Safer Skin-Care

From a fertility standpoint, the main chemicals to watch out for in skin care and hair care products are:

  • “Fragrance”: This is often a cocktail of chemicals including prohibited phthalates. Natural essential oil fragrance is typically not a problem
  • Parabens (propylparaben, butylparaben; ethylparaben; butylparaben)
  • Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Some good fragrance-free and paraben-free products available on Amazon:


Many conventional skin-care brands make moisturizers that are free of fragrances and parabens (such as Olay Total Effects and LaRoche Posay).  If you would like to go one step further and choose a product that is primarily based on natural ingredients, a good choice is HoneySkin Organics Aloe Vera + Honey Face and Body Cream. The first five ingredients are Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Manuka Honey, and Shea Butter. Once absorbed it is very light (perhaps too light for those with dry skin). It costs around $15 for 2oz or $25 for 4 oz.

Other great brands with natural ingredients are Acure and Andalou Naturals


Since cleansers are rinsed away and the ingredients are unlikely to be absorbed in a significant amount, any fragrance free cleanser should be fine to use. I particularly like  HoneySkin Organics Cleanser and Free and Clear Liquid Cleanser

Body Lotion

Choosing a body lotion with clean ingredients should be a high priority, given that it is applied over a large surface area and you are therefore more likely to absorb any chemicals present in a larger amount.

My favorite body lotions with clean ingredients include: Everyone, ShiKai Borage Therapy Advanced Dry Skin Lotion, Beautycounter, and Puracy.

The Everyone 3-in-1 lotion is a nice light, quickly absorbed lotion, while ShiKai is richer and great for very dry and irritated skin. As of Dec. 2018, Puracy has changed their formula and while it is still natural and non-toxic, some do not like the new texture. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.


It is best to choose a sunscreen that uses physical filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, rather than chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.   Good choices include EltaMD UV Physical Broad Spectrum and Blue Lizard Sensitive.


There are now many brands of natural deodorant that are made without artificial fragrances, parabens or aluminum. The problem is finding one that actually works well, without staining clothes or leaving chalky residue. I highly recommended crystal-based deodorants, such as those by Crystal Essence or Crystal Body, while I many other people swear by Native deodorant.

Make Up

Replacing make-up is a much lower priority than replacing skin care, because a smaller amount is used and so you are less likely to absorb significant amounts of any chemicals used. Make up is also typically fragrance-free.  If you do decide to replace your make-up, the highest priorities are foundation and lipstick. Burts Bees and Beautycounter are good brands to consider.

Nail Polish 

The best option is to avoid nail polish altogether, but safer brands include SOPHI and Piggy Paint.

Laundry and Cleaning

To further minimize exposure to phthalates, it is helpful to replace laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies with fragrance-free and non-toxic products. For cleaning products, good brands include Seventh Generation and Better Life.  For laundry, choose any free and clear detergent and skip fabric softener.


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