Your epidermis is showing... and it's taking in quite a toxic load!
When we think of overall health, cleansing, detoxifying, etc, often we think of eating organic to decrease our pesticide intake, cutting out alcohol to give our livers a break, and grab lots of veggies and some lemon water. We carefully consider everything that we put in us, but what about what we put on us?
Think about your morning routine for a minute. Toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturizer, shaving cream, soap, hair gel, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, foundation or powder, lipgloss/stick/balm... any others to add? All of your products are likely within the limit deemed as "safe" and most have likely maxed out the limit. What happens when you're using 10-20 products that have maxed out the limit deemed as "safe"? I'm no mathematician, but I'd say that's definitely over the daily limit.
Take a peek at the ingredients list and see how many you can pronounce. Be aware of green-washing: making them sound natural and healthy for you when really there's a lot of added chemicals. Also, a product that contains organic ingredients can also contain harmful chemicals. With parabens (a common preservative) and phthalates (a gelling-agent or plasticizer) being slowly phased out of north american products, they're being replaced with other shady characters. I'm sure I'll have to blog about their health effects in a few years.
The main concern with skin products is endocrine disruption and carcinogenicity. Endocrine disruption occurs with xenoestrogens, or synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen activity. These molecules can bind to estrogen receptors but exert effects much stronger than our natural estrogens. This is when we see increased breast cancer rates and parabens (a common preservative) found directly in excised tumours. Certain types of breast cancers are fed by increased levels of estrogen and so, fed by many of these chemicals that we put on our skin everyday.
There's also a concern with heavy metals such as aluminum in anti-perspirants or lead in lipsticks. Deodorants and antiperspirants are applied directly over our axillary lymph nodes - or the centres of immune function in our armpits that directly drain the breast tissue - and often contain breast-cancer-causing chemicals. Huh. Not to mention aluminum found in high concentrations in the brains of Alzheimers patients. Finding a good alternative to the traditional antiperspirants takes time and a lot of trial and error. The patience is worth it.
Learn more. The Environmental Working Group developed their Skin Deep website devoted to rating the toxicity of skin products and to provide an amazing resource to educate consumers. You can also learn more about the most harmful chemicals and how to swap out for cleaner products. If you're in Toronto, I'll plug a great pop-up store on King Street called The Detox Market. It's a one-stop shop for organic, toxin-free cosmetics, skin care, and hair care.
While we're taking our deep breaths inside, let's let our skin take a breath as well.