You are not only what you eat…

Today I want to talk to you all about your skin and the key role it plays in the quest for wellness.   I find that people seldom  consider its importance in their overall health.

The skin is the body’s largest organ.  It acts like a shield – protecting us from the outside world and holding our organs on the inside, where they belong.  But what if I told you that our skin can make us vulnerable?  That what we put on it might be more toxic than what we put in our mouths?

You see, our skin is porous – many medications today are delivered transdermally through patches, creams and sprays.  Logic leads us to conclude that whatever we put on the skin will enter our body.   And the unfortunate reality is that everyday products like soaps, shampoos and deodorants are exposing us, involuntarily, to a host of  harmful chemicals.

The Environmental Working Group,  a trusted Washington, DC based non-profit, estimates that most Americans, but especially women are exposed to hundreds of of toxic substances through our personal care products every day.    This industry is highly unregulated, leaving companies to  use ingredients with little or no testing.   The Federal Drug Administration, the agency tasked with oversight, states on its own website:

Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients.”

So next time your reach for that lotion, mascara or nail polish, look at the long list of ingredients.

Are you willing to use these knowing that they are going straight into your body and that some of them have never been tested?  Will you reconsider knowing that long term, low-dose exposure to these has been linked to a host of diseases?

With lax regulations and billions of dollars in profit at stake, the onus is on each one of us to avoid and replace these dangerous substances.

Here is what I am asking each one of you to do.  Read labels.  Visit the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (http://www.safecosmetics.org) website.  Download the SKINDEEP app onto your smartphone –  it rates tens of thousands of personal care products for toxins, carcinogens and allergens.

Maybe you got lucky and the ones you use are clean.  But what if they are not?   My personal rule when it comes to these is as follows:

If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

It’s time to upgrade – you don’t have to do it all at once.  As you run out of something, replace it with a cleaner version.   Start with products that affect a large area of skin – body lotion, soap, sunblock, shampoo and conditioner – these are most important.  Face products cover a smaller area, so you can wait on those.

Take  a look at your bathroom cabinets and inside your purse.

It just takes a little time and money, and eventually your skin will not be your hidden Achilles heel any longer– and your insides will be cleaner, healthier and happier.

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