Post Workout Soak? Great…But What Are You Soaking In?

It’s only one week after a big race, so I’ve been taking it easy.  More stretching, no intensity and lots of just tuning into the body and listening to what it needs. So yesterday, for example, after a short, aerobic ride in the fall So Cal temps, I came home feeling a bit chilly.    Nothing sounded better than a warm bath.  Plus, I thought, why not add some bath salts into the mix? Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to stock up on Epsom Salts,  so I had a quick look in my cabinet to see what samples or hotel-sized toiletries I might have on hand to fill the void. I realized I hadn’t taken an assessment of what I had in that little bin, as it’s turned into a catch-all of sorts, under my bathroom vanity, so I decided to have a good look and see what I could find. Bingo! There was an array of some of the Le Labo products I’d kept from the last time we stayed at the Fairmont, including a small package of their Rose 31 bath grains. I loved their scent, as well as some of the things they’d mentioned on their website, including: “We believe that there are too many bottles of perfume and not enough soulful fragrances”, “We believe the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created and the attention with which it is prepared” and my favorite, “We believe it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals”. I’d always thought of them as a brand I admired, and was happy to use. But now, I know too much. I had to check to see what exactly was in that little package of bath salts before soaked myself in it! Oh, dear. Here we go: Sea Salt (ok, cool, no biggie), parfum (here we go), mineral oil (nice ), BHT, limonene, alpha-isomethyl ionone, linalool, citronella and geraniol. Parfum:  we don’t really know what this is.  But it ranks an 8 on the Skin Deep Database.  So, I think that says it all. Mineral oil: colorless and odorless oil, made from petroleum—as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline Alpha-isomethyl ion one: suspected to be an environmental toxin. Suddenly that soak in salt  I wanted became very unappealing; a shower followed by a hot water soak sounded just fine… and a heck of a lot safer. Here’s what makes it even trickier.  Le Labo, and hundreds (more?) of other companies in the personal care product category aren’t even doing anything wrong. This is all legal and by the books. We are living in an antiquated time in the US when it comes to laws dictating what’s safe, what’s not and what we as consumers need to know about what we’re not just exposing ourselves to, but slathering all over or soaking ourselves in. Do your homework, test your products, go the DIY route if you have the time and interest but most importantly, educate. This is the only way we can empower and create change, starting from what we do in our very own homes.