Show Your Skin Some Love
The skin is our largest and most porous organ, and the only one we carry on the outside. So start thinking about what you’re putting on it, and how that’s going to affect your health. Anything we spread on our skin is quickly transmitted throughout the entire body and bloodstream. You only need to think of the patch to quit smoking, the birth control patch or the motion sickness patch to realize how the skin is the simplest and most accessible gateway to the rest of our body. In medicine it’s called the transdermal delivery system.
“If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” This is the mantra of the diehard natural care world. We need to pay attention to what we soak our skin in, or what we rub across it. Everyday products like shaving cream, hand soap or bubble bath contain chemicals that can have deeper or lasting effects when they come in contact with our skin. Urine samples from a group of men showed the highest score for phthalates (linked to hormone disruption, liver, kidney and lung damage, and cancer) from those who had applied cologne or after-shave within 2 hours of the test. That’s right…from the face to urine that quickly.
You may not be able to follow the mantra faithfully, but reducing the chemical burden on your body is important. There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon offers warnings about everything that’s bad, but also offers recipes for alternates that contain only what’s good.
We need to be especially vigilant with perfume. It’s the #1 source of phthalate exposure and unfortunately for many people, the hardest habit to break. Exposure to phthalates can change the DNA of sperm cells. Phthalates are classified as a toxicological concern with reproductive health hazards. 95% of perfume ingredients are actually derived from coal tar and petroleum.
Alternately, here are some natural scents to research: Pacifica, Honore des Pres, Miessence, Ganesha’s Garden, Triloka. Check our recipe section for scents you can make yourself…that’s right…DIY perfume.
Gillian Deacon educates her readers on soap, bathing, showering, moisturizing, hair removal, dermatitis, shaving creams, and sunscreens. And that’s just her chapter on skin. She also covers label reading, hair, face, eyes, lips, teeth, armpits, and hands and feet.