The Truth About Being Too Clean - Its Making You Sick
In a world where we have antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and we’re taught that we need to be tough on germs and cleanliness protects us against illness from virus and bacteria - it’s possible to be too clean.
You might think this is weird coming from a Registered Nurse! You can read more about my journey to health here.
I’ve also provided a DIY hand sanitizer recipe at the end :)
Let’s talk germs
There is so much new research coming out showing how important a healthy microbiome is to a person’s overall wellness.
The microbiome is "the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space." per Wikipedia.
In a nutshell, the microbiome is the bacteria and other microorganisms that are natural and live in and our body.
Humans are made up of more bacterial cells than human cells. So killing bacteria can cause total chaos for our bodies! Which is why you should only use antibiotics when necessary.
Learn how to have a healthy gut here.
We have more than 10,000 species of microbes in and on our body
‘Those 10,000 or so species have more than 8 million genes, which is more than 300 times the number of human genes...Taking too many antibiotics, our obsession with cleanliness and even maybe the increase in babies being delivered by Caesarean section may disrupt the normal microbiome” (source)
When we disrupt our natural protective bacterial cells, we increase our chances of disease.
Our skin is our biggest organ. It’s our first line of defense against the bad germs. We need our skin microbiome to be in good shape so that it can do it’s job of protecting us.
We knock our natural skin microbiome out of whack when we use antibacterial products.
Antibacterial stuff is filled with toxic ingredients like triclosan, fragrance and sometimes those little scrubby beads.
Triclosan is a common ingredient in antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers. It's a synthetic chemical that contributes to hormone imbalances, asthma, eczema, thyroid issues, a poor immune system and more.
In addition to the antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, it can be found in cosmetics, deodorant, clothing, toothpaste, dish soap and more. It accumulates in fat cells, has been detected in breast milk, and has been found in our water.
Hand sanitizers are also in plastic containers. When plastic claims that it is BPA free, know that the BPA has most likely been replaced with BPS or BPF. (source)
These are new chemicals; however, first reports are showing that BPS/BPF may be 200 times more toxic than BPA. Those chemicals end up leeching into the hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizers and soaps can contain fragrance. Fragrance is made from chemicals. I feel like that's 'nuff said because our body is not meant to come into contact with chemicals. But understanding is important so I'll elaborate.
In the US, there's no regulation on labeling of food or personal care products. Manufacturers that use 'fragrance' on their label can be hiding hundreds of chemicals behind that one word.
I'd like to add that some companies try make fragrance seem natural by saying that it was derived from essential oils or flowers. Don't fall for it!
If the word fragrance is on the ingredient list, you now know without a doubt that there are several chemicals.
Per a report by the Committee on Science and Technology, 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum.
They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxics and sensitizers—capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
Some antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers contain those little scrubby beads.
Those beads are tiny bits of plastic. According to this article, those beads were banned for use in the US in 2015 because 1) all plastic is toxic to living creatures and 2) they were majorly polluting the environment.
Even though these were banned, I’m pretty sure I’ve still seen these beads in products. Be sure to avoid products that contain them.
Not all germs are bad
Research shows that when kids are exposed to more dirt and germs, they have lower rate of allergies and a better immune system. We train our body to fight germs by being exposed to them.
Think of our immune system as our own personal army. We don’t want them going to combat without any training!
The Hygiene Hypothesis explains this beautifully! The hypothesis basically states that kids who grow up on farms that are exposed to dust and germs have a BETTER immune system than those who are wiped down and sanitized.
Get my top 7 tips for an awesome immune system here.
When to use hand sanitizer or wash hands
Of course, there’s an appropriate time to use hand sanitizer or soap. For example, after using a porta potty, when hands are visibly soiled, right before eating, etc.
Whip up a batch of the DIY hand sanitizer recipe below to carry in your bag. You can also use good ole bar soap or a soap pump if it doesn’t contain any of the above mentioned ingredients.
Now put down that antibacterial stuff, and go play outside in the dirt!
Are you a germaphobe? Are you second guessing your use of hand sanitizer? Let me know in the comments!
Peace and wellness -
DIY hand sanitizer
2 oz Glass bottle (like these)
10 drops On Guard essential oil blend (click here)
10 drops Melaleuca essential oil (click here)
2 tbsp Witch hazel (I like this alcohol free brand)
3 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel (click here)
¼ tsp Vitamin E Oil (like this one)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Then use a small funnel to pour into the glass spray bottle. Using glass is important because the essential oils will draw toxins out of plastic.
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Hi! I'm Bri....the wife, mom, RN, and Certified Health Coach behind HippieDippieMom. Read more about me here.
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