What are you putting onto your skin (and into your body)?

What are you putting onto your skin (and into your body)?

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In light of my recent post, I wanted to spend a bit more time talking about the dangers of chemicals in products that we use topically (such as make-up, lotions, deodorants, shampoos, etc.) and orally (toothpastes and other mouth care products).

Although there is a growing acknowledgment that toxins in our food (such as pesticides) harm our bodies, many people are still unaware of how great an impact the cosmetic and toiletry items they use can have on their health.

Have you ever received a topical prescription from a doctor, such as an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial cream? Or used a topical pain reliever for a mouth sore (or for your baby’s teething)? Why do these products work so well when applied to our skin, rather than taken orally?

The reason is that our skin readily absorbs chemicals and other substances deeper into our body- through our skin layers, into muscles and fat, and ultimately into our bloodstream! That lovely scented lotion that you enjoy wearing does not just float around on the outer layer of your skin until it is washed away in the shower- it penetrates deeper and deeper into your body as you wear it.

Once absorbed into our bodies and blood streams, these chemicals can cause:

  • Cancer
  • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
  • Allergies
  • Immunotoxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Endocrine (hormonal) disruption
  • Organ system toxicity
  • Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)
  • Enhanced skin absorption (some chemicals actually cause our skin to absorb even more chemicals!0
  • Biochemical or cellular level changes

(taken from the Skin Deep website)

Not only that, but read this statement from the Environmental Working Group:

“89 percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution.”

I have seen this statistic on many other reputable sites as well, such as The Green Guide, Mercola.com, etc. And just one last quote before I get on with the practical, what-do-I-do discussion:

Putting chemicals on your skin is actually far worse than ingesting them, because when you eat something the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help break it down and flush it out of your body.

When you put these chemicals on your skin, however, it is absorbed straight into your blood stream without filtering of any kind, so there’s no protection against the toxin. The five pounds of toxic chemicals per year you may be absorbing from the use of toiletries and beauty products are largely going directly to your delicate organs.

So, what can we use instead?

There are a steadily growing number of companies out there making excellent beauty care products, without the dangerous cocktail of chemicals. I will post more tomorrow about what my family personally uses and how we attempt to afford using these higher quality products without blowing our budget (a very real concern!).

To get your started, though, here are a couple more informative links to check out, as well as some links to some of the products I personally use, which I will expound on tomorrow.

Environmental Working Group- links to articles on cosmetic safety
Article on PEG’s in cosmetics

Natural cosmetic brands (there are many out there, but these are just a few):
Nature’s Gate
Tom’s of Maine
Burt’s Bees

Top image by tuxxilla

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One Comment

  1. To add to the list of safe skin care, I recently discovered Arbonne – it bans abou 1,000 ingredients tht the US based compaies use. It is mostly an organic skin care line. Note: It’s expensive, but it does work really well!

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