Body Care Products for Special Needs
Body care products for special needs individuals can sometimes be an overlooked area on their journey to greater health. However, it might also be one area that could be contributing to a toxic load of the body. There are nearly 80,000 chemicals used in household and beauty care products today that have minimal to no safety data on them. Although the skin is waterproof, it is still porous. The skin is the largest organ of the body and it does not filter everything. Whatever is put on the skin, will be absorbed into the bloodstream, typically in a matter of minutes. These chemicals will travel through the bloodstream, flowing to various organs and tissues of the body. Eventually, the liver will detect these chemicals and mark them for disposal, or in other words “detox the chemicals out of the body”. However, this is assuming that the body has all the nutrients it needs to detox unhelpful chemicals out of the body. This is also assuming that the body has a fully functioning, effective, detox system. Unfortunately, we often see in the special needs population, they tend to have compromised detox pathways. In other words, chemicals do not leave their bodies very easily and over time will build up in the tissues. As these chemicals build-up, the toxic load of the body becomes greater and will begin to affect how organs function properly and disrupt how the body should function.
Maybe you know very little about the body care products for special needs that you use daily. Shampoos, conditions, body wash, lotions, toothpaste, deodorants, make-up, and perfumes could be absorbed through our skin or being inhaled, causing thousands of chemicals to enter the body and potentially becoming toxic and become an endocrine disruptor.
First off, what is an endocrine disruptor? The endocrine system is the system that the medical field uses to describe the system in the body that manages hormones. Often, what these chemicals do is they enter the body and mimic certain hormones in the body. The body has a hard time recognizing the difference between the hormone that was made by the body and the “hormone” that was not made by the body. The body ends up being overloaded with so much hormone, both natural and unnatural that systems in the body start to malfunction and become toxic. The most common hormone that is mimicked is estrogen. These mimicking estrogen hormones are sometimes called xenoestrogens and/or phytoestrogens. These mimicking estrogens not only affect females, but it’s beginning to affect more males as well. When natural and unnatural estrogen is high in the body, in the health field we say the body is experiencing estrogen dominance.
What does estrogen dominance look like? This is not an exhausted list, but here are some major signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance in both males & females.
- Greater accumulation of fat in the belly, hips, and thighs
- Difficulty in losing weight
- Greater accumulation of fat in the chest (in males, it’s called gynecomastia)
- Behavioral changes
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficult menstruation in females, severe cramping, heavy periods, irregular periods, and infertility
- Increased risk of ovarian, breast, & testicular cancer
Conventional products of shampoos, lotions, body wash, and deodorants contain chemicals that are in the form of phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and aluminum. These chemicals can cause the body to become very toxic. Aluminum is particularly important to look for in body care products for special needs because oftentimes, individuals with specials needs have compromised detox pathways, which was discussed earlier. This means it’s more difficult to detox these chemicals and, in this case, aluminum, out of the body. We begin to see aluminum as a heavy metal build up in the body which can cause the following symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Behavioral changes
- Learning impairments
GET RESOURCES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS
It is important to begin looking at ingredient lists in not only our food but our body care products as well. We need to be questioning, what do these ingredients do to my body and the body of my special needs child? We need to be asking if this product is beneficial or harmful to my health and the health of my special needs child? There is hope and options for taking on a more natural approach to using body care products for special needs individuals. Here is where you can start:
- Download the Healthy Living App, this is an app made by the Environmental Working Group to help the general public learn what chemicals are in our body care products and foods that can pose a toxic risk to our bodies.
- Look at labels on your body care products. Here is a blog post that has a list with a brief explanation of what chemicals pose the greatest risk and what the chemical’s purpose is in the product.
- Slowly start to make switches to toxic-free body care products for special needs individuals. Start with deodorants. My favorite natural deodorant is Schmidt’s Natural deodorants. These are free of aluminum and other endocrine-disrupting ingredients. They smell wonderful, absorb wetness, and odor. This brand is very reasonably priced and can be found in most major stores in the USA and online. https://schmidtsnaturals.com/ Tip: if you have tried natural deodorants before and they cause a rash, it could be because the body is trying to detox the chemicals from the old deodorant. Transition slowly by applying 1-2 x a week. Also, select the “sensitive” brand which does not contain shea butter, as shea butter can cause rashes for people who have a latex allergy.
- Switch to a more natural toothpaste. Or better yet, make your own! Most conventional toothpaste has fluoride in it, which hopefully is not being swallowed. Here is a study showing the relationship between high fluoride intake from fluoridated water to decreased intelligence in children. Again, this study is looking at fluoridated water and not toothpaste, however, because fluoride is found in many sources such as certain fruits, vegetables, and animal products, consuming fluoride in the water, food, and from toothpaste could push the toxicity limit for someone who already has a compromised detox pathway, which we often see in individuals with special needs. Switching to a natural toothpaste that will re-mineralize the teeth and help prevent cavities without the added toxic effect is a win in my book! The brand Primal Life Organics has a tooth powder that helps detox the mouth and gums of bacteria, yeast overgrowth, and other chemicals. It lasts a very long time and gives the essential nutrients needed to keep the teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Be prepared, this toothpaste is not as sweet as conventional toothpaste. Conventional toothpaste uses artificial sweeteners to sweeten the toothpaste, this natural toothpaste might seem different at first. However, rest assured your teeth are going to be squeaky clean with this natural tooth powder! https://www.primallifeorganics.com/collections/best-sellers/products/dirty-mouth-primal-toothpowder
- Switch to a more natural body wash, shampoo, and conditioner for your special needs child. Think of the body soap going directly on your child’s skin, which will be absorbed into their bloodstream. Covering your child’s entire body with a natural soap will give you peace of mind knowing that whatever is absorbed, will not disrupt their body’s detox pathways. One brand, that I cannot recommend enough would be BeautyCounter. This is a company on a mission to change the face of body care products for everyone. This company refuses to use over 1,200 commonly used chemicals because of the health risk they pose to the body. None of their product use any chemicals that would be disruptive to the body’s endocrine system or detox pathways and the best part is their products work amazing!!! This is definitely a company worth exploring various products and trust that their products are safe, especially for your special needs child. https://www.beautycounter.com/kids.html#kids
- Use a small amount of coconut oil in place body lotions, chap-sticks, make-up remover, and hair smoother.
- Switch out your laundry detergent and dryer sheets. This category is easily overlooked. However, every time a clothing article is washed in conventional laundry detergent and dried with a dryer sheet, those chemicals do not wash out or dry out very easily. This can be an area to investigate if your special needs child has reoccurring eczema and skin rashes. The brand I recommend is Molly Suds. This brand is on a mission to make products that are safe, even for the tiniest human in the family. https://mollyssuds.com/shop/
This list might seem overwhelming when it comes to selecting body care products for special needs, but making changes one product at a time can make the transition smoother. Over time, you will know that you are nourishing the body from the outside-in by selecting natural body care products for special needs kids.
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Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work with autism and other disabilities.