks volumes. And I think when people back off, we’ve been mesmerized by these products over years and years of marketing and belief about these things. So we associate certain brand names, for example, with benefits. That, because we’re applying this or certain good smells, even if they’re synthetic with this, like I said, works good. When you back off and you just hear what you just said alone. And then you just think, wait a minute. My body is a natural thing and these chemicals can’t possibly be good. They just can’t be. It makes total sense. It’s pure common sense, but we just don’t think that way about feeding our skin as we do with our mouths. Let me put this another way. If I handed you what a small teaspoon full of any of the chemicals I just mentioned even a minute amount of some of these and I said, consume it, eat it. Most people say, you’re insane. No, I’m not going to do that. What is that? I’m going to eat formaldehyde? Get out of here. And yet they have no problem putting it on their skin, but they do have a problem if they understand this. It’s just awareness.

Ari: Give it to me in a pretty bottle, I’ll slather it all over my skin. But if you try to feed it to me in a spoon, I’ll say you’re crazy and refuse to do it. It’s absolutely true.

Brian: In fact, and I’ve often said this too, in some cases, like I said, at least if you put it in your mouth and swallow this stuff, you have a fighting chance that your liver, for example, poor liver, they’re going to go through a fight, but it’s going to try to get some of that out. But when you put it out of your skin, it’s just right in. Slowly, but it’s surely, like we said, because it’s over and over every single day. So let me switch gears. I think we’ve got quite a bit of awareness here about it. From another perspective to me, even though this may be one of the least known and most causative of various symptoms, including in my experience, from what I’ve seen from studies and research fatigue and as well as a lot of the other symptoms that I mentioned and didn’t mention. But if you’ve got these mystery symptoms, it’s something truly to think about. On the one hand, it might be little known, Ari, is what I’m saying. On the other hand, it’s also in my estimation for what I’ve seen, the good news is it’s easy to change versus so many other areas of our health and wellbeing.

Take diet, for example. Now I think many people here could probably do a pretty good job of ticking off the right things to do when it comes to eating, especially the big right ones. But it’s much harder for people to do it and stick to it. It just is because there’s temptations and all sorts of things in our way and habits. And that’s a powerful thing, eating and taste and habit. Another one is exercise. Everybody knows it’s important. Fitness is important, but it’s a lot harder to do. In this case compared or relative to those types of things, the shift to better choices here is easy. Because literally it’s just understanding what the better choices are and what I call going through a clean sweep, and I’ll get to that in a moment here, of what you’re currently using, just making an assessment of it. Let me dive into that in a moment. 

The other beauty of this is that, even when you start with some changes, many people, Ari, are so surprised that it does lead to a pretty fast improvement in how they feel when they’ve identified holy cow, it is my deodorant. The anti-aging cream that I’d been using did contribute. Not feeling something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not working. But in this case, so often I’ve seen that when people do make the shift, they can feel it, especially in terms of energy. It just improves when they get rid of the junk that they’ve been using a long time. And again, nobody should feel bad because maybe you just didn’t know all this, didn’t know the depth of this.

Ari: So what’s the solution? Should everybody just be like me and only use soap and toothpaste?

Brian: There are certain I’ll call them advanced dermatologists out there. And I would tend to agree that what you’re doing is certainly far healthier, including for your skin and how you look than putting out a lot of this garbage that people put on their skin, including the ones designed or that proclaim to be anti-aging. 

Ari: I’m glad to hear that my laziness is helpful.

Brian: Yeah. You’re doing a good job by being lazy. And there is an argument to be made that people are over showering. Of course they’re slathering on too much stuff all over the place. Some can be beneficial, too much as we’ve clearly discussed here, especially if it’s these artificial and toxins is not good for you. Over showering. I think people have heard this, but you really don’t want to take showers every single day because your body’s has a done a good job for a really long time, long before all of this, of taking care of you and producing its natural oils and all that. So actually I’d say your beauty routine is working and it’s not a bad one. 

Ari: Thank you. I’m going to play this recording for my wife.

Brian: When I make a big recommendation is just to take inventory of what you’re doing. Same as when you did it with what you’re eating. Same as you did it in other aspects of your life. Maybe even sit there with a notepad or at least put them all out on the bathroom counter and look at what you are actually using every single day. First of all, it’s surprising because we might locate these things in different places, but when you put every single cosmetic and personal care product you use altogether in the sink or a big bucket or you write them all down, you’re like, holy cow, first of all. You will be surprised it’s maybe 12, maybe considerably more for some people than 12. Second, turn them around. Just check out the labels on these things.

However, this is where I will say, it is a monumentally difficult task to try to assess every single one of these ingredients. Because like you said, and I think most people realize this already, sometimes these ingredients can go on and on and they’re these difficult words. You could hypothetically check each and every one of them and probably find, like I’ve done quite a bit of research at least on some of them that suggest how high on the toxicity scale it might be and are they carcinogens and stuff, but who’s going to do that? So for me there’s no perfect way, but there is a good way. In the United States, I try to choose USDA certified organic products. Why? There’s no perfection, but that’s an independent process of any company and its manufacturer.

That process, they have to show and demonstrate. And at least so far to what I know, Ari, at this time in history still it’s legit. They have to prove that the ingredients both within that product and from where they sourced from, if they’re natural, are truly toxin-free. 95% of them have to be truly organic. What about the other 5%? The other five, there’s a very short list of products that are widely considered safe that may be included. But there’s nothing that’s known or even a suggested or kind of strong known toxin. The natural ingredients furthermore, have to show that they came from organic farms or processes. In other words, I’m throwing anything out of banana. By the way, there’s so many fruits and stuff that are used out there. It had to be organically [inaudible]. There’s no pesticides and herbicides. 

I say, listen, you want an easier route. You’re going to pay a few bucks more, but look in the United States for USDA certified organic or certain states have some equivalents. Or other countries, if you’re from somewhere else in the world, not all, but some other countries have some equivalents. In France, it’s Ecocert, I think. And at least is far more of a trusted guiding post than any other out there. By the way, it also means non-GMO when you see that, but you can also look on the label for other certifications as well. Do your homework, in other words, on these certifications. I’m just saying, the one I most trust in the United States is USDA certified organic and there are others worth trusting versus trying to dig in deep on every single ingredient. Because you’re going to be sitting there on your computer all day and night for weeks, if you have 12 products you use routinely and all these different ingredients in them. There’s no perfect way, but for me, that’s kind of been the most effective.

Ari: Beautiful. This is an amazing guide to choosing healthy personal care products. Brian, thank you so much. I want to ask you if there’s anything else that you want to say to wrap up, but I also want to say something. You’re very humble and not including a pitch here for your own product line. But you were nice enough several months ago to send me and my wife a little goody pack of some of your products. And I’m not just saying this and I would not say it if I didn’t mean it, the products are phenomenal. They really are. The ingredients are phenomenal. And there’s been a couple of times where we have sick kids and we’ve used the breath bomb that you have and they work. 

I look at the ingredients and I am a stickler this stuff, as you are and so as my wife and I have zero objections to any of your products that I’ve seen. So well done on making like truly excellent products. If you want to let people know where they can get those, feel free to do that. I have no opposition to you letting people know, giving a little pitch for your products. I don’t make any money off of it. Happy to promote it though, because you’re doing good work well.

Brian: That’s very kind of you. They can go to puritywoods.com, for example.

So you opened that door and I will conclude with this. One of the products is an anti-aging product. The reason I launched that whole organization is because I did my homework and I wanted a good product for that. I’ll take off my glasses and I’ll try to get real close. Maybe people can see a little bit of the crow’s feet. I’m 50 and my wife is a cosmetologist by training, who’s very much into the natural aspect of things. We hunted and we found some pretty good products, Ari, but they were pretty good in the sense of USDA certified organic maybe, but then they really didn’t work. I had done all of my, God for so many years, research on ingredients. I’m an ingredient freak including all the good stuff out there and I love studying that stuff and understanding it deeply.

I had a pretty strong understanding of the right mix of the best. I’m not going to say I’m a formulator. I work with some of the best in Canada on this thing, but by and large the reason that I started that whole company was because we wanted this for ourselves, first and foremost. We were our own first customers basically and like, holy cow, this stuff really is rocking. It works. It’s done really well since then. Thank you for pointing that out. I will only offer, by the way, things that are USDA certified organic, truly pure. What that means, I’ll tell you in the case of our company, we don’t get to call it that. We have to go through this process where we’re sweating bullets to make sure that it’s determined as such from this quite strict independent process of this.

So whether it’s my organization or any organization, Ari, I would really recommend for people to go seek out those and patronize those companies that go through that. Because people don’t know that that takes a lot. Honestly, I’ll the first to say, I don’t offer deodorant, but they keep bringing that one up too because that’s sitting in one of the most sensitive places on your body, all day every single day. I’m not just talking about the aluminum. For me that would be the very first product, I’d say to people to go change and go find a USDA certified organic. Try different ones till you find one that works because that’s really close to the breasts for the women, that’s really close to the heart and stuff like that. Again, these chemicals are going straight in and then work your way down.

Last thing I’ll say on that note, is guidance. That recommendation I just made stands the for the order to do this in. If you’re wearing it constantly, if you’re feeding it to your skin all day every single day, to me that would be the most ones to start with. Don’t panic. Just work your way through these things. Whereas something that you occasionally apply to your hair or shaving cream even, that might be second or third on your list because it’s a periodic use. I would just walk calmly through those and make changes. Any changes you make on this front, again I’ll conclude by saying, are going to be helpful and you may very well likely even feel the difference.

Ari: Yes, absolutely. I agree with you 100%. I think this knowledge is super important. Brian, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with my audience. I really appreciate it. It’s been great to have you on and connect with you. One more time, your website I think is puritywoods.com. Is that correct?

Brian: Yeah, Purity, completely clean, Woods, because they’re a nice place to be; puritywoods.com.

Ari: Nice. Thank you so much my friend. Great to connect with you and look forward to our next chat.

Brian: Thanks you too.

Show Notes

The toxicity of skin care “foods” (07:00)
The importance of reading ingredient lists (20:14)
Hidden carcinogens (31:45)

Links

Check put Brian’s skin care products here: puritywoods.com

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