How toxic is your Christmas night out?

As the festive season approaches, most of us are looking forward to at least one party or night out with family, friends and colleagues. It’s a fun filled time of year, and it’s so important to enjoy the sense of warmth and connection that these events can bring us in the darkest depths of winter.

However, beneath the glitz and glamour of these occasions lie unsuspected hazards, particularly in the toxic substances commonly found in personal care products and indulgences like alcohol, smoking, and vaping. From shower gels to hairspray and makeup to the temptations of excessive drinking and smoking, the toxic overload can have profound implications on our health, often overlooked in the excitement of the moment.

That said, life is all about balance and we should never strive to be too strict with ourselves – ‘Life is for living’, as they say! Let’s look at how we can prioritise fun and festivities while mitigating some of the harmful effects of our galavanting!

All the best nights out start with solid preparation. A shower with soapy suds of shampoo and body wash can hide parabens, sulphates, and phthalates. These chemical nasties can lead to hormonal imbalances, skin irritation, and even disrupt the endocrine system. We all love luxuriating in the shower or bath but it’s important to make smart choices when it comes to products. Look for organic, or sulphate and paraben free alternatives.

Next, comes the make up! For many of us, this is an essential part of looking and feeling our best. Again, we need to make wise choices when it comes to what we put on our skin, as so much is absorbed into the body. Many popular cosmetic products harbour toxins such as heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury) and synthetic fragrances. These may trigger allergic reactions and negatively impact our skin and overall health. Prolonged exposure to these toxins, especially when layered on the skin for extended periods during celebrations, can accumulate and burden the body's detoxification pathways, potentially leading to systemic issues over time.

So, what can we do to limit the risk without compromising on quality? Make up and personal care products have thankfully improved so much in recent years, as we become more and more aware of the impact of toxins. Look for natural and organic alternatives. Jane Iredale is an example of mineral based make up which is pure and less harmful, and there are many others on the market too.

Deodorant is especially important to look at, as it is applied to vulnerable, freshly shaved skin. Look for aluminium-free formulations, or even better a natural alternative such as Salt of The Earth (pure salt crystal), Wild or Fussy. Again, there are so many more brands now on the market.

The arrival of the ‘Yuka’ app on the market is especially encouraging. In case you haven’t already discovered it, it’s a way to assess the harmful additives in both food and personal care products. Simply scan the barcode of the product, and Yuka will give you a rating from 1 (terrible) to 100 (excellent) depending on how harmful it is to your health. It helps us to make better choices by suggesting alternative products to consider. There are some real eye-opening discoveries on there – definitely worth downloading!

Once your night out is in full swing, the allure of alcohol, and perhaps smoking or vaping may beckon. Alcohol consumption beyond moderation taxes the liver, impairs detoxification, and depletes vital nutrients essential for optimal health. Excessive drinking not only leads to a hangover but also raises the risk of liver damage, disrupted sleep patterns, and contributes to chronic diseases. Colourful cocktails may contain artificial colour and sweeteners. Consider swapping these for a less jazzy alternative such as a humble G&T! Hydration is key, so make sure you have that all important glass of water before bed.

We all know by now that smoking can be catastrophic for our health ageing us at every level. Cigarette smoke contains numerous toxic compounds like nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and heavy metals that damage the respiratory system, increase oxidative stress, and elevate the risk of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.  Despite being touted as a safer alternative, vaping still poses risks due to harmful chemicals in the vape liquid. Try and avoid both if you can, or limit your intake at much as possible.

So, while a boozy night out once is a while isn’t the end of the world, we can certainly start making some more mindful choices without compromising on fun.

From shampoo to drink choices, let’s try and make a few sensible swaps to protect ourselves from toxic overload this party season!


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