Sounds unreasonable? Not really. Your skin is the biggest organ of your body, and its job is to protect us, as well as assist in detoxifying internal toxins (for example, when we sweat). It is also semi-permeable – that is, it has the ability to absorb from the outside in, as well as detoxing from the inside out. So anything (and I mean anything!) that you put onto your skin will end up in your bloodstream. The same way a nicotine patch works. Sunscreens, lotions, cosmetics, deodorants, shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, facial products, the list goes on. So that means when we use products that contain toxic products such as parabens, metals (yep!), petrochemicals, and other synthetic materials, those toxins then become something our body has to deal with.
So, how hard is it really for our body to filter out those toxins?
Let’s start with parabens. These are placed in almost every non-organic cosmetic problem you can think of because in terms of shelf life, it is a great preservative. Recent studies have shown that when breast cancer tissue is sampled, 99% of the time it contains parabens . A common source of parabens is anti-perspirant deodorants, but when the women who participated in the study were interviewed, some who had not used these deodorants still tested positive for parabens. (Journal of Applied Toxicology March 2012; 32(3): 219-232 ). The study concluded that no matter where or how the parabens got into the body, they accumulated in, and most likely contributed to, cancer in the breast tissue. Essentially, parabens clog our lymphatic system because they are difficult for our body to detoxify.
A similar report (Environmental Working Group, Skin Deep Report) has shown that parabens and metals in cosmetic products act as phytoestrogens – they mimic the function of hormonal estrogen in the body. But keep in mind, estrogen is a growth hormone. If you have more estrogen in your body than is required, cells are going to grow unopposed and out of control – the mechanism that can start cancer growth. The metals found in many cosmetic and food products (such as aluminium, arsenite, copper, lead and mercury) bind to the estrogen receptors of our cells and mimic the actions of hormonal estrogen.
Petrochemicals (such as many of the sulfates in our cleaning products) are a product made of crude oil and natural gas. These and any of their by products (such as dioxins) are also linked to many serious health problems, as they act as neuro toxins and endocrine disrupters – a substance that can irreversibly damage hormone production within the body. This product can be so harmful that the cellular damage it causes can be passed on genetically to our offspring. Avoiding these chemicals can be difficult. Next time you buy your next personal care product for the bathroom, keep an eye out for these – “myreth,” “oleth,” “laureth,” “ceteareth,” any other “eth,” “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” or “oxynol,” in ingredient names. All derived from petrochemicals.
On top of this, any toxin that we place into our body has to be filtered out by our body’s detoxifiying organs – the gut, liver, kidneys and skin. When these become clogged with toxins (for many these organs are already working over time with the foods we eat and the environmental toxins we are exposed too), they can cause many inflammatory conditions within the body – IBS, skin irritation, low immunity, arthritis, thyroid dysfunction, arthritis, respiratory disorders, migraines…. The list is frighteningly extensive.
Doesn’t really sound like the kind of stuff we want in our body does it?
I am always on the lookout for natural, safe and effective alternatives to the chemical based products we find and use in our house every day. It is this journey that has lead me to start using products from an essential oil company called Young Living. Young Living have a range of products based on therapeutic grade essential oils that can be used as an alternative to our home first aid, cleaning products, and hair and skin products. Young Living’s beauty products contain all natural ingredients infused with essential oils.These precious oils nurture and care for all skin types while being good to our bodies. So good you could eat them – literally! As well as refining our external complexion, these ingredients also repair our bodies from a cellular level as they are absorbed, which always shows on the outside. Young Living has a very high standard when it comes to the production of their products, to ensure the sources of these oils are grown in a completely organic, chemical free environment. So at no point have these ingredients become contaminated, guaranteeing a completely safe, potent and organic product (saves time on meticulous label reading in the supermarket too!).
If you are concerned you may be suffering the effects of a toxic overload, start reading the labels on your products. Your local kinesiologist may also be able to help identify what these toxins are for you and help to clear them from your body. Even if you only start by changing one of your bathroom products to something natural and organic, you are still reducing stress on your body. Every little bit helps!