by Alex Fulton May 24, 2022 3 min read

Your skin is an organ that performs many important functions, not least of which is providing a protective barrier between your external environment and internal body. That's why skin health is so important and can be a good indicator of overall wellness.

Although it serves to shield you, your skin isn't impervious. It's porous, absorbing much of what is put onto it, directly into your bloodstream. Topical application of skin products can be beneficial - it is the ingredients we need to consider. Your skin's absorbability can also put you at risk of exposure to environmental toxins that can negatively impact your health.

Just as you may not notice the rain barrel in your backyard until it's overflowing with water and damaging the lawn, you may not realize that toxins are building up in your body until they lead to noticeable symptoms. Environmental toxins are everywhere, and you can't always avoid exposure. These harmful chemicals may even be hiding in the products you use every day, on your body and in your home. Knowing which household ingredients to avoid and how to reduce your exposure to toxins can help keep your internal rain barrel from overflowing.

3 Ingredients to Avoid When Choosing Household Products

Personal care products contain more than 10,000 different ingredients, many of which are known to be harmful. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't have a system in place for regulating personal care products, it's up to you as a consumer to educate yourself about which ingredients to avoid.

Here are three commonly used ingredients to look out for when choosing your household products. Found in everything from shampoo and toothpaste to laundry soap and toilet bowl cleaner, they may affect skin health as well as contribute to increased exposure to toxins.

  1. Propylene glycol is often added to skincare products because it acts as an emollient (softener) and emulsifier (blender). But propylene glycol can be highly irritating to the skin, which can lead to skin rashes and other reactions.
  2. Parabens like methylparaben are commonly used as preservatives in personal care products. They have been classified as endocrine disruptors, meaning they may throw off the hormonal balance in the body. They can also negatively affect skin health by irritating.
  3. Phthalates are found in many cleaning products, cosmetics, plastics and more. They have been associated with adverse reproductive effects, with their ability to pass through the placental barrier to the fetus -- an important consideration during pregnancy.

Reducing Your Exposure to Household Toxins

While it is impossible to avoid toxins, there are steps we can take to minimize our exposure to harmful chemicals where possible, starting with the products we use in our homes. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Read product labels. Now that you know a few ingredients to look out for, you can check to ensure the products you buy don't contain them. Look for natural products with ingredients you recognize — if you can't pronounce them, you probably don't want to put them on your body.

  • Make your own. The surest way to know exactly what's in your personal care products is to make them yourself. Many household cleaners and body care recipes require only a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

  • Support your body's natural ability to detoxify. Supporting healthy detoxification allows you to empty your personal rain barrel before it overflows. Chlorella, vitamin C and cilantro are potent nutrients that can help remove heavy metals we are exposed to. Working up a good sweat is another way to release toxins, like bisphenol A (BPA).

Promoting Health From the Outside In

You're probably careful about what you put in your body, so why not use the same caution about what you put on it? Skin health is key to overall wellness, and reducing your exposure to household toxins is a great way to protect the skin you're in while avoiding unnecessary toxic overload.

This simple at-home lab test can help identify whether you have a build-up of heavy metals in your body and the insight you need on how you can safely remove them to support your health.

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