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Naturopathic Basics: Reading Labels on Things We Apply to Our Skin…

To finish up the “Read Labels” bullet point, here are the reasons behind the chemicals to avoid in topical health and beauty aids, like shampoo, toothpaste, make-up, lotions, shower gels…

Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates. These agents are put into products to help them foam up, like toothpastes and shampoos and body washes. They are the same chemicals used to compare hypo-allergenic products against: sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate will cause the test rabbits eyes to turn red with irritation. If the product being tested turns the test rabbits eyes less red with irritation, it’s given the stamp of “hypo-allergenic”. I can’t make this stuff up!

Parabens, like ethyl, methyl, butyl, and propylparaben and frequently added to skin care products. They are endocrine system dysruptors, acting like estrogens. While this might initially seem like a positive benefit, most American women are already estrogen dominant; adding even more estrogen to the mix is a bad idea.

Petrolatum and mineral oil are both by-products of the petroleum industry. They’ve been $old to us as skin protectors like Vaseline and Chap Stick. While they do a great job at providing a barrier to the skin, they’re still petroleum wastes and don’t allow the skin to breathe. Turns out the skin is a huge organ of both absorption and elimination. It needs to breathe!

Aluminum. In Greece, aluminum foil has been banned. Aluminum has been found in the neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Aluminum is also being found in the fastest growing breast cancer, intraductal carcinoma. Aluminum is a main ingredient in anti-perspirants. It makes sense that if you stop the elimination at the arm-pit, the next best place for that waste to go–along with the anti-perspirant, itself–is into the breast tissue. Please, spare the breasts. Use deodorants, not anti-perspirants.

NEXT UP: the reasons to choose a “whole foods diet”.

Wishing you WELLness,

Christie Fleetwood, ND, RPh



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