Let’s talk about skin!
Did you know that the skin is our biggest organ?
Our skin not only serves as a protective barrier for our internal biome but also regulates our body temperature and gives us the sensation of touch.
The other little-known fact about our skin is that it is a direct reflection of the internal status of our gut health.
That’s right…. If you are suffering from any skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, dandruff, and more, the first place to look for healing of these conditions is your gut.
The balance of bacteria inside our gastrointestinal tract lays the foundation for health, along with good digestion.
When a client comes to me with any of the above skin issues, the first place we start is with the food, and then we look at their environment. Let me explain a little more.
Let’s get back to our topic of the month for a moment: inflammation from the OUTSIDE IN.
Today, we will focus on our skin and how the thousands of chemicals we are slathering on it are impacting our internal health.
I know, you are probably wondering, and perhaps slightly confused, about how what we put ON our skin impacts our health?
The chemicals used in many everyday skin products like creams, lotions, shampoo, anti-aging products, and perfumes can actually wreak havoc on our internal body, not just the external skin.
Something to note is that the FDA requires no testing or approval process of any kind for beauty products! And many of the harsh chemicals used in our everyday beauty products can aggravate allergies (not just skin allergies), act as irritants, and even contain known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).
Another way in which they can harm our body is by disturbing our natural hormonal pathways.
The endocrine system is our hormonal system that consists of the thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, pancreas, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands.
In a nutshell, the endocrine system’s job is to regulate the body’s metabolism, sexual development, and growth.
I’d say those are all pretty important jobs! I would also assert that we want our bodies to be optimally functioning in all of these areas: metabolism, sexual development, growth, sleep patterns, and mood.
It’s hard to believe that the lotion you put on your legs could affect the above bodily functions, but, believe me, it’s true!
Ingredients to Avoid
Because this stuff can be overwhelming, I’ve created a brief list of ingredients explaining what to avoid, what they are, and why to avoid them.
Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, isobutyl, butyl, benzyl)
What it does: Main preservative used in most personal care products
Why to avoid it: Known hormone disruptors and linked to breast cancer
What it does: Antibacterial chemical in hand sanitizers
Why to avoid it: Skin irritant and hormone disruptor; also contributes to bacteria-resistant “superbugs”
Phthalates (diethyl, dimethyl-phthalate)
What it does: Solvents, dissolving agents in personal care products
Why to avoid it: Linked to reproductive birth defects and breast cancer
Benzones (oxy and avo), Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate, and Octinoxate
What it does: Common chemical in sun blockers
Why to avoid it: Allergic reactions, hormone disruption
What it does: Found in deodorant; clogs pores so you don’t sweat
Why to avoid it: Blocking pores limits the body’s ability to eliminate toxins; also a potential carcinogen
I’m definitely NOT telling you to stop using deodorant and sunblock; I’m simply talking about finding healthier alternatives to these items that we use and need.
There are so many natural products on the market, and even though they sometimes cost a bit more, isn’t your health worth it?
My intention with this blog is to make you aware of this issue and help you to make new choices, NOT to overwhelm you.
So, the best information I can give you is to always check your products with www.ewg.org.
It is the safest and my favorite resource for making healthy personal care product choices without having to memorize a ton of these ingredient names.
They are always up to speed on any new ones that come out as well.