Skin, The Great Protector

Our skin works hard to protect us and rid our body of toxins. Every day, we face pollution in our air and water, ultraviolet radiation; plus, numerous chemicals in our cosmetics and skin care products enter our bodies through our skin. Here are HBCAC’s latest tips on skin safety during the summer months.

Sun Safety

UV light from the sun can be harmful, but did you know many sunscreens are too? Whenever possible, stay away from sunscreens that contain UV filters such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate or oxtinoxate. All of these chemicals prevent sunburn by absorbing the UV radiation. Physical sunscreens, a.k.a mineral sunscreens, use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients sit on the outermost layer of our skin. They reflect and scatter the UV rays away from the areas where they are applied. This is the healthier alternative to preventing sunburn and damage from sun exposure. These active ingredients are also less likely to irritate your skin. Sunscreens with non-nano zinc and titanium particles are much safer for us, and the environment. (1)

Remember to wear proper clothing for a sunny occasion. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that keeps your face, neck and ears shaded. As far as clothing, the tighter the knit or weave, the smaller the holes and the less UV can get through.

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

According to the EPA, in the last two decades there has been a growing awareness of the possible adverse effects from exposure to chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system. An endocrine disruptor is any chemical that can interfere with normal hormone functions in humans or animals and affect many bodily functions. Choose household products free of the following:

  • Parabens:

Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products. Unlike many endocrine-disrupting chemicals, parabens can be found in the product’s ingredient list. Here are a few common ones to look out for: methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, and benzylparaben.

  • Phthalates:

Phthalates are chemical compounds, which act as binding agents and also make plastics flexible. They can be found in many color cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body washes, hair care products, and nail polish. When reading labels, be aware that if a product has fragrance or parfum, it most likely has phthalates.

  • Triclosan:

This toxic chemical disturbs thyroid, testosterone, and estrogen regulation, which can create a host of issues including early puberty, poor sperm quality, infertility, obesity, and cancer. (2) Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, triclosan was used as a hospital scrub in the 1970s. By the year 2000, it had made its way into many consumer products, including toothpaste, soaps, and detergents. In September 2016, the FDA announced that 19 active ingredients, including triclosan and a related chemical, triclocarban, were to be removed from over-the-counter consumer antiseptic products intended for use with water, yet it is in the majority of brand name deodorants, and in some toothpaste!

Antiperspirants & Deodorants

The skin is the body’s natural heating and cooling system. Antiperspirants plug up your sweat glands, and we need to sweat to rid our bodies of toxins! Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine is the form of aluminum used in antiperspirants. It is restricted in Canada (3), which may make us think twice before applying it to our skin on a regular basis. The science is still going on as we speak!

When choosing a deodorant, be on the lookout for the endocrine disruptors above like parabens, fragrance, triclosan and also artificial colors. Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database is a reliable place to check for safety and health precautions of different products and ingredients. There are many options on the market now due to consumer demand.

Eating a clean diet with lots of fresh veggies and drinking plenty of water can also help cut down body odor and will help your skin stay healthy.

The Dirt on Dirt

There are many benefits to exposure to nature’s elements, especially dirt. Dr. Josh Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist, often talks about why dirt should be part of our daily routine. You can read about why he thinks we live in the age of oversanitation, and then get out and get dirty!

By Tara Marie Kotliar

References:

  1. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/nanoparticles-in-sunscreen/

  2. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/dirt-antibacterial-soaps

  3. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700330/ALUMINUM_ZIRCONIUM_TETRACHLOROHYDREX_GLYCINE_COMPLEX/