A long while back, I started making my own body lotion after learning that there are a lot of toxic ingredients lurking in many conventional skin care products. After looking at the ingredients in the body lotion that I previously used and doing some research on the effects they have on one’s health – oh boy, I knew I needed to ditch this lotion and find something that was much safer and better for my body! I started looking into “organic” and “natural” lotions, but found that most of these lotions had ingredients that were just as bad. It turns out that the labeling of these cosmetics are not regulated in any way, and a brand can claim that it is “organic” or “natural” if they use just one ingredient that is natural or organic! Not cool! 😒
I am not saying nobody should use store-cought/conventional lotions and body products, but I do think it’s important that they are informed about what’s in them and the effects they can have on the body. So, what are some of these undesirable ingredients that show up in many body/skin care products that aren’t so great for us? I will list some here along with the possible effects they can have on our health and well-being.
- Aminomethyl Propanol – This is considered mildly toxic. There have been reports of this ingredient causing neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, endocrine distruption, and ecotoxicity.
- Butylated hydroxianisole (BHA)/Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – This ingredient is a suspected human carcinogenic. It is known to cause metabolic stress, depression of growth rate, loss of weight, damage to the liver, baldness, fetal abnormalities, and allergic contact dermatitis. It is a skin & eye irritant.
- Color – Many colors that are added to lotion are carcinogenic. Namely, “FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Green 3, FD&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5, and FC&C Yellow 6 have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin.
- Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer– This is toxic to humans It is a carcinogenic, and causes reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity.
- Fragrance – Phthalates – In most fragrances there are over five thousand toxins and irritants causing our bodies an array of problems. Headaches, dizziness, nausea and respiratory problems are the most common.
- Glyceryl Oleate– This is toxic to humans. It is a carcinogenic, and causes reproductive and developmental toxicity. It is neurotoxic, and causes acute toxicity.
- Laureths- These are almost always contaminated by the carcinogens 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. Very dangerous.
- Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone – Both are used as antimicrobials but have shown to be skin irritants. More importantly, there is great concern that these chemicals have potential dangerous neuro-toxic effects on humans.
- Polyacrylamide – This ingredient is highly toxic. It is a possible carcinogen. It is extremely irritating to the skin and respiratory system.
- Parabens –methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and benzylparaben. Parabens are classified as toxic chemicals when applied to the skin, especially in lotions and creams, in other major countries. There is a debate that parabens may be linked to the development of breast cancer.
- Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate- Thought to possibly present risks to human reproduction and development by reducing fertility or reducing a chance for a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Suspected to be neuro-toxic and gastrointestinal or liver toxic.
- Phenoxyethanol – This is linked to cancer and in high doses it is linked to organ damage, developmental defects, brain and nervous system effects and is a skin allergen and irritant.
There are many many more, but I think you get the picture. These chemicals are absorbed directly into our body and blood stream and stored in our fat tissues, possibly leading to cancer, changing our DNA, causing infertility, neurotoxicity, or causing an array of other medical problems. When it comes to children, it is even more concerning as children absorb these ingredients more easily since their skin is thinner than adult’s skin. Thus, I think it’s important that we pay attention to the ingredients that we are not only putting in our body, but also on our body.
Searching for a safe and effective body lotion was becoming exhausting, so I started looking at the ingredients that were safe and good for the skin, and started on a quest to make something of my own. Of course, coconut oil came up – oh, coconut oil, how I love thee! Coconut oil has SO many health benefits, but in terms of the benefits of using it on the skin, here are a few!
- Very moisturizing due to it being 90% saturated fat.
- Smoothing effects due to it’s content of vitamin E
- Reduces wrinkles and fine lines.
- Treats sunburn, and has a natural SPF which is why it is a main ingredient in many sunscreen lotions.
- Fights skin infections – Coconut oil has anti-bacterial, ant-fungal, and anti-viral functions. I use this lotion on small cuts and scrapes, and they heal in a jiffy!
- Acts as a great massage oil
- Cleanses and softens skin – coconut oil can actually help to remove dirt from the skin which is why it is often used in body washes and soaps
- Prevents acne – I know that seems odd as it is an oil, but coconut oil’s excellent anti-bacterial factors help to keep skin clear of acne.
- Helps eczema and dermatitis
- Great for diaper rash in babies
It was clear that coconut oil needed to be my main ingredient. While trying to come up with my own lotion, I tried quite a few different concoctions containing coconut oil, beeswax, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, etc. The most effective one that I’ve found is the one I’m going to share with you here. Side note: it’s also the simplest one I found, so that’s an added bonus!
I started out just using straight coconut oil. When you use organic, virgin, unrefined coconut oil, it has a light coconut scent, and it is really moisturizing. The only thing I didn’t like is that I had to either warm the coconut oil by submerging the jar in hot water, or I had to rub it in my hand till it melted to apply to my body. Not really a big deal, but I missed just being able to quickly slather something on – enter an electric mixer! One day, I was making a food recipe that had coconut oil in it, and I had to beat the coconut oil with some eggs. When I did this, I noticed that the texture of the coconut oil became more like normal lotion – Yay, noted! The only other ingredient that I add, and it is totally optional, is essential oils.
Anytime I make a batch of this lotion, I use whatever I am in the mood for at that time. (Side note – If you have a cold, using eucalyptus essential oil in this lotion makes an excellent chest rub to help alleviate symptoms. If you are stressed, lavender is an excellent scent to use to calm and relax you. If you want something to energize you, cinnamon or lemon essential oils are good ones. If you have aches and pains, use peppermint oil to help reduce inflammation. The possibilities are endless!) You don’t have to add the essential oils, but they are super fun! That being said there are some essential oils that are not good for pregnant women, or for people with certain conditions, so always make sure you are using one that is okay for you. Today, I made two batches, one is Lavender Harvest, and the other is Vanilla Jasmine. I love both of them!
Okay! Let’s get to this lotion recipe!
Easy Homemade Non-Toxic Lotion
- 1 cup organic, virgin, unrefined coconut oil (in it’s solid form)
- 15-30 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)
1.) In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of coconut oil and essential oil, if using.
2.) Using an electric mixer, mix on high for 3-5 minutes. Check and make sure the scent is as you would like it. If you would like more scent, add some more essential oil and mix for a minute longer.
3.) Spoon lotion into a glass jar.
4.) Put top on jar and label, if desired. I made two different batches with different scents, so I labeled mine.
Wah-lah! Easy homemade lotion with no toxic ingredients. You know exactly what went in it and exactly what you are putting on your body. Enjoy! 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. The information presented on this site is for educational and entertainment purposes only. One should always consult with their doctor or medical professional before taking on any sort of major dietary or lifestyle changes.