Updated: Jan 29
The largest organ in the body is the skin. I don't think very many people give this a lot of thought but it is a way we both absorb and release toxins so what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in our body. I have been using all natural bath and beauty products for about eight years and finally switched my medicine cabinet out about three years ago. Even though I have been using all-natural, organic products there are still several changes I have had to make since starting Disulfiram. I tend to err on the side of caution because my body is very sensitive and has adverse reactions to many different things but I'm also a rebel that likes to test my limits and experiment with just how strict I have to be!
When using Disulfiram you will need to start reading the labels on all of your bath and beauty products. You will want to read the labels on shampoo and conditioner, soap, shower gel, shaving products, moisturizers, facial skin care, bath products, deodorant, toothpaste and mouthwash, eye drops, hair styling products, hairspray, make up, perfumes and aftershave. Not everyone has adverse reactions to topical alcohols so this is something you could experiment with. If you want to continue using your products until you have a reaction then that is an option.
Alcohol comes in many shapes and forms so the label reading can be a bit tedious but it is better to be safe than sorry. The ingredients you need to be on the look out for tend to end in "ol" but that isn't always the case. Some things that end in "ol" are still safe and there are other ingredients that don't end in that suffix that are not safe. If you go get your hair done at a salon you have to advocate for yourself. I had my hair cut and when I told him he couldn't use any products with alcohol, he assured me there was no alcohol in any of their products. I wasn't convinced so I explained it was a medical issue and any exposure to any form of alcohol was not safe for me so we decided on a dry cut. When I was cashing out I read the labels on all the products they were selling and not a single one was safe to use! I'm glad I didn't blindly trust that he knew what he was talking about. Here are the ingredients to be on the look out for:
Now most plant extracts that you find in beauty products are extracted in alcohol so even though it doesn't say alcohol, when you see the word extract you should think alcohol. But, you will notice extracts tend to be at the end of the ingredient list. This means it is the tiniest ingredient in the whole bottle so I have a hunch that they tend to be okay for most people. I have been using a body wash on occasion that is full of plant extracts and I have had no adverse reactions yet. But, I'm going to give you my dosage so you understand where I am at and the level of medicine in my body compared to where you may be at on your journey. At this moment I have been on the medication for almost nine full weeks. I am 5'10, 138 pounds for reference: week 1-2 62.5mg every third day, week 3-5 62.5 mg every other day, week 6-9 62.5mg two days in a row and one day off. I know I am not taking as big of a dose as many people are so when I say I am not having adverse reactions, please take my low dosage into account. The longer you are on the medicine and the higher the dose you are at, the more interactions you may have.
Another interesting ingredient you will come across is Tocopherol. Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E commonly used as a preservative in natural beauty products but it is a form of alcohol. Similar to the plant extracts, the ingredient will be listed at the very bottom of the list meaning there is very little of the ingredient in the entire bottle you are looking at. I haven't seen any reports of people having adverse reactions to this yet but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened or won't. I just want to educate you on the areas that I feel are safe to take a risk with and I think this is an ingredient that is acceptable. This requires a major lifestyle change and any where we can get away with a little normalcy feels great!
One more thing to be on the look out for: Products that say they are "alcohol free". Please don't buy a product just because the label says alcohol free. They are only referring to ethyl alcohol and it doesn't include all the other forms of alcohol that are commonly found in beauty products. You still have to read the whole label! I have spent time in hair salons, drug stores, Whole Foods, and Target reading the back of every single label trying to find a hair conditioner without alcohol in it and I was completely unsuccessful - I'm still amazed by this.
If you are low on energy like me and have any amount of brain fog, scouring stores and the internet for alcohol free beauty products can feel like way too much work. I am going to share some recipes that are quick and easy to make and you can be 100% sure that they are alcohol and toxin free. I will also share the products that I have bought, but I have to be honest here - I am not a girly girl and I'm very low maintenance so I don't use a lot of products! If you are opting for making your own products here are some recipes:
Deodorant: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup arrowroot powder, 5 T coconut oil, 20 drops essential oil. Mix the dry ingredients first and then add the coconut oil and essential oils to them. The essential oil is optional. There have been reports of people having adverse reactions but I use them a lot in my protocols and have not had any issues. I use the DoTERRA brand because it is certified pure from fillers, heavy metals, and mycotoxins. I'm going to give you a few suggestions and their different benefits but the possibilities are endless.
Grapefruit: Anti-bacterial, Anti-microbial, Anti-septic, Anti-depressant, Boosts Immune System
Lemon: Anti-fungal, Anti-septic, Anti-depressant, Detoxifying, Disinfectant, Energizing,
Lavender: Anti-septic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-fungal, Calming, Relieves Stress, Soothes Skin
You may find other deodorant recipes that have cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder. The benefit of cornstarch is that it is an antiperspirant but where we are all trying to detox to get this disease out of our systems, blocking the sweat glands from releasing toxins is not the best idea.
I am using the Native brand of deodorants. It's sold in several different locations that make it easy for me to buy rather than spend the time on a recipe, but it would save me a little money to make my own! I am buying what is easy to find and making what is hard to find right now. Native has many different scents and they also sell trial size so you can make sure it works first!
Detox Body Scrub: Luckily I have been making these to sell on Etsy for years now so I always have some on hand! I just mix up all the ingredients in a bowl and I put it in a small jar in the shower. You just need a cup of Epsom salt and a quarter cup of coconut oil, then mix it with a spoon or hand mixer until it is thoroughly combined. This is such a versatile recipe. Instead of Epsom salts you could also use sugar or table salt, I just find the Epsom salts are gentle enough to use on my skin daily and have their own benefits. If there is a different oil you like to use on your skin then use that instead of coconut oil. If you want to add in any additional ingredients for benefits you can.You could add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers (for relaxation and stress relief), activated charcoal (for detoxing), or add any essential oils (if those are not giving you issues). I really enjoy the scrub I sell called Relief - that has peppermint and eucalyptus so it wakes me up from the fog and really soothes my body aches. You can use this as a bath soak or a body scrub.
Shampoo: I am just using Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap because it is what I have always used for body wash but it is pretty drying for my hair so I'm about to test out this recipe. I will keep updating this post as I find what works best! For this recipe you just need to pour all the ingredients into the bottle you plan on storing it in and then give it a big shake. You will need 1/4 cup organic canned light coconut milk, 1/4 cup Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronners because it is PURE. I used peppermint flavor, but you can use ANY), 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil, 1/2 teaspoon jojoba oil, 1 tsp vegetable glycerin (adds some body and a foamy characteristic to the shampoo), and if you are okay to use essential oils then I would add 8 drops of Rosemary, 8 drops of Lavender, and 4 drops of Tea Tree oil to help promote healthy hair.
Conditioner: I have been unable to find a conditioner without alcohol in any store I have been to and I don't seem to have the mental focus/energy to dig through Amazon and look through every ingredient label. This is a simple recipe with only four ingredients! Pour 3 tablespoons of coconut milk into a container. Dilute the milk with an equal quantity of distilled water. I don’t recommend using tap water, as the impurities in it will shorten the shelf life of the conditioner. Add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil. Add 15 drops of lavender essential oil (optional).
Toothpaste: I have continued using my regular toothpaste from DoTERRA called OnGuard. It has a blend of essential oils in it that boost your immune system but one of those is cinnamon so I am not sure if I will be able to continue to use it as the medication builds up in my body and if we increase the dosage. If I have to switch it out at some point, this is the recipe I am going to try because it is simple and has ingredients that help with detoxing.
Mix 4 tbsp baking soda with 1 tbsp bentonite clay. In a seperate bowl, mix 2 tbsp aloe vera gel, 1 tsp water, 1 tsp peppermint oil (optional), and 10 drops of stevia extract. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork. Please make sure your stevia extract is alcohol free!
I will keep adding more DIY recipes as I continue this journey. If you have any requests, let me know! I know I included essential oils in most of the recipes and this may not be doable for everyone. I just gain so much benefit from using them that I am not willing to cut them out unless I start having a reaction. I also created a small Amazon shop of products that are safe to use. Some of the Dr. Bronner's soaps and chapsticks do contain essential oils but the rest of the products are essential oil free and I carefully looked at each ingredient label so you don't have to! I feel like this drug creates a lot of fear. We read about all these horrible reactions and terrible side effects that make us feel ridiculously restricted and unsure of how to proceed safely. But I think that if your doctor has you going the slow and low route (like they should!) then you have time to experiment as the drug builds up in your body to try to stick to as much of a normal routine as possible. I see posts once in awhile from people in the support groups that haven't changed much of their old routine and seem to be getting away with it. That gave me a little permission to stop being so fearful and I feel a little more open to experimenting with things. We all know we are just a bunch of guinea pigs so if you are going to let a doctor experiment on you then you might as well follow your own intuition and experiment on yourself too! Good luck on this crazy journey, I hope this information was helpful.
Check out my blog post and YouTube video to learn a Shower Routine for Detoxification & Pain Relief
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