What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your mouth. As a nutritionist, I talk a lot about how the food we eat fuels our body and how nutrition impacts our health. As someone who is passionate about helping individuals reach optimal wellness, I realize that there is a lot more to health than nutrition alone. I believe it is important to address several factors when trying to achieve optimal wellness, such as exercise, hydration, sleep, stress and toxins along with nutrition. Today I want to talk about your skin and exposure to toxins.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Our skin is exposed to countless toxins daily. Toxins are absorbed through our skin and then enter our bloodstream. Therefore, some medications such as birth control and some narcotics are administered through patches that are placed on the skin. Since we know that toxins enter the body through the skin, then it is important that you do your best to avoid exposing yourself to toxins as much as possible. This probably sounds overwhelming since toxins are in many common products that we use daily such as lotion, shampoo, conditioner, make-up, perfumes, etc. The best way to approach transitioning from products that are filled with chemicals to safer products is to ease into it.
A good place to start is to think about the products that you use daily especially those used multiple times per day. Also, think about the products that you are getting a lot more exposure from, such as products that you rub onto your skin and those that you use over larger portions of your skin, such as lotions. Granted, over time the goal is to eliminate all products that are filled with toxins and transition to safer products. The reality is this will take time. Start by looking at the ingredients of the products you frequently use and then do research on alternative products that use safer ingredients.
Here are a few ingredients you want to avoid: For a more extensive list click here.
Parabens: parabens are used as a preservative often to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. The issue is that parabens are endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine or hormone system. They have been associated with breast cancer.
Phthalates: phthalates are used to increase the pliability of products or to make product fragrances stick to the skin. They are also endocrine disruptors and may cause birth defects and increase your chance of breast cancer.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are commonly used as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and as a conditioning agent. PEGs may have cancer causing properties.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is used as a preservative. It has been deemed as a carcinogen, may cause allergic skin reactions, asthma, immune problems and more.
BHA and BHT: which are synthetic antioxidants to extend the shelf life of products. They are also a carcinogen, hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage.
Two of my favorite companies to buy safer skin care products from are:
Beauty Counter. Their mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
Primally Pure: They believe that skincare and beauty products should enrich your life by providing you with noticeable results without sacrificing health or well-being.
As much as this information can be overwhelming, do not let yourself be paralyzed when thinking about transitioning to safer skin care products. Start with the products you use the most, such as your shampoo, conditioner, lotions and make-up. Please do not hesitate to ask me for help. My goal is to help as many people as I can find optimal wellness. Reducing exposure to toxins is one piece of the puzzle along with nutrition, exercise, hydration, stress, and sleep.
Jamey Floreck, NTP, CPT
Legal Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for educational purposes only, and it has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any conditions or disease, nor is it medical advice. One should always consult a qualified medical professional before engaging in any dietary and/or lifestyle changes.
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