The Skin You’re In


While many of us are aware of the influence our thoughts have on our mental and physical health, there is another important element of self-care that many people don’t think about…personal hygiene products.  Now, before you start thinking I’ve gone a little woo woo, hear me out.  Unless you’re already using organic and natural products in your day-to-day routine, you might want to read on to see how making the switch could possibly add years to your life, while helping you feel perkier in the process.

Our skin is our body’s largest organ.  Anything we put on it goes directly into our bloodstream.  Did you know that during your morning shower, you could be assaulting your nervous and hormonal systems before you’ve even started your day?  Love Jergens or Nivea?  Ditch them.  Digging on that Axe body spray?  Poison in a can.  Think I’ve gone off the deep end?  Check this out…

Let’s imagine a typical morning routine for a female.  To make it easy, I’ll go with one product.  Millions of women love Bath and Body works.  One of the company’s scents, Sweet Pea, is a cult classic.  While it has an ingredient list similar to that of jet engine oil, I’ll stick with the first few, along with their corresponding toxicities.

Fragrance: Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive).

In case you’re wondering, they specify “non-reproductive” organ toxicity because thousands of skin care products have chemicals which interfere with our reproductive systems.  How?  Phthalates are endocrine disrupters that mimic hormones. Avoid products that list fragrance as an ingredient unless the label states that it’s derived from essentials oils, or look for a phthalate-free label on the packaging.

Propylparaben:  Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption, Allergies/immunotoxicity.

Parabens of any type can cause changes in human breast cells; changes that are a characteristic predictor of tumor development in the body. Furthermore, parabens are found within human breast tumors.  For all you fellows out there, men can get breast cancer, too!

EXT D&C Violet 2:  Cancer, Allergies/immunotoxicity.  Those color additives that make your body lotion look so dreamy are carcinogens!

That big word, immunotoxicity, means your favorite shower product KILLS cells in your body.

Scared?  I don’t blame you.  The repeated use of these toxic poisons build up in our bodies over time and cause damage by creating inflammation in the gut, congesting the liver and triggering our “fight-or-flight” response.  They can even lead to mental disorders!

If you’re like me, you’ll probably do a clean sweep and chuck out all of the offending products in your bathroom.  However, if you can’t afford to do that, simply replace your items with organic and natural products once you run out.  Ladies, that includes your makeup, too!  Your lipstick very likely has the same ingredients as the above-listed body lotion, especially if you use Maybelline.

So, what’s a guy or gal to do?  For starters, stay away from these ingredients:  phthalates, parabens, ureas (preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde), polyethylenes, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, and last, but not least, anything that contains petro-derived agents such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin.  Seriously, it’s like slapping crude oil on your skin.  Not pretty.

Terrifying, isn’t it?  Fret not.  In the very near future, I will give you the scoop on some products to avoid, as well as those to look for on your next shopping trip.  Until then, for those of you who want to do your own research, use this link to EWG’s database.

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  1. jenniferhelps

    Fabulous advice, Kim, and you are correct about the dangers of those chemicals and ingredients.

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