That may sound like a weird question, but truthfully if you are using a product on your skin, it should be “clean” enough to eat. Though you may not realize it, your skin is an organ (your largest organ, at that), and is capable of not only excreting things through your pores (i.e. sweat, salts), but also ABSORBING things. In fact, some prescriptions, such as hormones, are administered as creams to be applied to the skin for absorption into the bloodstream. So if medicine can be given topically through the skin, imagine what other things are being absorbed into our bodies-- think chemicals in lotions, sunblock, perfumes, make-up, hair products, etc.
Let’s dive a little deeper into which chemicals we are concerned about and what they may be doing when they are absorbed into the body:
So how do we know if these chemicals are in our products? We recommend the Environmental Working Group, as well as apps likeThinkDirty. The ThinkDirty app makes it super easy, especially when you are out shopping. Just scan the barcode of the product and if it’s in the database, it will show you how “clean” the product is and what chemicals it may have in it. Another option is to buy from companies, such as Beauty Counter, who are committed to providing safe & clean beauty products.
Feeling overwhelmed? I know that when I first learned about all of this, I wanted to live in a bubble. There are so many things to look out for and to avoid—it can be super overwhelming! My advice is always to start slow. Rather than throwing everything away and buying all new products (because, who can afford to do that? #studentloans), wait until you run out of something to buy a cleaner option. You can use this approach for everything from skincare and beauty products to household cleaning products.
Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash
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Dr. Jess Hickey & Dr. Lain Lye are naturopathic doctors and wellness enthusiasts. Tune in for health tips, reflections, and more!