Getting Beyond Toxic Personal-Care Products with Vicki Saputo, RN

submitted by: admin on 09/22/2013


In Chapter 1 of A Return to Healing, we tell the true story of how Vicki Saputo, RN (the wife of the author, Len Saputo, MD) faced and then overcame a major life-threatening condition. She had long suffered from delayed recurring allergic reactions and sensitivities to what turned out to be 42 different substances, including various foods, seasonings, pesticides, artificial colorings, and chemicals in personal skin-care products. Because of this challenge, Vicki was forced to research the ingredients not just in her daily intake of food, but also in her personal-care products such as toothpastes, lotions, moisturizers, sunscreens, deodorants, soaps, fragrances, shampoos, cosmetics, etc. In the process, she learned that there were many toxic chemicals in these skin care products, and yet—unlike food—none were covered under FDA regulation. Regardless of government regulation, Vicki at that point decided that—if she ever got over her severe allergies—she would not use toxic personal-care products any more.

Here’s how Vicki explains it: “Our skin is our body’s largest organ and more than 60 percent of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream. We don’t want to absorb topical toxic chemical ingredients that are hormone disruptors, carcinogens, or neurotoxins!” Instead, Vicki recommends organic, natural products which contain no synthetic preservatives, artificial colors (especially FDC’s), chemical fragrances, or chemical additives. “It is important to learn about these ingredients so we can avoid them,” she says.

Vicki has herself engaged in this sort of study for over the past 20 years and has found healthy alternatives. She has become an expert in healthy skin-care products and advises people on how and why to avoid most commercial brands and what to watch out for that can be dangerous. Vicki can save you (both men and women) lots of time and research with her personal list of her favorite alternatives now available from a variety of healthy, organic skin-care lines. To view Vicki's list, please click on the link below.

Vicki's List of Safe Skin Care Products

And please note: Vicki does not sell products herself; she wants to be believable and credible by avoiding conflict of interest. Healthy products can be purchased in health food stores, online, mail order, from reps; or you can make some yourself in your own kitchen! Vicki’s goal is the power of education to prevent illness and to guide people in making healthy choices. Vicki Saputo’s story as told in A Return to Healing motivated Dr. Saputo to change his medical practice to include complementary and alternative medicine. Soon thereafter, they both founded the Health Medicine Forum (non-profit organization) and the Health Medicine Center in Walnut Creek, CA. Her illness and “return to healing” not only changed both of their lives and inspired Dr. Saputo to write his book and change his medical practice; it has also motivated many to live healthy lifestyles. Today Len Saputo, MD and Vicki Saputo, RN are co-hosts for “Prescriptions for Health” radio and “What’s New in the News in Medicine” on Cable television. They are often guests on other shows. Vicki also gives lectures widely on health and toxic skin care.


The FDA doesn't regulate skin care products. A cosmetic manufacturer may use any ingredient without government approval and most of the 25,000 chemicals used, have NOT been tested for long term toxic effects






Vicki's Safe Skin Care Product (Video)

Again, be sure to check out Vicki's Safe Skin Care Product List, but also, you may want to study the two different ingredient lists below so you can be sure to avoid them:


  1. Parabens: Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl parabens
  2. Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)
  3. Formaldehydes: Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
  4. Sodium lauryl sulfate: and/or Laureth Sulfate.
  5. Petrolatum: petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin, etc.
  6. Phthalates: dibutyl phthalate or DBP, Di ethyl hexyl phthalate or DEHP,Diethyl phthalate or DEP. Often
      hidden, such as in parfum, other, or inert ingredients.
  7. Propylene Glycol and PEG, PPG (related synthetics)
  8. PVP/VA Copolymer
  9. Stearalkonium Chloride
10. Synthetic Colors: Any FD&C or D&C
11. Synthetic Fragrances: says "fragrance" on label
12. Talc/Talcum Powder
13. Aluminum/Mercury
14. Polyethylene and Ceteareth -20 (contains formaldehyde/1-4 dioxane)
15. Oxybenzone (in commercial sunscreens)

*And many many more . . . .

Compliments of Vicki Saputo, RN

Personal Care Products to Avoid (Video)


You might be surprised to find that your favorite skin care products contain one or more of these toxic and possibly carcinogenic ingredients. Get a bottle of one of your personal care products and look carefully at the ingredients. Chances are it contains one and, most likely more, of these dangerous ingredients.

These chemicals have many effects on the body.  The definitions of the most common ones, and what effect they have on the body are explained below.

Remember, there are over 25,000 unregulated chemicals in skin care products and here are just a few.

Phenol carbolic acid    Notice the word ACID. Acid in this form can have many serious effects on the body including:  convulsions, paralysis, circulatory collapse, respiratory failure, coma, and yes, even death.

Sodium laurel or Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)   Also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). This is one of the world’s most commonly used poisons. It is found in shampoos, soap and even your toothpaste. It is estimated that over 90% of personal care products contain SLS.  A clue that the product you are using contains SLS or SLES would be the words “coconut-derived”, or “comes from coconut". Sodium laurel sulfate is found in engine degreasers, garage floor cleaners and car washes.  SLS affects the body because it easily penetrates the skin. It breaks down the skin’s moisture barrier and makes it easier for other chemicals to penetrate.  A nitrosamine is a potent carcinogen.  When combined with other chemicals, SLS becomes a nitrosamine. Besides being carcinogenic, SLS can cause hair loss.  So why is it used in most of the shampoos today?

Propylene glycol
   The cosmetic industry uses Propylene glycol to hold fragrance oils and is common in moisturizers. Did you know antifreeze also contains Propylene glycol? It can cause skin irritation, may inhibit skin cell growth, and cause dermatitis. Propylene glycol has been shown to cause liver or kidney abnormalities.

   Dioxane is found in compounds such as ethoxylated alcohols, Polysorbates, PEG, and Laureth. It too is widely used many personal care products.  It is estimated that 57% of baby soaps contain 1,4-dioxane. You may not find dioxane listed because it is considered a by product, and therefore many companies will not include it on the list of ingredients. Easily absorbed into the skin, many dioxane compounds contain the highly volatile 1,4-dioxane.  First reported as a carcinogen in 1965, the National Cancer Institute studies also reported it as carcinogenic in 1978.  Even though dioxane can be easily removed, companies that manufacture personal care products rarely do so simply because they are not REQUIRED to. In the body the liver and the nasal passages are high risk for damage. As a synthetic derivative of coconut, be sure to check labels for the words “derived from coconuts” or “comes from coconut”. 

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum
  Petroleum Jelly was first discovered by men working on oil rigs in 1859. The light colored product we use today was created and patented in 1872. It was made of the same petroleum products as car oil. When applied to the skin it is like putting on a layer of plastic. This can clog your pores and then lead to a build up of toxins and cause a multitude of dermatologic problems. Use of these products can cause earlier signs of aging due to slow cellular development. It is a hormone disruptor and a suspected cause of cancer.

  Have you ever seen the warnings on a can of paint thinner? Danger! Poison! Harmful or fatal if swallowed! Harmful if inhaled, or absorbed through the skin! Found in most synthetic fragrances, toluene is made from petroleum or coal tar. Long term exposure with toluene is linked to liver and kidney damage, lowered blood cell count, and anemia. Researchers have known for many years that exposure may affect a developing fetus. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) contains toluene. Other names may include benzoic and benzyl.

So the next time you reach for that bottle of lotion, shampoo, and even your baby’s soap, think about whether you really want to put these chemicals on your skin. You probably don’t.  There are many natural personal care products made from plants. Choose a product that contains ingredients whose names you can pronounce and even eat.

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