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Environmental Toxins

  • Best Salons in the US for Pregnant Women

    When you’re pregnant, your highest priority becomes taking care of your growing little one. Taking care of yourself is crucial, too! But when you want to pamper yourself with a trip to salon, it can be hard to know which ones are safe to frequent while you’re expecting. We’ve tracked down salons nation-wide that have gained reputations as agreeable to expectant mamas. It’s best to speak with your doctor about the safety of specific hair and beauty treatments during pregnancy. Craft your personal do and do-not list to bring with you as you book your next appointment. When you’re ready for a trip to the salon, there are fantastic picks across the country for you to choose from.

    Breathe clean in Hale Salon: New York, New York. Touted as the most environmentally friendly salon in NYC, countless expectant mothers come here with peace of mind. It’s a clean-air salon, which is particularly blissful when you’re living in the Manhattan area. Hairspray and similar products are off-limits, save for a specially designated room. The salon’s mission revolves around clean living, so the products they use are thoroughly vetted to be the most natural and clean they can find, including some vegan products. The rave reviews for Hale aren’t only for their nontoxic environs, but also the gorgeous beauty work they do. For the eco-minded, Hale Salon could become a main fixture even after the baby is born.

    Evolve your pregnancy style Evolve Hair and Art: Seattle, Washington. With an all-inclusive passion for holistic living, Evolve is an organic salon in the heart of the Emerald City. The products used here are the purest available, and even the hair color is organic and clean. Maintaining a toxin-free environment is a priority, and the stylists here are passionate about their mission. Customers call Evolve a peaceful and health-conscious place to be, which means you’ll be in like-minded company while you’re there.

    Blend style and substance at Garbo: Austin, Texas. Garbo is a salon and spa in Austin with a reputation for excellent service and an eco-conscious mindset. While you’re getting your hair done, you can relax knowing that the products used here will be as safe for your baby as for yourself. The award-winning salon is not only known for its cutting-edge style work, but also for its dedication to being green. Garbo also offers skin services and facial treatments, and remember to check with a doctor before you book your trip, to be sure about which treatments are pregnancy-approved.

    My Hair Trip Salon gives an offbeat, but eco-conscious, experience: Denver, Colorado. If you’re in Denver, book at appointment at the city’s most-frequented certified green and organic salon. The 5-star rated salon boasts hair stylists, but also a commitment to using organic, chemical-free products for every stage of haircare. An earnest commitment to nontoxic products and sustainable haircare choices makes My Hair Trip a special place to enjoy a pre-baby haircut or hair treatment. The offbeat salon also sells art, jewelry, and apparel, and with the clean-living environment, you’ll feel comfortable lingering and browsing in the stunningly green-designed long after your appointment is over.

    Go for the full treatment at Asha SalonSpa: Chicago, Illinois. Asha focuses on a natural approach to haircare and style, which makes this salon a worry-free choice for your haircare needs. Not only is their all-natural philosophy attractive for salon treatments, they also offer a stellar array of prenatal spa packages. With options like gentle mother-to-be massages, hydrating belly treatments, and prenatal waxing, this is a must-stop destination before the baby arrives. They also have a mother-friendly attitude: childcare (for children 8 weeks and older) is available for you during your time at the SalonSpa, just be sure to make a reservation first. Enjoy the eco-conscious spirit of Asha while you’re expecting, and you’ll want to make yourself a regular customer post-baby, too.

    Salon NOVO is your Bay Area pick: Sonoma, California. Sonoma County’s first eco-friendly certified salon, Salon NOVO makes green hair care hip. The main mission of the salon is to “detoxify the salon experience,” which makes it a comforting choice during pregnancy. They use a selection of the best all-natural hair, body, and skin care and are enthusiastic about their choices, which means they’ll tell you all about them if you’d like to know specifics. The salon receives rave reviews for their work, so you don’t need to feel like you’re trading quality for peace of mind.

    Go to Maria Heckscher Salon for an afternoon of care: Atlanta, Georgia. At MH Salon, going clean and green is a full-on philosophy that you and your bump can get behind. They are so dedicated to an eco-conscious (and pregnancy-friendly) environment, even the hand towels are made of soft, sustainable bamboo. The salon uses organic and all-natural hair products so as you’re maintaining your look, you can be certain that unwanted toxins will be avoided. Maria Heckscher Salon also has a boutique and cafe to spend a few blissful hours truly enjoying in worry-free relaxation.

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  • Why We Should Avoid Microbeads

    For the past decade, “microbeads” have been ubiquitous in the world of personal care products; these round, plastic particles are an exfoliation ingredient in everything from toothpastes to facial scrubs.

    Unfortunately, because of their tiny size, they wash right down the drain, through wastewater filtration systems and, finally, into lakes, rivers and oceans. There, they harm the marine animals that mistake the beads for food and humans often eat these fish who have consumed microbeads, ingesting plastic and the harmful toxins therein. Public water utilities filter and treat water to remove impurities before it is sent to our faucets. However, these processes often do not remove microbeads. In short, microbeads are far from the friendly little scrubbers they’ve been made out to be. In fact, by the end of 2015, 8 trillion microbeads were entering America’s aquatic habitats each day. (That’s enough to cover the surface area of 300 tennis courts.)

    In response to environmental advocacy efforts, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 on December 28th, 2015. The bipartisan bill prohibits the manufacture and distribution of microbeads – defined as any plastic particle smaller than five millimeters in diameter— and hundreds of personal care brands will need to phase them out of their products by July 1, 2017, when the bill’s enforcement will take effect.  In the meantime, you can get a jump-start on solving the microbead problem by avoiding any products that contain the harmful pellets. (The International Campaign Against Microbeads in Cosmetics has compiled a list of these products here.)

    The easiest way to avoid products that are harmful to the environment and to you is to choose brands that avoid those ingredients for you, opting for all-natural, plant-based options.  This is why we created Nine Naturals’ line of pregnancy-safe body care products provide for luxurious (and safe) showering, nourishing your skin and hair and keeping your baby and the planet healthy, too.

    Our Citrus + Geranium Soothing Pregnancy Body Wash keeps skin clean and fresh with natural surfactants (no microbeads here!), and avocado oil and cupuaçu butter soften and moisturize even the driest, stretched skin, keeping it soft and supple. (Your growing belly will thank you.) Gentle enough for daily use during pregnancy in bath or shower, this creamy body wash –like all Nine Naturals products–is sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, BPA-free, triclosan-free, DEA-free, petrochemical-free and contains no artificial chemicals, dyes or synthetic fragrances. When it comes to personal care during pregnancy and beyond, as well as protecting the planet, it’s a win-win.

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  • Is Charcoal Safe for Pregnancy?

    Why to indulge (or steer clear) of this wellness trend during pregnancy.

    Article & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    We’ve been hearing the buzz about activated charcoal for a little while now, but what about activated charcoal for pregnancy? While we’re excited about the prospects of this cutting-edge wellness trend — cleansing, toxin-removing, complexion-improving and more — when it comes to pregnancy, it’s not always best to be on the cutting edge.

    “There are very few studies investigating the safety of charcoal use in pregnancy, and it hasn’t been assigned a FDA pregnancy category for safety,” says Cara Dolin, MD, OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow at NYU Langone Medical Center. (Activated charcoal is basically common charcoal that’s been heated to help develop internal spaces to trap chemicals.)

    But she continues, “Since charcoal isn’t systemically absorbed it probably doesn’t result in any significant exposure or harm to your baby if you eat or drink it. There is even less potential exposure if you use it in cosmetics or toothpaste.”

    Below, we dig into the safety and effectiveness of activated charcoal for pregnancy, both on and in your body. And as with any health or wellness trend, talk to your doctor or midwife before giving it a try.


    Digestive Cleanse
    Product to Try: Dirty Lemon Raw Detox, which is made from a mixture of activated charcoal, pure, cold-pressed lemon juice, dandelion extract, ginger root extract, and filtered water. $65/1 weeks’ worth of juice.
    What it does: Absorb and soak up toxins and other materials and pull them out through the digestive tract. The ginger and dandelion root can help with morning sickness or nausea, too.
    What the experts say: “The source of the activated charcoal (in Dirty Lemon) is organic coconut shell, so you can feel safe and comfortable with its sourcing; along with the raw, cold pressed organic lemon juice,” says Dr. Laurie Brodsky, Naturopathic Doctor and expert for Dirty Lemon. “As with any cold pressed, unpasteurized juice, it is wise to be aware of the theoretical risks while pregnant, considering a weakened immune system against all kinds of foreign invaders. That being said, the dosage of charcoal is very low, yet highly therapeutic in the sense that in small, spread out dosages, you will still greatly benefit from its powerfully absorbing and cleansing mode of action.”
    How to use it: “If pregnant and planning to use it as a simple, cleansing part of your routine, then it is best to drink it in small dosages (through a straw!) throughout the day to see how you feel. I usually recommend sipping the juice away from food, medications and supplements by at least a couple of hours, but depending on your diet and how often you eat/snack, that may vary,” says Brodsky. “As with all pregnancies, I suggest that you tune into your body to see how you feel physically upon sipping.”
    Verdict: Sure, but with caution. Since charcoal binds to other substances in your stomach, it will decrease the absorption of your prenatal vitamin (or anything you eat around the time you take it), notes our OBGYN friend Dolin. Also, look out for unpleasant side effects, she says, such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation and even possible bowel obstruction.

     

    Teeth Whitening
    Product to Try: Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal Capsules, $6.99
    What it does: While activated charcoal won’t change the natural color of your teeth, it is said to help remove surface stains from coffee, tea, wine and even plaque. The fine powder is odorless, tasteless and safe to ingest.
    How to use it: Pick up some activated charcoal tablets, then break them into a cup. Mix with a tiny bit of water to form a paste-like consistency. Dab it on your teeth then wait a few minutes and rinse. But don’t scrub!
    What the experts say: “People don’t know how abrasive this stuff is and that it causes damage to the enamel if you brush with it. And there’s not enough information out there that convinces me that this really works. I haven’t seen anyone with major staining try it. I personally wouldn’t use it,” says Melissa Labbe, a registered dental hygienist at the Dr. Louis Spiegelman dental practice in New York. When it comes to pregnancy, she continues, “activated charcoal can have side effects when not used properly if ingested. Why take that chance of having problems during your pregnancy?”
    Verdict: Probably not. The American Dental Association has not approved it as an official tooth whitener, and the effects are still iffy. Why bother?



    Skin Detox
    Product to Try: SoapBox Elements Black Body Wash, which is made from activated charcoal, coconut oil, olive oil, aloe, and essential oils $8.99
    What it does: In this body wash, activated charcoal serves as a super-porous element that attracts toxins and purifies skin. Activated charcoal has been known to improve complexion and clear up acne, issues that can plague pregnancy skin.
    What the experts say: “Activated Charcoal absorbs toxins and draws it out of your skin,” Ildi Pekar,  facialist to lovely ladies like Miranda Kerr and supermodel Irina Shayk. “This, in turn, helps it to heal.”
    How to use it: Scrub yourself down in the shower. Go ahead, give your belly a little extra massage. You deserve it.
    Verdict: Yes!

    This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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    • Top Places Lurking With Unexpected Toxins

      Whether you’re a mom-to-be or a mom of three, keeping your home free of harmful chemicals is a top priority. Even if you’ve switched to organic produce, natural cleaning products, and BPA-free plastics, there could be toxins hiding in unexpected places. Don’t worry, Nine Naturals is here to help you keep your family happy and healthy. We’ve compiled a list of things to watch out for next time you’re at the store. Be sure to read labels closely, and keep an eye out for these ingredients.

      Sulfates In Toothpaste: You may have heard of sulfates in your shampoo, but did you know sulfates can also be found in your toothpaste? Sulfates, such as Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), are the ingredients that cause toothpaste to foam while you brush. They may reduce the amount of fluoride absorbed into tooth enamel, not to mention, they are carcinogenic, and have been shown to disrupt hormonal balance, incite reproductive and developmental concerns, and seriously pollute the environment. Opt for sulfate-free toothpaste, like Tom’s Clean & Gentle Toothpaste and brush easy!

      Flame Retardants In Furniture: In theory, flame-retardants are meant delay the production of flames. Until the 1970s, TDCPP was the primary chemical used as a flame retardant in children’s clothing. While TDCPP can no longer be used in clothing, it is currently used in a variety of goods, including household furniture and children’s cribs. Several studies suggest that TDCPP may be carcinogenic, as well as a disruptor of early development. Review product labels carefully before purchasing products known to contain flame retardants. If you are unsure, reach out to the brand directly!

      Triclosan In Soap: We use antibacterial soaps, gels and wipes multiple times of day, especially during the winter. However, triclosan, an ingredient added to many soaps to prevent bacteria, may be harmful. Exposure to this synthetic pesticide has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, liver damage, and other health problems. Switch to a regular or all-natural soap, like Nine Naturals Citrus + Geranium Soothing Body Wash and make sure to wash as often as possible. When washing your hands, 20 seconds of scrubbing is the most effective way to keep you and your family healthy!

      Parabens In Food: Before you indulge in that Sunday morning pancake breakfast or reach for that snack bar, take a closer look at the ingredients! Certain foods such as maple syrups, soft drinks, and frozen dairy products may contain parabens, which are synthetic, chemical preservatives used to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in products. You can locate them in the ingredient list, sneakily labeled under one of the following names: methyl-, ethyl-, and propyl-parabens. Studies have shown that parabens are hormone disruptors. They behave like estrogen in the body, thus, interfering with normal hormone functions, which can lead to developmental and reproductive complications. Reading labels carefully in the supermarket is the easiest way to eliminate parabens from your pantry.

      Parabens In Sunscreen: Speaking of parabens, don’t forget to look for them in your sun protection! While lathering up and protecting everyone from UVA/UVB rays is important, you should be using a natural sunscreen. However, not all sunscreens labeled “natural” or “free” are paraben-free. Navigate the complicated ingredient list by referring to the Environmental Working Group’s guide to sunscreen. The site grades the best and worst options available and provides an simple breakdown of all the ingredients listed. Try Nine Naturals SPF 32 Natural Sunscreen for a paraben-free option, fortified with Non-Nano Zinc Oxide. For more information on how to stay safe in the sun, check out Nine Naturals Busting Sunscreen Myths: Staying Safe Under UV Rays.

      Navigating a market full of toxins can be challenging and we need to take extra care to eliminate any harmful chemicals in our homes, but in the long run, it will keep everyone feeling their very best.

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    • How to Limit Toxins When You’re Traveling

      During pregnancy, it’s fairly easy to limit your toxin intake at home. You can eat foods (especially those pregnancy superfoods) and use products you’ve researched and know to be safe and healthy.

      Traveling is a different story, since it introduces an unknown factor. However, a commitment to a clean, healthy pregnancy doesn’t stop when you get in a car or on a plane. Here are a few tips for maintaining your standards on the road:

      1. Plan Your Meals: Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, or train, look ahead to see what’s available when it’s time to eat. Search for restaurants ahead of time with menus that offer organic, local produce & grass-fed, hormone-free meat and poultry.
      2. Pack Healthy Snacks: It’s a good idea to pack a few clean snacks, in case travel is delayed and you aren’t able to get to your choices when you’d hoped. Organic fruits or all natural snack bars are easy to pack and can help prevent you from making an unhealthy choice. We love Bundle Organic juices & Credible Craving snack bars!
      3. Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen: No matter where your travels take you, an all-natural sunscreen is a must. When on the go, most people spend more time out and about than they might in normal circumstances. Daily application is the best way to protect your skin (even during the cold winter months!) but many brands include chemicals that aren’t safe, especially during pregnancy. Be sure your sunscreen is made with all-natural, toxin-free ingredients. Nine Naturals Natural Sunscreen SPF 32 is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and is safe for mom, baby & the entire family!
      4. Take Your Favorite Beauty Products With You. Hotels will offer shampoo, conditioner, soap, and so on, but often the brands they choose include toxins that are unsafe for pregnancy, such as parabens or phthalates.  Nine Naturals Travel Gift Set includes everything you need to pamper yourself without unnecessary artificial chemicals, fragrances, and BPA. The kit comes in a reusable, PVC hemp travel bag that will fit nicely in your carry-on.
      5. Stay Hydrated. It’s easy to get dehydrated on the road, but drinking at least 64 oz. of water will help flush anything unnecessary from your system as quickly as possible. Your energy levels will be higher and your skin will look fresher, so keep a BPA-free water bottle (preferably with a built-in filter) with you and fill it often.

      Safe, happy and healthy travels!

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    • BPA—What it is, How to Avoid it

      Google “BPA news” and the laundry list of articles that pops up is enough to take any pregnant woman’s breath away. Just last week, the presence of BPA (or bisphenol A) has been linked to breathing problems in kids with prenatal exposure to the chemical. So – what exactly is it, and why does it pose such a danger?

      BPA is an industrial chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. This means the chemical is often found in water bottles, food can linings, bottle tops, baby bottles – even water supply lines and dental sealants. If a bottle or food container has a #7 stamped on the bottom, it is likely to contain BPA.

      Since a small amount of packaging materials can migrate into the food and drink it contains, especially if the container is heated, there has been an increased public awareness about the safety of ingesting the chemical. According to the FDA, there have been many exploratory studies on the dangers that BPA present. These studies link BPA exposure to a variety of health problems such as reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

      During pregnancy, it’s especially important to avoid exposure to BPA as it can impact your health and your baby’s health. Minimize BPA exposure by:

      1. Avoid eating canned Fruits and Veggies, And Instead Opt For Fresh: Because BPA lines the cans in which these foods are packaged, you’re better off avoiding them. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so much healthier and tastier anyway, so opt for heading to your local farmer’s market and grabbing what’s in season!
      2. Skip Drinking Water That’s Bottled In Plastic: Instead, go for glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottles.
      3. Don’t Microwave Your Food In hard Plastic Containers: Much has been made in the news lately about polycarbonate plastics seeping into food when heated. To be safe, store your food in glass, stainless steel or BPA-free containers and never put plastic in the microwave. If non-plastic substitutes are unavailable, follow this rhyme to help you remember which plastics are safer: 4, 5, & 2 – all the rest are bad for you!
      4. Avoid Smoking And Secondhand Smoke: Yes, this is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Women who were exposed to secondhand smoke had higher BPA concentrations than those who weren’t.

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