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Uncovering The Truth: Skincare & Toxins

Updated: May 2


Good Skin Starts From Within:


If you go on social media today, all you'll see is people promoting the next best skincare, promising to get rid of your acne and give you 'glass' skin. The reality is that while some products may offer a quick, temporary improvement, they merely suppress the symptoms without addressing the underlying causes. Cosmetic companies love to sell you the next best thing in skincare, and you'll remain in the cycle or trying product after product when really lasting skin health requires examining what's truly happening inside your body. In today's world, where toxins are prevalent and largely unregulated, topical skincare can become problematic. Unfortunately, this means that many of your favourite beauty products might actually be contributing to your body's toxic burden. So let's dive into the complexities of ingredients, treatments, and practices that define modern skincare....



Cream smeared underneath tube of product


Navigating Skincare Ingredients:


Defining Toxins


Toxins are harmful substances that can adversely affect our health. Toxins are everywhere in our environment, from the food we eat to the products we use. We can group toxins into two types: external and internal. External toxins are things like the synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and cleaning products. Internal toxins come from inside our bodies, like the substances made by bacteria and parasites. Your body is naturally equipped to detoxify itself, but sometimes the burden of toxins becomes so great that it can overwhelm these natural processes.


The Three Phases of Detoxification


Detoxification is a complex process involving several organs, primarily the liver, kidneys, and intestines:


  • Phase 1 (Transformation): The liver converts fat-soluble toxins into less harmful substances, utilizing nutrients such as B vitamins and Vitamin C.

  • Phase 2 (Conjugation): Further processing makes toxins water-soluble, preparing them for elimination. This phase relies heavily on amino acids found in proteins such as eggs, meat, and particularly organ meats.

  • Phase 3 (Elimination): Toxins are expelled through urine, feces, or bile. Supporting each phase is crucial for optimal detoxification and can be enhanced by specific diets and supplements.


The Overwhelming Presence of Chemicals


It's concerning to discover that each day, more than 42 billion pounds of chemicals are manufactured, and the health effects of about 75% of these chemicals have not been thoroughly researched. Additionally, up to 65% of the substances we put on our skin are absorbed into our bodies, highlighting the importance of being careful with the skincare products we choose. Although some of these chemicals in cosmetics are safe, some are connected to serious health issues like cancer, reproductive problems, and brain damage. These harmful chemicals can get into our bodies through our skin, by breathing them in, or by swallowing them, similar to how we can be affected by harmful food chemicals. Also, these products can have heavy metals like arsenic and lead.


Skincare & Our Hormones


Some specific chemicals found in personal care items, even in tiny amounts, can mess with our hormones. Studies have shown that chemicals like parabens and phthalates are especially risky during pregnancy and early childhood development because they can disrupt the formation of organs and nervous systems. These chemicals are linked to diseases related to hormones and some types of cancer, such as breast cancer, because they affect how the body handles estrogen. They can also weaken the immune system, making us more prone to getting sick.

We often see cosmetic products, including body washes, makeup powders, eye shadows, and lotions contaminated with bacteria or contain banned chemicals.


So Which Ingredients Should You Avoid?


Despite the use of over 10,000 chemicals in these products, only 11 have been banned or restricted by the FDA. It's been more than 80 years since the laws that ensure the safety of personal care products have been updated. Currently, the FDA doesn't require these products to undergo basic safety testing before they are sold. To guide you through the complex world of cosmetics and their potential toxins, here's a list of ingredients you should avoid:


  • Parabens

  • Synthetic Colours/Dyes

  • SLS

  • Fragrance

  • Hydroquinone

  • Phenoxyethanol

  • Fluoride

  • Aluminum Hydroxide

  • Proplyene Glycol & Polyethylene Glycol

  • Formaldehyde

  • Triclosan

  • Methylene Glycol/Methylaldehyde

  • Petroleum Derivatives

  • Talc

  • Oxybenzone

  • Dimethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane

  • Phthalates


For more info on which ingredients to steer clear of and which products are safe, check out the EWG website and the Think Dirty app.


Topical Skincare: Is your routine toxic?


You might not realize it, but your current skincare routine could be doing more harm than good to your skin. In skincare you want to avoid the following ingredients:


  • Retinoids

  • BHA/AHA

  • Steroid Creams & Antibiotics

  • Essential Oils & Seed Oils

  • Fragrance

Harsh chemicals and ingredients can disrupt your skin's natural microbiome and damage its protective barrier, which only inflames the skin causing more acne. If you've been regularly using any of the mentioned products, it might be beneficial to stop applying anything to your skin for 1-2 months, except for filtered water. This break could give your skin barrier a chance to restore and heal itself. The skincare industry strongly advocates for retinol and sunscreen, claiming these products can rejuvenate your skin and turn back the clock on aging. However, these products can be quite harsh on your skin. What if their benefits aren't as good as we're led to believe?


The Sunscreen Dilemma:


You might have heard dermatologists recommend using sunscreen every day, and even reapplying it multiple times. I don't believe this is the way to "protect" ourselves from the sun. The sun plays such critical role in our health and does more than just aid in vitamin D synthesis; it influences our entire biological system. Exposure to sunlight can affect our brain, nervous system, and hormones. The key is to get sun exposure on your bare skin often to harness its benefits but not too much that it causes harm. The morning and late afternoon sun is less intense than midday sun and offers health benefits without the high risk of burning. Many commercial sunscreens contain chemicals that can add to our body's toxic burden, potentially leading to cancer (especially when oxidized with the sun) and other health problems. Besides being cautious about sun exposure by wearing hats, seeking shade, and covering up when necessary, there are additional methods to stay sun safe without relying solely on sunscreen.


Dietary Influence on Sun Reaction


Our diet plays a big role in how our skin handles sun exposure. Eating foods rich in saturated fats, vitamin E, iodine, and vitamin A can help strengthen our skin's defense against UV damage. Here’s how these nutrients help:


  • Saturated Fats: These fats help keep our cell walls strong against sun damage, unlike unsaturated fats, which can break down and weaken our skin under sunlight.

  • Vitamin E: This vitamin acts as a shield, stopping sun-caused free radicals (harmful molecules) that can damage our cells. I love LifeBlud and MitoLife E's in my shop (linked above) and there is discount codes listed in my shop for you to use!

  • Iodine: Important for thyroid and skin health, iodine helps our skin grow strong from the inside, making it better at resisting sun damage.

  • Vitamin A: It helps repair and maintain our skin, reducing damage from the sun and helping it heal if sunburned.

On the other hand, a diet high in unsaturated fats may be problematic with sun exposure. These fats can react with sunlight, causing oxidative stress that weakens skin cells and speeds up aging.


By focusing on a diet with stable saturated fats, we can enhance our skin's ability to cope with the sun. This approach, alongside sensible sun habits like seeking shade during peak hours and wearing protective clothing can significantly reduce the risk of skin damage and support overall skin health in a more natural and holistic way. If you find yourself in direct sunlight for an extended period and feel the need to use sunscreen, opt for a saturated fat based mineral sunscreen like the one from Fancy Farm in my shop. There is a discount code listed in my shop for you to use!


Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreen


Mineral sunscreens, sit on the surface of the skin and physically block UV rays, reflecting them away from the skin. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the primary active ingredients in these products. They are less likely to penetrate the skin or disrupt hormonal balance though theres still concerns. I definitely prefer zinc oxide over titanium dioxide from a health perspective.


Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing into the skin and then absorbing UV rays, converting them into heat, and releasing them from the body. The active ingredients in these sunscreens, such as octocrylene, octinoxate, homosalate, and oxybenzone, have been shown to disrupt hormone levels and can remain in the body for an extended period.


The Hidden Dangers of Benzene


A concerning issue is the detection of benzene, a known carcinogen, in several sunscreen products. This contamination is particularly prevalent in aerosol sprays. Although the exact source of benzene contamination is not clear, it is suspected to originate from certain petroleum-derived ingredients used in these products. The presence of such a hazardous chemical underscores the need for stricter quality controls and transparency in cosmetic manufacturing.


Rethinking Retinoids: Are They Aging Your Skin Faster?


While retinoids are often talked about as a miracle solution for skin aging and acne, they come with several potential drawbacks that can actually compromise your skin health. Retinoids can weaken the skin barrier by causing cells to turn over at an unnaturally rapid rate. This rapid turnover doesn't allow skin cells to properly form and produce the necessary lipids that protect your skin, leading to increased redness, dryness, and sensitivity.


Moreover, since skin cells have a limited capacity to replicate, the accelerated cell division encouraged by retinoids can deplete these divisions prematurely. This means we might be using up our skin's ability to renew itself too quickly, potentially leading to accelerated aging over time.

Its also important to note retinoids can increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight, raising the risk of hyperpigmentation and other sun-related damage.


Instead of relying on topical retinoids, consider getting retinol naturally through your diet, such as from sources like beef liver. Beef liver stands out as a super rich source of Vitamin A (retinol in the skincare world), which is crucial for skin repair and maintenance. Incorporating beef liver into the diet can provide these skin-enhancing benefits from a completely natural source, eliminating the need for synthetic alternatives. I know what you're thinking though, beef liver isn't really something you want to eat on a daily basis, or ever. I always recommend to my clients taking a beef liver supplement, as you will get your fix of vitamin A and its more beneficial to the body than taking a synthetic multivitamin in my opinion! I get all my desiccated organ supplements from Nutrimal in my shop (linked above) and there is a discount code listed there for you to use as well.


The Misunderstood Nature of Acne


Contrary to common misconceptions, acne is not a result of poor hygiene but an indication of underlying imbalances in the body. It originates from an overproduction of sebum, leading to inflammation, clogged pores, and bacterial overgrowth. A lot of people will start to use harsh products on their skin and wash it multiple times a day in order to "clean" their skin and rid themselves of acne, but all this is really doing is stripping your skin barrier. Excess sebum is triggered from an imbalance inside the body, not dirty skin. Understanding this helps in shifting the focus from excessive cleansing and product use to addressing the root causes.



Acne Friendly & Low Toxin Skincare


When you start a 10 step skincare routine, or medications to tame your acne you are using a bandaid approach that will only temporarily suppress your symptoms rather than get to the root cause. Trying too many harsh skincare products can damage your skin barrier, creating more inflammation and acne medications such as accutane or birth control only work for the short term. Once you stop taking the medication, your acne will come back even worse, or it might return later when your body builds up resistance to the treatment. Always think about the possible side effects that any medication or even a supplement could have on your body.


While I'm a big fan of the cave man method when it comes to skincare, I know its not always everyones thing. I never recommend using comedogenic ratings to choose skincare products because they're not accurate! For natural skincare, it's best to use saturated fats because they don't create free radical damage on your skin (if you want to learn more about this, check out last weeks blog post). So if your looking to swap out your skincare routine to something that will support your skin barrier, and keep your toxic load at a minimum, I have a few recommendations:


Acne Friendly Cleansers:

Acne Friendly Moisturizers:


Less is always more when it comes to a skincare routine, and your wallet and skin barrier will thank you for ditching the harsh products. You don't need anything more than a cleanser and moisturizer! Embracing a holistic approach to skincare involves more than just choosing the right topical treatments; it requires a deep understanding of the body's internal processes and the external factors that affect skin health. By nurturing the body from the inside out and being mindful of the ingredients in skincare products, you can achieve a healthier, more radiant complexion. This approach not only improves skin health but also enhances overall well-being.


If you want to work with me (Katie) to get to the root cause of your skin conditions and clear your skin from the inside out- book a free call with me HERE.


P.S. Watch my FREE Clear Skin Masterclass to learn exactly how to get to the root root of your acne. This is a must watch if you are starting your natural skin healing journey! You will learn the steps I take to get my clients life long results. 


None of the above is medical advice.


Love Katie

xoxo













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