Reduce Toxin Exposure and Improve Your Health
I would like to talk to you about how to reduce toxin exposure to improve your health. Our skin is the largest respiratory and elimination organ in our body. It works with our kidneys and our liver to remove toxins. Our skin in semi-permeable, and is meant to release toxins, while it also absorbs moisture and antioxidant vitamins. We know that it can absorb some medications in the form of transdermal patches including hormones, nitroglycerin, medication to prevent seasickness and even nicotine. Unfortunately the skin can readily absorb harmful toxins as well.
The majority of household products for cleaning, polishing, and even personal hygiene contain petroleum byproducts from crude oil. These are easily absorbed through the skin within 26 seconds of exposure. In addition to causing cancer, these petroleum derivatives act as neurotoxins and false estrogens in the human body. Common symptoms of neurotoxicity are fatigue, memory loss, personality changes, headaches, sleep disturbances, muscle incoordination, visual disturbances, aches and pains, and sexual dysfunction. Xenoestrogens are substances in our environment which act as endocrine disrupters, in that they alter our hormones, resulting in symptoms such as PMS, hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, sleep disturbances, auto immune diseases, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, loss of sex drive, osteoporosis, lack of concentration, and fibrocystic breasts. These are only a few of over 80 symptoms of hormone imbalance that xenoestrogen exposure can cause.
On June 17, 2002, the Cancer Prevention Coalition stated in a press release, “Cancer and health risk experts just concluded reviews that indicate main stream cosmetics and personal hygiene products hold the highest cancer risk exposures to the general public, higher than smoking. Everyone comes in contact with chemicals in food, water, and air, but the biggest risk now appears the be absorption and inhalation of chemicals in hair care products, mouthwash, cosmetics, tooth paste, lotions, skin care products, sun tan items, etc.”
Although we can’t completely prevent exposure from harmful substances, we can significantly reduce exposure by making changes in our homes. Most household cleaning agents are made from petroleum ingredients and other harsh chemicals. We can replace unsafe cleaning agents with safe alternatives such as baking soda and vinegar in many household uses, and cleaning agents made from plant oils that can be obtained in health food stores and even some of our local grocery stores. Some examples are products by Seventh Generation, Sun and Earth, and Ecover.
Although cleaning solutions are not required to list ingredients, many cosmetics do. We should read labels and avoid skin care products and cosmetics with mineral oil and petrolatum, which are refined from crude oil. Other petroleum derivatives to avoid are paraffin, microcrystalline wax, ceresin, polybutane, polyethelene, etc. There are over 5 thousand chemicals used in personal hygiene products!
98 % of skin care products on the market contain mineral oil, petrolatum, or other petroleum ingredients. Mineral oil is refined crude oil that has been processed to remove the odor and color. The molecular size of the oil or fat, itself is too large to penetrate the skin, though the chemicals in it can penetrate the skin into the blood stream. Oils are added to skin care products to act as a humectant, which means that it attracts moisture to the skin. If the molecular size of the oil is too large to penetrate the skin, it sits on the surface, blocking the pores and blocking natural respiration and secretion processes. Though it attracts moisture from the atmosphere and might make the surface feel moist, it also attracts the moisture from the skin cells, and draws it out of the skin, drying it and aging it over time. Toxins can’t escape and moisture and nutrients can’t be absorbed.
Animal by-products have a similar effect because the molecular size of the oils are too large to penetrate the skin as well. An example of this is evident with those who use bar soaps in the shower or tub. They are left with a grayish ring around the tub or shower that does not rinse off. It must be scrubbed to remove it. This same film is left on your skin, preventing toxins from escaping and beneficial ingredients from absorbing.
The ideal base for skin care products are botanical or plant ingredients. Plant oils have a molecular size small enough to penetrate into the skin cell, similar to our own natural oils. This allows moisture and beneficial nutrients to penetrate into the skin with the oil, without clogging the pores or interfering with the natural respiration of the skin. Plant based products are safe for the skin!
I personally became involved with Arbonne International’s products from head to toe, because they use only safe, botanically based ingredients. The company was founded in 1980 with the purpose of providing only pure, safe and effective botanical products for the skin. For over 26 years they have expanded their pure and effective product line to include nutrition, weight loss, natural Aromatherapy, makeup/color, health and wellness products as well. Arbonne does extensive testing and research of their own, on all ingredients and formulations, and they are committed to removing any ingredients that are found to be unsafe by outside unbiased testing.
In conclusion the care of your skin also affects your health. So not only is taking care of your skin good for the health and appearance of your skin, but it’s important for your health in general.
1. Debra Lynn Dadd, Home Safe Home; New York; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1997, p. 167-168; p. 18.
2. Cancer Prevention Coalition press release, June 17, 2002.Dr. Rita Goad (Ph.D.), Toxin Awareness Workshop, September 2002.
3. Howard F. Lyman, with Glen Merzer; Mad Cowboy; New York: Touchstone Books, 1998; p. 11-13.
4. “Major Cosmetic and Toiletry Ingredient Poses Avoidable Cancer Risks,” PR Newswire, February 22, 1998.
5. Ruth Winter, M.S., A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients; New York; Three Rivers Press, 1999; p. 1-3.