Most of us probably do not stop to consider that our skin is our largest organ. It is exposed to not only external pressures (for example lotions, sunburns, or smog), but also to internal influences (think of the rashes that appear every time you eat something your body doesn't agree with). Skin is our protector; it regulates our temperature, stores nutrients, and works as a detox mechanism. Our skin has to deal with a lot every single day. The skin is also a very important part of our immune system, managing everything that is absorbed through the top layer of the skin, called epidermis, and also covered with a layer of protective microbes or healthy bacteria that help protect us. In that way it is similar to our gut lining.
Protecting our bodies from dangerous substances is one of the most obvious functions of our skin. It allows good stuff to go in, but also does its best to keep the bad stuff out. Consequently, the condition of our skin is basically a reflection of our overall health. If something goes wrong inside, chances are very high you might notice it first because of some issues on the surface. Building the strength of the skin, the protective barrier, is very much dependent on the availability of silicon, an element required to create collagen. We are accustomed to treating health issues with medications that more often cover up symptoms rather than actually targeting the underlying cause; we tend to fix skin problems and related conditions the same way, with poor results. Oily or dry skin is very often a result of poor digestive or hormonal health, seen as acne, hair loss, or even psoriasis. Rashes in specific patterns may be indicative of other specific autoimmune conditions like Lupus or Thyroid conditions as well, while rosacea and eczema may indicate an intolerance to histamine, or possibly gluten.
The message from doctors in the mainstream suggests that food does not really affect the health of your skin, hair, or teeth. But food is the only fuel our cells have to maintain and build themselves how could this not play a role?! If we feed ourselves with poor quality, nutrient deficient food, our bodies will show that on the outside as well as on the inside. We feel weak, sick, and unwell and our outside will reflect that inward condition. It may appear as dry weathered skin, hair falling out, brittle nails, lack of glow and uneven complexion, conditions like keratosis pilaris (known as chicken skin) or the dreaded acne. Food allergies and nutrient deficiencies very often have external symptoms, which is a great warning sign for us. A jawline covered with tiny pimples after overindulging in nuts might actually be a sign of a food allergy, not the lack of acne lotion. This would be also indicative of a hormonal imbalance, especially when the triggering food is high in estrogens like soy or chocolate. Chicken skin may be a sign of sensitivity to gluten, or of a deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids. We ARE made of what we eat, quite literally.
What we put on our skin matters just as much as what we put in our mouths. Medical drug or nicotine patches are proof that when you put something on your skin, it does not take very long to be absorbed into your bloodstream and distributed throughout your body. Creams, lotions, and shampoos are often loaded with harmful chemicals that might actually do you and your skin more harm than good, damaging it and stressing your immune system. Continuous application of certain products leads to chronic health issues that no one suspected would be triggered by using formaldehyde containing wrinkle cream or aluminum based deodorant. It is not just skin care products though. Our skin is able to absorb everything it comes into contact with and plenty of danger is hidden in items we use every single day.
After it was revealed that Mattel toys made in China contained high levels of toxic lead in their paint a few years ago, parents became very alarmed. Mattel makes toys for children, toys which every toddler instinctively puts in their mouth, takes into the bath to play with, or shares with other kids on the playground. The company was ridiculed by media and parents all over the world. It was a great example of people realizing that chemicals and heavy metals we expose our bodies to hurt us as much as those we might accidentally ingest. Sure, Mattel is to blame here for using heavy metals in their toys, but we have to realize how many similar dangers we are exposing ourselves and our children to every single day by intentionally using products that are harmful and detrimental to human health.
We must become aware of the fact that people all over the world are unintentionally poisoning their children by things that might not be as obvious as lead based paint on toys. Our environments are filled with pesticides, chemicals, and endocrine disruptors. Plastics and artificial fragrances can be especially damaging to our hormonal system. We should be focused specifically on toxic products and their effect on children (even before they are conceived, in utero, and as they grow), as they are the ones we should protect the most. We need to inform ourselves and educate our children to be able to make smarter choices than generations before them. We have already reached the point of children having a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Drastic changes need to be made if we are to stop this disturbing trend.
It turns out that the modern environment we live in is very toxic and none of us is immune when it comes to these external influences. Even with good diet, sleeping habits, and stress management, we are at risk, especially if we don't know where to look. It is hiding in our sunscreen lotion, it is in plastic food containers, in felt tip markers that accidentally stain our fingers, in scented candles, and in the mold growing in the walls. It is beyond our control to avoid every exposure to toxicity on a daily basis, but what we can do is in our own hands. Switching from conventional drugstore skincare and body care items to clean, non-toxic, hypo-allergenic personal care products is a wonderful choice. We wash our hands multiple times a day, we take baths and showers, and use soaps, lotions, and detergents directly on our skin. You can find a non-toxic, eco-friendly option for every household item soap, lotion, shower gel, dishwashing liquid. Some products, like Miracle II Liquid Soap, even have an universal use; it can be treated as body wash and shampoo, as well as used for house cleaning or plant fertilizing.
To remove toxins that are currently present in your body, you can use an effective natural detoxifier called Zeolite. Zeolite binds toxins and heavy metals to itself and safely removes them, to support your body's ability to remineralize, and to increase vitamin and mineral absorption. It helps to improve overall health, both physical and mental. It is the worlds most powerful detox agent that is safe for human consumption and is very affordable. As adults we have enough power to determine what the danger is and do our best to avoid it as much as possible.
We have the responsibility of protecting our children and teaching them how to make healthy choices, before they reach the point of health crisis. It is ok to let them learn some lessons the hard way, but we must defend our offspring from permanent consequences of preventable damage from our lifestyle choices. Nobody wants their kids to suffer. Children are extremely good at copying the behavior of people they are surrounded by, so be the best role model for your kids, grandkids, or even younger siblings. Let it be the legacy we leave for the next generation that they may be healthier in both mind and body, and good stewards of this little blue dot that is our home. For more details on the most toxic everyday products, check out Life Enthusiast podcast series dedicated to this subject (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4, also available in iTunes). Remember this: as a consumer you have the power to support and sustain products that deserve to be on the market, and to wither and dry up the market for those that do not deserve to survive.