Expert Profile Menu
Apply for your Expert Profile Page
Expert Articles
Advertise with us

useNature Magazine - the Weekly Column - Tips - Info's - Stories

< Previous Article

Detoxing your body? Why bother?

Next Article >

Article by Pauline Ferguson

Detoxing your body? Why bother?

I just read an article about why you should detox your body.  It mentioned that there are usually about 300 chemicals inside our bodies, and it suggested that now might be a good time to get rid of a few.  Actually, I agree with that.  What I'm asking is: "why detox your body, but then continue to re-poison yourself?"

Let me explain.  Those 300 or so chemicals get into your body somehow, right?  Some of them are absorbed through your eating or drinking habits - the chemicals are absorbed into the food we eat through the habits of the farmers etc.  Farmers use chemical pesticides, therefore there are still some pesticides in the vegies we eat.  You know that, so you eat organically grown vegies, right?  And I'm betting that you also have a water filter, so that the water doesn't have that nasty chemical taste, and incidentally none of the nasty chemicals either, right?

You probably also know that the skin is the largest organ in your body.  Your skin is actually a permeable barrier - it keeps some things out, but it still absorbs others.  Some of those others are in the air, the water (which is why you should have a filter on your showerhead, too) and in the products you use on your skin and hair.

Your soap, shampoo, cleansers, moisturisers, toners, etc all have chemicals in them, which are absorbed into your skin.  Unless you're using the natural products (and you have to be very careful, some *say* natural, but actually aren't) you're probably putting petrochemicals, carcinogenics and mutagenics directly onto your skin.

Before you put anything onto your skin or hair, read the ingredients list.  The list is in order of greatest quantity first - which is why the first ingredient is often "aqua", signifying it's mostly water.  There are a couple of other things you need to be looking out for, too.

Firstly, anything that is a petrochemical. Petrochemicals are mineral oil products, and they can be absorbed by the skin, but not used by the body, so they just get into your body and cause their nasty little side-effects.  Sometimes they'll actually have "petro" in the name, sometimes not.  Paraffin is a petrochemical.  Don't be fooled by the "food grade" label on paraffin, either - how can you have a food grade mineral oil?

The next major ones to look out for are the "alphabet" ingredients.  Things like EDTA (tetrasodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate), TEA (triethanolamine) or PEG (Polyethylene glycol).

All three of these are commonly used in cosmetics and moisturisers.  All three are skin irritants.  TEA is a mutagenic - it causes mammalian somatic cells to mutate, usually by changing the DNA - YOUR DNA.  Yes, you're right, they don't use a lot of these substances in each product, but they do build up in your body.  The more you use them, the more of these chemicals your body is absorbing.

Another interesting product commonly used in skin care is sodium laurel sulphate (SLS), or sometimes sodium laureth sulphate.  These are essentially the same thing - they make the product froth up (which is why they're commonly used in soaps and cleaners) and spread more easily.  They also dry the skin out (so does chlorine).  This feature of drying the skin is why it's so interesting that SLS is used in moisturisers, too.  Doesn't make sense, does it?

Then there is "fragrance".  Manufacturers don't need to put the ingredients of the fragrance they use.  I can tell you that when it says "lavender" on the front of the bottle, it's rare that actual lavender has gone into the ingredients.  This leads me to the other absorption point - the air you breathe.

One of the ways deodourant works is to shut down some of the chemical receptors in your nose.  You literally cannot smell as well after you've inhaled deodourant.  Subsequently, the person wearing it doesn't smell as bad!  If you combine that with the large quantities of chemical fragrance loaded into these products, your poor nose is inhaling a very toxic scent!

Air "fresheners" use the same methods.  They are also toxic, as are insecticides (in fact anything that ends in "cide" - herbicide, rodenticide etc).  Don't get me started on the "automatic sprayers"!!

You absorb these poisons through your breathing, as well as through your skin when it settles on surfaces (floors, benches, walls, the garden etc) and you're also ingesting these poisons as they get into food which we place on those surfaces.

Cleaning products and that famous "antiseptic" air "freshener" are also being absorbed in this way.  Please rinse off any benches or cutting surfaces with clean water before placing any food there.  The same goes for using any of those "antiseptic wipes".  You know, "it's not clean unless it's..."

These are the most common poisons we "invite" into our homes and workplaces.  There are other ways that poisons get into your home in the less obvious ways, through your furniture, your paint, the appliances and games you use, insulation, building materials and anything you track in on your shoes (which is why you should remove your shoes at the door).

So this is why, if you're going to detox your body, you should also detox your home and workplace.

If you'd like to hear more about these other poisons and toxins, let me know, I'd love to hear from you and get your feedback!!  My facebook page has handy tips and shared articles on healthy buildings... please join us!

28 Jan 2012

Last Update: 6 Feb 2012

Article/Information supplied by Pauline Ferguson

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.