- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
The skin is the largest organ in the human body.
It protects us from pathogens, extreme water loss, and aids in insulation and temperature control.
Substances flow through the pores of the skin into our blood stream and as a result, travel to most primary systems in the body.
What we put on our skin can consequently and particularly affect the way our nervous, lymphatic, and immune systems function.
In ancient cultures, what people used as shampoo, soap, and make-up, was derived from natural sources found in nature.
Today, with a booming chemical industry, western cultures infuse dangerous and often untested substances into common-day products that enter the body through the skin.
Once inside, many of these toxic substances turn into free radicals, contributing to various cancers and creating havoc for the endocrine system and basic hormone production.
In addition to disrupting our own health, toxins also wash into our waterways and end up disrupting the balance of the natural world.
The Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia has done tremendous research in this area and has developed resources to "assist people who want to decrease their exposure to harmful substances in their daily life."
Their Guide to Less Toxic Products offers a list of some of the toxic substances that tend to make their way into common, commercial products, often found on the shelf of our grocery stores.
Here is just an excerpt of that list:
Aluminum: Aluminum compounds are the active ingredient in antiperspirants. By temporarily plugging the sweat ducts, they stop sweat coming to the skin's surface. A 2005 British study, published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, found that aluminum-based compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like effect, which have the ability to promote breast cancer cells.
Food Colorings: Used extensively in personal care products, FD&C colors are made from coal. Coal tar colors have been found to cause cancer in animals and many people experience allergic reactions like skin irritation and contact dermatitis.
DEA, TEA, MEA: Diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), andmonoethanolamine (MEA) are hormone disruptors. They are also known to combine with nitrates to form cancer-causing nitrosamines.
Fragrance: Synthetic fragrance is the most common ingredient found on the label of personal care products. The generic terms, "fragrance" or "parfum," can indicate the presence of up to 3,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Fragrance is a sensitizer and a known trigger of asthma. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation.
The more we can become aware of what we put on our skin and how it may effect our health the more we can make wise choices that will not compromise our health. As some have said in the past, if you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin.
Visit their website to learn more about the common substances in personal care products that could do more harm to your skin than good.
More about Danny Arguetty, M.A.
Danny Arguetty, M.A., a Nutrition, Health and LIFE (Living in Free Expression) Counselor, has been involved in the health field for the last decade. He guides and works privately with clients utilizing customized programs based on bio-individual needs and diverse life situations.
He specializes in yoga privates, weight loss, digestive disorders, healthy aging, sugar/caffeine dependencies, persistent fatigue, chronic stress, relationship support, life coaching and practical healthy living strategies.
Arguetty is also a faculty member at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Adjunct Faculty at Williams College, and author of Nourishing the Teacher: inquiries, contemplations & insights on the path of yoga. He leads 200hr Yoga Teacher Trainings in Southern California and Advanced 500hr Trainings in Kerala, India.