When it comes to our health, many of us wish that we could simply hit the reset button and start over (in the pre-cheesecake era for example). This is when we turn to the Body Detox. Vegetable juices, maple syrup and lemon-juice drinks, and (shudder) salt-water cleanses.
Did you know that our skin is actually the largest organ in our bodies? Yet so often, we forget to give this major system a break from all of the toxins in our environments. Enter the Outside-In Body Detox. When it comes to your Outside-In Body Detox you will need to consider changing products from your skin and body care, and your household cleaners. It can be quite radical to change all of the above in one go (also quite expensive), so perhaps consider tackling each item over time as your current products run out.
Skin and Body Care Products
There are a number of rather scary chemicals when it comes to skin and body care. Did you know that adults absorb up to 60% of the chemicals we put onto our bodies? Here are 9 chemicals to look out for to protect your body:
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS).
SLS are highly corrosive and wear away the protective layer of your skin. Due to their origin, sulfates can cause eye irritation and skin rashes, and may be contaminated with possible carcinogens.
2. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG).
PEG may also be contaminated with a possible carcinogen, besides itself being a breast carcinogen, and increases the permeability of the skin. If used on broken skin in can cause irritation and systemic toxicity.
3. Synthetic Colours and Pigments.
Synthetic colours and pigments are often made from coal tar, contain heavy metal salts and almost all synthetic colours are carcinogenic.
4. Synthetic Fragrances.
This is a large group of chemicals, but the most important chemicals to be aware of is the Pthalates. These are known endocrine (hormone) disruptors and may alter genital development, decrease sperm counts, cause birth defects, as well as negatively affect liver and kidney health.
Parabens are known to mimic the female hormone estrogen and can drive the growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancers. They also affect male hormones, and have been linked to other health issues such as cancer, endocrine disorders, immune dysfunction, brain dysfunction and skin irritation.
6. Mineral Oil.
Mineral oil is a byproduct of the production of crude oil and used as a humectant (something to help bind moisture to the skin). Because it is not absorbed well, Mineral oil clogs your pores and is often tainted with other nasty chemicals when produced.
This is a common component of sunscreen. With all of us on the North Coast making sure to protect our skin from the sun to prevent cancer, we may be doing more harm in the long run by using sunscreens with this chemical. Oxybenzone has been shown to be carcinogenic and hormone-mimicking. It also penetrates the skin and increases the production of free radicals. A natural zinc oxide based sunscreen is a far safer option!
I know what you’re thinking, surely not? But yes, lead is commonly found in regularly used cosmetics such as lipsticks. Lead is a proven neurotoxin linked to miscarriages, decreased fertility and delayed onset of puberty in women.
Aluminum is mostly used in antiperspirant deodorants, but it is classified as a neurotoxin. There are some studies suggesting links between aluminum and breast cancers.
If you are intimidated by the above list, don’t worry, we have PLENTY of healthy skin-friendly products in store for you to try. There are more options available than you think.
Whilst the above chemicals can also be found in household cleaners, there are a few additional nasties to watch out for.
1. Perchloroethylene (PERC).
This is commonly found in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners. PERC is a known neurotoxin and possible carcinogen.
This is an aggressive antibacterial that is found in dishwashing liquids and hand soaps with an “antibacterial” label. It is a possible carcinogen and is currently being investigated as a potential hormone disruptor.
3. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS).
QUATS are another antibacterial agent, and are found in fabric softener as well as most household cleaners labeled as “antibacterial”. It is a skin-irritant, may help breed antibiotic resistant bacteria, and is investigated as a potential culprit for respiratory disorders.
This chemical is a powerful solvent, and has a characteristic sweet smell. 5-2-Butoxyethanol is commonly found in window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners. When inhaled in high levels it has been linked to sore throats, severe liver and kidney damage, as well as pulmonary edema.
If you actually laid out all of your skin and body care, and household products, then it may become clear that we are simply going overboard. Often you can simplify your life hugely!
Skincare regimens can become a lot easier when you’re using natural products. When you make the switch to natural products you may find that your skin clears and begins to need less “treatments” to cleanse your pores or remove blackheads because your skin can finally breathe. When it comes to your nightly skincare you can simply use coconut oil as your makeup remover, then a WOW cloth as your cleanser, thus eliminating the need for a makeup remover, eye-makeup remover, and face cleanser.
For your household cleaners, you can definitely cut down on the number of products that you need. A natural soap, for example, can often be used to clean anything from your dishes to your floors and windows. Some natural laundry powder/gels do soften your clothes to the point where you don’t need an additional product (except for items such as towels). Removing unnecessary products from your routine may also be a great way to detox your life.
Final Thoughts on the Outside-In Body Detox
In case you have begun to grow concerned there are amazing, South African produced, natural products readily available for your skin and body care. We are already exposed to so many unavoidable environmental toxins, so we need to be more proactive with the products we put on our bodies and use in our homes to get a full body detox. Lifestyle Health have a plethora of options to offer you that will suit any budget, but start by taking the above lists and checking up on how your current products do!
Do you want to read more on this topic? Click on one of the below titles to go to our articles: