Toxic chemicals in skin products are absorbed into your bloodstream
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What do you put on your skin?

If you opened this email, you are probably a health-focused person who likes to be informed. Being informed will allow you to make more conscious decisions for yourself, your family, and the environment. And I can help you make simple choices that will be very beneficial to you.

Whether you are a man or a woman, your shower routine may sound somewhat like this: rinse, wash your hair with shampoo, wash your body with soap, shave with cream, brush your teeth with toothpaste, use mouthwash, add body lotion, deodorant, perfume/cologne, sunscreen, lip balm/makeup, hair gel/spray… How many chemicals do your hygiene and beauty routines expose you to?

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate harmful ingredients in personal care products, but the cosmetic industry put thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility, or birth defects. 

The Story of Cosmetics

There is a lot of research on gut bacteria (read my article about Fixing Your Gut – 5 Steps). It is a trendy topic for both the scientific literature and the popular media. But researchers are now turning their attention to the skin microbiome.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and it is estimated that it harbors approximately 1 billion microbes per square centimeter. While some bacteria get you sick, others protect your immune system. You may try to heal your gut with probiotics, but sterilize your skin with hand sanitizers, killing both the good and the bad bacteria.

But the problem is not only related to the removal of good bacteria from the skin but also related to the addition of chemicals that are absorbed by the skin. The skin absorbs up to 60% of what you put on (
on this article I talk about the benefits of adding a shower filter to remove chlorine from your water). Researchers indicate that many harmful cosmetic ingredients penetrate the skin into the blood.
For example...

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested teens to find out which chemicals in personal care products were found in their bodies, 16 different hormone-altering chemicals, including parabens and phthalates, were detected. 

In a study of more than 31,000 American women, researchers examined blood and urine levels to search for chemicals commonly found in products, such as cosmetics. Women with higher levels of the chemicals in their bodies were found to experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels.

Another study found that the concentration of heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and phthalates in a man’s body had more effect on how long it took a couple to conceive than the concentrations of those chemicals in the woman.
Many of these synthetic chemicals are skin irritants, hormone disruptors, and carcinogenic.
Let’s take a look at some of these harmful chemicals:

Phthalates may be used as a fragrance ingredient. Diethlyhexyl Phthalate (DEHP) - a class of phthalates that may be associated with alterations in thyroid hormone levels. They are also known to be linked to increased risk of breast cancer.

An ingredient in many antibacterial liquid hand soaps, toothpaste, and deodorants. It may interfere with hormone function. A study raised concerns that triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. Another study of pregnant Brooklyn women links triclosan with preterm births and smaller newborns.

These are used to preserve cosmetics and prevent bacterial growth. They can be found in makeup, lotions, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers. Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer
There are many other chemicals that have harmful health effects.

Shopping tips
Soap Avoid: triclosan and triclocarban.
Skin moisturizer and lip products Avoid: Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol in daytime products
Hand sanitizers Pick: ethanol or ethyl alcohol in at least 60% alcohol
Sunscreen Just say no:
  • SPF above 50
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Aerosol spray and powder sunscreen
  • Oxybenzone
  • Added insect repellent
Say yes to:
  • Hats and shade in mid-day sun
  • Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide as active ingredients, otherwise Avobenzone (at 3%)
  • SPF 15 to 50, depending on your own skin coloration, time outside, shade and cloud cover.
  • Use a lot and reapply frequently
Hair Care Avoid or limit:
  • Dark permanent hair dyes
  • Chemical hair straighteners
Toothpaste Avoid: triclosan
Nails Avoid:
  • Formaldehyde or formalin in polish, hardeners or other nail products.
  • Toluene and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in polish.
  • Pregnant? Skip polish
After shave Avoid:
  • “Fragrance”
  • Oxybenzone
  • PEG/ceteareth/polyethylene
  • Parabens
Shaving cream Avoid:
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • “Fragrance”
  • PEG/ceteareth/polyethylene
  • Triclosan
Eat healthy!   Detox your environment.   
Schedule your appointment today
Past Issue: Should you buy all organic foods?

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DIY Personal Care Products - if you are feeling crafty

Mix these ingredients into a foaming pump bottle
1/4 C castille soap
1/2 C filtered water 
2 tbsp. glycerine
1/2 tsp. jojoba oil
1/2 tsp. honey
A few drops of a pure essential oil

Hand liquid soap
Mix these ingredients into a foaming pump bottle
1/2 C castille soap
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
25 drops of essential oil

Mix these ingredients into a spray bottle
1/2 C milk of magnesia (find it at your local pharmacy)
1/4 C filtered water
1 tsp. essential oil

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Ask your dietitian for more information on harmful chemicals.

Contact me and get more recipes!

Livia Ly, MS, RD, LDN
(312) 870-0150


Nutrily, pronounced nutri-lee, is a nutrition consultancy company that follows a holistic approach.

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