Thursday, November 17, 2011

Would you bathe with Formaldehyde?

Would you bathe or clean with Formaldehyde? You may be doing just that!
by Dr Desai
Dr. Desai is dedicated to educating consumers about the dangers that we may bring into our homes or use on our bodies every day.  Dr. Desai has been trying to inform his clients of the dangers of some ingredients used in soaps, shampoos and other products that we trust and use daily. These may be products that we have used for years, that we may assume to be safe because they are on a store shelf and legally available for purchase by the public.  Some of these products contain DMDM Hydantoin which is a widely used preservative in many of our personal hygiene products, household cleaners and more.  DMDM Hydantoin releases Formaldehyde[1].  Formaldehyde is never listed on the ingredients because it is the use of a precursor such as DMDM Hydantoin that releases formaldehyde.  There are not many individuals that would knowingly apply formaldehyde to their skin regardless of its effectiveness as an antimicrobial.  Formaldahyde is known to cause dermatitis and eczema.  DMDM Hydantoin is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative with the trade name Glydant.  It is a Chemical compound belonging to a class of compounds known as hydantoins.  It is used in the cosmetics industry as a preservative because the formaldehyde makes the environment less favorable to the microorganisms.  There are more dangers to using a product on your skin that releases formaldehyde, including the danger of cancer.  Formaldehyde has recently been declared a carcinogen and listed in the 12th Report on Carcinogens[2], compiled by the National Toxicology Program(NTP)under the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).  This may be a step in the right direction, but this does not mean the DMDM Hydantoin will no longer be found in your soaps, shampoos, or hair gel.  This just means that the listing of formaldehyde potential carcinogenic will be available to the public. There has been no ban on the use of formaldehyde releasing preservatives or formaldehyde itself, at least not yet.
We may not be able to do anything about the formaldehyde that’s in the wood that our houses may have been built with, but we can take control of the choices that we make when it comes to the products that we use.  We can also join The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which recently announced the introduction of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (H.R.2359), which would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to ensure that all personal care products, from shampoo to lipstick, are free of harmful ingredients and that all ingredients in the product are disclosed.  Existing law, which has not been updated since 1938, has loopholes that allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses in products we use on our bodies every day.  If you haven't yet, please ask your Representative to co-sponsor this important bill! It takes a minute to log onto the web site for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at  and forward your request for their support of this bill.  This bill will help to protect the average consumer from hidden dangers and may force the reform of the cosmetic industry to stop using harmful ingredients.  You can visit the Household Product Safety website at for a list of products that contain DMDM Hydantoin.  Not all products that contain DMDM Hydantoin are guaranteed to be listed, so always check the ingredient label on your personal care products in addition to doing your own research.  If you do not understand the ingredients used in your favorite personal care products, feel free to post your questions on via “Ask Dr. Desai” at

[1] reference
[2] C&EN, Chemical & Engineering News, June 20, 2011, page 11

Tips For Winter Skin Care

How can I survive winter skin?
By Dr. Desai

Many suffer from the harsh conditions of winter. Spending time outside in blistery cold temperatures and frigid wind can wreak havoc on your skin.  And, when you come indoors the coldest parts of your body, hands and feet become red and itchy. Remaining indoors in a heated home can also cause damaging results since the air is dry.  And, if you have eczema or psoriasis it gets worse. We may wash our hands more often due to risk of colds and flu during the winter, as a result dryer skin.  Don’t fret, there is hope. Following these simple tips can dramatically improve your dry skin condition during those cold weather months:

1)      Avoid moisture stripping facial or personal care products such as chemical astringents, alcohol containing lotions or facial masks.

2)      Avoid hot tubs and saunas. 

3)      Use a humidifier to keep your house and skin hydrated.

4)      Hydrate from the inside by drinking adequate water while minimizing consumption of alcohol or caffeinated beverages.

5)      Use personal care products that have natural ingredients or oils such as avocado oil, olive oil, camellia seed oil or almond oil.

6)      For dry cracked heels, wash with warm water and sea salts removing dead skin.  Followed by Vaseline or your favorite natural foot cream.

7)      Apply avocado oil, camellia seed oil or your favorite natural moisturizing cream to your hands and feet at bedtime. Then place a comfortable lightweight pair of socks or gloves on your hands and/or feet.

8)      Use sunscreen – yes, you need it in the winter as well – sunlight and glare reflects off of snow/ice to intensify sun radiation.

9)      Use gentle soaps such as goat’s milk soap instead of soaps containing chemical detergents which can strip your skin of its natural oils.

10)   Exercise often to maintain proper circulation and stay in shape.  In other words, staying physically active will help your skin radiant.

11)   Dress warm in layered clothing and minimize prolonged exposure to cold blustery winds.  Cover as much exposed skin as possible.  Cold temperatures will cause any exposed skin to chafe.

12)   Use of skin products containing Retinol A could cause your skin to get too dry and exfoliated in the winter.  Caution is advised while continuing their use in the winter months.

13)   Always consult your physician for additional advice.

For additional information on any of Dr. Desai’s moisturizing Ayurvedic goat’s milk soaps, please visit

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Caution on Antibacterial Products

Triclosan, found in many personal and home products under EPA investigation.

Triclosan has been used for its antibacterial properties for more than 30 years, starting out as a surgical scrub. Since then, this synthetic, broad-spectrum, antimicrobial agent has become increasingly popular in personal hygiene products. Unfortunately, triclosan has also recently drawn a lot of regulatory, congressional, and media scrutiny.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D. Mass.) has sent inquiries to both the EPA and the FDA because of his concern that antibacterial products are not only ineffective, but cause risks to human health and the environment. He received responses from both organizations indicating that additional research is warranted on the negative health ramifications of daily contact with the agent triclosan. (For more detailed information on this, see the Chemical and Engineering News site:
In Pesticides and You, the author of The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A Common Antibacterial Agent Exposed, Aviva Glaser stated, “Studies have increasingly linked triclosan to a range of health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistant, and dioxin contamination to destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.” (See beyondpesticides. org/pesticides/factsheets/Triclosan%20cited.pdf for Glaser’s entire fact sheet.)
Triclosan is not only found in personal hygiene products, but is contained in toothpaste, cosmetics, deodorant, and shows up under other names in products such as countertops, kitchenware, clothing, and plastic toys.

(For a complete list of products that contain triclosan visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and reference the Household Products Database at brands?tbl=chem&id=201.)