When we work with patients in an attempt to improve underlying function by way of ridding the body of toxins and potential triggers, healing and sealing the gut and balancing the immune system, we often focus on dietary and supplemental support. Mainly we are making changes as to what goes IN the body.
However, we often overlook what could potentially be the major source of systemic irritation and continued suffering. We often overlook things like our everyday toiletries and cosmetics. These are items that we voluntarily apply to our skin and thus invite into our bodies, sometimes numerous times a day. The simple fact is that what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in our body because what we put on our body goes into our body.
When you apply a product to your skin, whether it be deodorant to the arm pit, lotion on the hands, or makeup on the face, the ingredients of that product are absorbed through the skin and into the circulatory system. It is here where they can now travel the bloodstream, gaining access to any and every organ of your body, including the brain.
This is why as you continue your journey to wellness enlightenment and longevity, reading the labels on ALL items, not just food becomes an essential practice.
If you decide to be proactive and take a gander at the fine print label you will often find ingredients that you either can’t pronounce or make you scratch your head. I implore you dig a little deeper into each ingredient. You may find independent studies (not funded by the company that stands to incur a financial gain off the success of the product) done on those particular ingredients that may lead to the use of words like “carcinogenic,” or “endocrine disruptor.” These words are thrown around so often due to the extensive menu of modern ingredients that they often lose their significance or meaning altogether.
Let’s start with the first one; carcinogenic. This means cancer causing. Yes, the one and only devastating cancer. The one that continues to claim an increasing number of lives each year despite the acknowledged fact (by the World Health Organization) that approximately half of these cases could be prevented if current medical knowledge were acted upon and lifestyle strategies were implemented. These lifestyle strategies include the voluntary daily use and topical application AND THUS SYSTEMIC APPLICATION of products containing carcinogenic ingredients.
One of the reasons a word like carcinogenic loses it’s steam is due to the prevalence of cancer. We become so inundated with studies demonstrating a possible cancer link here or an increase in tumor growth there, to the point that a surrender to circumstance is summed up in the phrase: “everything causes cancer.”
Well this simply is not true. In actuality certain lifestyle modifications are shown to do quite the opposite and vice versa. The above referenced phrase serves as the proverbial white flag and explanation that I’ll continue to do what I want despite the information suggesting that it may be detrimental to my health and length of life.
The term endocrine disruptor is used to refer to interference with the normal expression of hormones. However, even when we use the term hormone disruptor, the extent of the widespread ramifications are usually not fully understood. When most people hear the word hormone they mainly think of the sex hormones; testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc. While disruption of hormones does indeed include these, it extends well beyond that.
One of the intricate mechanisms the internal body utilizes for communication and subsequent function is carried out by chemical messengers known as hormones. These hormones range from the aforementioned reproductive hormones (which are vital regardless of age), the oh so popular thyroid hormones, the adrenal (stress) hormones, human growth hormone or HGH which helps us repair daily damage and has been touted as the anti-aging hormone, to Vitamin D which is actually considered a hormone due to all of the changes and processes it is involved in throughout the body.
The reason why this can be such a serious issue is due to the fact that our bodies operate as an interwoven matrix in which balance is key. Any disruption of one aspect will have a direct effect on another. Overworked adrenal glands having a dampening effect on the thyroid gland, for example.
For something to be labeled as a potential disruptor means the potential to throw off homeostasis or balance exists. This can contribute to sleep disturbances, issues with blood sugar handling and fat storage, hypo or hyperthyroid symptoms, slow wound healing or prolonged muscle soreness, hot flashes, fertility issues; and the list goes on. This is not a term to be taken lightly, especially if you have a poor diet or are a growing child.
In the case for carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting ingredients, often times the argument is made that the tests were done on animals so we don’t know how it will effect humans, or that the amount used in the product is so small that it’s harmless. First off, an ingredient doubling the rate of tumor growth in any life form should be a red flag. If there is any doubt as to safety and an option exists, especially when it comes to cancer, wouldn’t it be wise to exercise that option rather than turn a blind eye to research? It’s all about stacking that deck here people.
Secondly, while there may be small or even trace amounts of certain substances within a product, many times these are products that are applied and reapplied to the skin on a daily basis. As we’ve covered, this provides open access to your body via absorption through the skin and into the bloodstream. Chemicals and toxins can then continue to circulate, often times in more toxic forms due to other metabolic interactions that take place within the body. These toxins can then bioaccumulate in the body, mostly in fat (brain is ~70% fat by the way).
So you see even using small amounts can accumulate if the application is a daily ritual. Add to this the potential impediment to breaking down and excreting these chemicals if there is sluggish liver function, which can be caused by toxic overload. This is a real “chicken or egg” situation and is why using safer products and providing the liver with the support it needs with an annual detox/cleanse are two essentials for wellness.
In closing, let me just reiterate what I’ve said before. There is no full proof way to achieve a guarantee for disease avoidance or even premature death. However, there does exist ways to potentially facilitate that process in one direction or the other.
When it comes to the often overlooked ingredients in our skin care products and their similarly underestimated far reaching effects, it would serve as another strong step in the direction of clean living, wellness, and longevity to avoid these chemicals; even if the potential exists. Why increase your potential for cancer or hormone disruption if you don’t have to?
Need help getting started? Don’t know where to find alternative products? Let us know and we’d be happy to share with you the products we utilize for our own family.