It is well known that the skin absorbs what we put on it. There is no hard and fast rule for what percentage of the things we apply end up in our bloodstream. The truth is different compounds absorb at different rates and in different amounts. What we do know, is that some pretty nasty things are in products we use daily and they do make it inside of us. Think about your favorite perfumes, lotions and soaps. They smell so wonderful and they make you feel oh-so pretty and clean – and most of the time they are filled with icky chemicals that are endocrine (hormone) disrupters and all kinds of other nasty things.
We have been taught to fear the sun and in our attempt to protect ourselves from those deadly rays, we are doing something that can end up being more harmful, we slather on the suns screen. Jessica Espinoza has written a great article that goes into detail about the dangers of sun screen and how you can protect your skin naturally. Not only are commercial sunscreens slowly poisoning your body, they are depriving you of a very important nutrient, vitamin D. In this informative article you will also learn about how different plants actually have Sun Protection Factor (SPF), how cool!
Antiperspirants are another big time culprit that we need to watch out for. The active ingredient in these products is aluminum which can act as a neurotoxin. This is very unfortunate for people using antiperspirants as the skin of the armpit tends to be more absorptive than other areas. The distance from armpit to brain is not very far and there appears to be a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fragrance is probably one of the most dangerous ones out there and I must admit that I love delicious smells! Think laundry soaps, perfumes, air fresheners and candles. Though I love these scents, most of products that have fragrance give me an instant headache. This pain has caused me to avoid using them or being in environments where they are found. When I first met my boyfriend I was surprised to find that his reaction is even worse than mine; the dreamy scents that so many people love give Wade bloody noses! Needless to say, he avoids them as well. Because of both of our negative reactions to smells I started to do some research. Boy oh boy am I grateful that my body gave me a sign that these poison potions are tricky little liars!
Mascara has been another product that I have traced a bizarre health condition to. A few years ago I started to notice that my eyes seemed to be getting a bit puffier than they used to be. I thought my body was just becoming more sensitive to the pollens in the air and I didn’t think too much more about it. Then things started getting really strange. When I would cry I would get little itchy, swollen, hard hives on my eyelids and my eye lids would almost swell shut! It would take almost 24 hours for the swelling to go down. I was getting pretty freaked out and started doing some serious thinking. I came to the conclusion that it was my mascara. I knew that other cosmetics could be really dangerous, why not my favorite one? I stopped using Almay, Maybelline and Revlon mascara and started shopping at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. I found mascara’s that were made up of ingredients that I actually understood (such as oils and minerals). I have been free of hives on my eyes for almost two years now! Your body knows best, always listen to it.
Whether it is cosmetics, lotions, sunscreen, shampoos, bug spray or perfumes, be aware of what you are putting on your body. The Environmental Working Group has a great website called Skin Deep where you can research 66,000 different products to find out what is in them and if they are safe to use on your skin.
If you have strange health concerns that no one can seem to figure out, start paying attention to the every day products that you use in your house (do this even if you don’t have health concerns!). Many of these are sneaky little killers that are slowly whittling away at your health.
This post was written by Mary Mesenburg; you can learn more about Mary in the About Us section and you can also visit her personal blog at www.cultivatingsunshine.com.