Cleaning Up My Beauty Routine: Why Investing in Your Health Makes Sense

A few months ago I learned that the beauty products I’d used for years contained well-known carcinogens (things that cause cancer). Because cancer runs in my family, I immediately researched safer alternatives to those products and invested nearly $100 in replacing everything. I came home with new shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, BB cream–you name it. For the cost of what some people spend on a haircut, going out to eat on the weekend, or bi-weekly manicures, I’d managed to (hopefully) eliminate a hefty amount of toxins going into my body. In time, I also swapped out most of my cleaning products.

This isn’t the sort of investment that everyone can afford to make up front. I acknowledge this and apologize to anyone who is reading this and thinking “If only I could do that!” However, if you have the ability to redirect your cash flow, I recommend putting it towards your health now so that you don’t have to later.

Once a serious illness strikes, the cost of copays, testing, medication, surgery, deductibles, remediation, etc. is significantly greater than the cost of taking charge of your health now. Aside from that is the cost associated with decreased quality of living. Whether it’s the stress of dealing with appointments or missing out on activities you once enjoyed, an unhealthy body can make for miserable mental health too. The truth is, it’s generally much easier to prevent health problems than it is to reverse them.

My husband is a physical therapist and sees a lot of patients that are convinced their bodies have turned against them…The truth is, many of them turned against their bodies years ago by not taking care of it when they had the chance. For some, this is due to a lack of education– nutrition, for instance, is a topic often glazed over in medical school, let alone in grades K-12. For many of us though, we know what is and isn’t good for us, and we make excuses as to why we are doomed to be unhealthy. Even those of us who are plagued by conditions beyond our control usually have things we could do to mitigate the symptoms and/or complications. But do we? Not always.

I don’t know whether my shift in beauty products will actually prevent cancer or other diseases. Nor do I know whether investing in healthy eating and exercising regularly-ish will help (genetics and other lifestyle factors play a role.) What I do know is that I’m at least trying to mitigate my risk. And you should too. 

Start slowly with free lifestyle shifts such as exercising (yep I said it.) or taking time to improve your mental health like with reading, talking to a friend, or doing other relaxing activities. Then see where there’s room in your budget to make healthy additions and swaps…like adding fresh fruit to your cereal, eating less fast food, or using products free of PFAS (forever chemicals that are linked to all sorts of nasty stuff).

Start taking care of yourself now, and your future self may thank you. If something bad does happen, you’ll at least have peace of mind knowing you did everything you could to prevent it. And maybe, just maybe, it won’t be as bad as it could have been had you gone into it in terrible shape.

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