Some doctors believe that everything penetrates the skin, and causes severe health ailments; there are other doctors whom believe nothing on the skin has any affect on our health. Working with many practitioners over the years working on my own personal challenges I have found that reality is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Understanding how our skin works, and correlations to our overall health allows us to make the best decisions living an empowered and healthy lifestyle. This post was created to help you understand what really matters, and tips for choosing great products. If you were to look through all of the products you use on your skin are you feeding your skin nutrients or toxins?
Natural Skin Care
Most people realize our skin is the largest organ in our body, but don’t treat it as such. Did you know it contains 12 million cells, and absorbs 60% of what touches it? Everything absorbed goes directly into our bloodstream and is delivered to all vital organs. Our skin can help to detoxify our cells so that we can stay healthy, full of energy, and disease-free or it can feed our body toxins that contribute to disease.
Many medications are often prescribed as patches applied directly to the skin as pharmaceutical manufacturers recognize the benefits of exploiting these skin absorption rates.
Skin is a fascinatingly complicated system, designed to protect against external harms (bacteria, UV radiation) regulate body heat, and manage nutrient levels and water loss. There are several variables that affect absorption including area of skin exposed (thinner-skinned areas are more susceptible to penetration and thicker skin is less) and the condition of skin.
Realizing that our skin is a reflection of our insides, our hydration and nourishment are key to radiating skin. Disease, imbalances, and toxins will cause inflamed skin. Inflammation comes from many things from food allergies, hormone challenges, and toxic chemicals.
It is easy to see that what we use on our skin ends up inside our bodies. It is important to pay close attention to the ingredients in our skin care products. If the products we use contain harmful ingredients such as harsh, toxic chemicals, colors, and fragrances, those ingredients make their way into our body, blood and lymphatic system. The majority of mainstream body care products contain a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, allergens, and irritants.
Receiving Nutrients Through Our Skin
If you want to keep vibrant healthy skin, using natural skin care is necessary. Our bodies are intelligently designed; studies show that nutrients absorbed internally are provided first to the most vital organs making our skin the last to receive these vitamins and minerals. Nutrients are necessary for healthy and younger looking skin, given the pollution in today’s environment makes it important to support our skins health.
Vitamins and minerals are traditionally taken by mouth in the form of pills, powders, and food. For those with a compromised digestive tract or failing health, metabolizing vitamins and minerals orally can be challenging. Between digestive upset, poor utilization and the aggravation of yeast and bacterial issues in the gut, supplements taken internally can be problematic.
Feeding your body topically through natural skin care not only keeps your skin looking and feeling its best but is supporting your gut health and overall wellness. Nutrient rich products including soaps, lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, conditioners, and natural treatments for skin conditions have become common and can be easily acquired.
Receiving Toxins Through Our Skin
Just like the absorption of nutrients, the absorption of chemicals into our skin also depends on several factors, like skin integrity (damaged vs. intact), skin temperature, concentration of a chemical on the skin surface, length of time exposed, and perhaps most importantly, the area of your body exposed. Skin absorption rates vary greatly among different parts of the body; for example, the chemical absorption rate on your forehead and scalp is about four times greater than the absorption rate on your forearms.
In 2005, the Environmental Working Group published a combination of two studies that found 287 toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. in the fall of 2004. Of these 287 chemicals, 217 were neurotoxins, and 208 are known to damage growth development or cause birth defects. Regardless of pregnant or not, the point is clear toxins are absorbed into our bodies, and undoubtedly have a profound effect on our health.
Making Better Decisions
The task of scrutinizing every ingredient in products can be daunting. Start with the products that are having the most negative impact. Think about is the level of exposure you’re getting from the products you’re using. Different products mean different levels of exposure and concern. For instance, since the skin on the face is thinner and absorbs more then the skin on the rest of our body choosing natural skin care for the face would be a great start.
When we try to be perfect, we get paralyzed. It can get so overwhelming to constantly worry about each ingredient in every product that we just want to forget the whole thing and buy a bar of soap already. The way to avoid this is by choosing when to demand a certain standard and when to relax. That way you don’t have to worry about every ingredient all the time and you can still drastically improve the overall quality of your products.
Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid:
2. Formaldehyde: 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium 15
5. Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), monoethanolamine (MEA)
6. Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
7. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium laureth sulphate
8. Propylene Glycol and PEG’s
9. PVP/VA Copolymer
Simply avoiding ingredients with a chemical sounding name is usually correct. Natural skin care products contain whole, real ingredients and labels will look much like something we can consume. We are feeding our skin after all, right?
Every person is different, every chemical is different, and every body will have a different response. Read your labels, understand what you’re feeding your skin and consider a natural alternative, if you want or need one. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious especially when it comes to the products we put on our children.
Here are a few of my favorite product lines: