What is the largest organ in the human body? Do you think it’s the lungs? The heart? Maybe you have a giant stomach or an inflamed liver that is larger than average and hence the biggest organ you have. Maybe it’s the large intestines? They do snake throughout the body and take up quite a bit of space in the stomach right?
WRONG! What if I told you the largest organ in the human body is your skin! That’s right, your skin is the largest organ in the human body. So why is the title of this post called “Natural Soaps and Cleansers”
If you take care of your body and care about what goes in and out of it then you should really pay attention to all of the things you are putting ON it. Yes, our skin being the largest organ in our body has great potential to absorb chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins.
These toxins can be from environmental exposure. Asbestos we all know is a toxin that not only harmful to breathe but harmful to humans to touch. Mercury is another prime example. I recall playing with the mercury from a broken thermometer years ago as kid. It just looked so cool rolling through my palms as I passed it back on forth from my left hand to my right hand. Hopefully I won’t suffer any long term effects from such a minimal exposure time and hopefully none of that mercury was able to pass through my skin. That was thirty some odd years ago and I don’t recall getting sick but I know now they make a BIG DEAL out of any sort of potential exposure these days.
But obvious exposure is one thing. Everyday inadvertent is another thing. Let’s think about all the ways in which we could be exposing ourselves to unnecessary toxins and chemical just by our own ignorance.
I’m talking about the following things you may be doing everyday to your body without knowing it.
- Shampoos and Conditioners
- Lotions and Moisturizers
- Shaving Cream and Aftershaves
- Makeup (broad)
- Colognes and Parfumes
- Hand Soap and Sanitizer
- Bug Sprays and Repellants
These are just to name a few and I’m certain there are other areas I’m missing but you get my point. All of these products we put on our bodies every day without ever thinking that we could absorbing the chemicals in them directly into our skin and into our bloodstream. Kind of scary come to think of it huh?
Well, I guess most products are fairly safe for the most part but my question is…why put unnecessary unknown chemical on and IN your body if you don’t have to? There are several companies out there today who utilize a more natural approach to skin care and personal hygiene products. The problem is, some of the old all natural products just don’t perform as well as say they well known chemicals.
Let’s take bug sprays or insect and mosquito repellants for example. Mosquitoes absolutely ADORE ME! Even when no one else is getting bitten, your truly is getting chawed. They tend to come out of the woodwork to find me and seek out my sweet nectar aroma that I evidently put off and they find more attractive than anyone else. Rumor has it and studies have shown that they are attracted with individuals with higher blood cholesterol and quite frankly that may be my biggest problem….I need to have a lipid panel as soon as possible for my heart’s sake.
But addressing the bug spray issue right off the bat here I can attest that NOTHING else I’ve ever tried works better than pure, good ole toxic DEET. I know it must be terrible for the human body but I’m not sure what’s worse…the encephalitis, ghengi fever, and itching whelps…or the exposure to DEET.
I’m forever searching for a more natural solution to rid away the biting, blood sucking bugs and have yet to really find a solution. Light colored clothing and mosquito nets aren’t always the most practical everyday answer so until something else comes along I’ll try and only spray my clothing and hopefully avoiding as much skin contact as possible.
Sunscreen is another one of those catch twenty two’s. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The latest study I’ve read shows that individuals who don’t use sunscreen have a lower mortality rate than those that did. There are several hypothesis as to what the reason for this would be.
One scientist suggested that the group who didn’t use sun protection had higher levels of vitamin D in their systems which in turn acted as an antioxidant to thwart off other diseases. But what about skin cancer you might ask. Well obviously we know that sun exposure can lead to premature aging as well as skin cancer and that we should protect ourselves. Seems as though there may need to be some sort of happy medium where we use SOME sunscreen but allow a little bit of sun to enter our bodies. This could be why so many people are now vitamin D deficient and this deficiency can lead to several health problems.
Another scary thing about sunscreen are all the chemicals used in them. Different solvents to make it adhere to wet skin, to help it be water resistant, and to help it spread more evenly across the applied area are all nice and needed features but we are rubbing this nastiness into our bodies. This type of exposure is also thought to potential increase overall mortality even though we are trying to prevent death from skin cancer caused y sun exposure. Or is it sun overexposure? Many dermatologists will tell you no sun is good sun while others are now coming forward and singing the sun’s praises.
So the question remains….what to do? Well I try and find products that use as many natural ingredients as possible. Zinc Oxide, if composed in the proper form can provide excellent sun protection and not be absorbed into the skin. But there’s always a drawback…the waterproofness is lacking. Zinc easily rubs off in water or when toweled off unless coupled with some other compounds. Some may or may not be harmful and I’ll let you be the judge of that and decide what’s best for you and your family.
Badger and Burt’s have always been two favorite sunscreens I like to use. They’ve performed fairly well for me over the years but not without their drawbacks of course.
All of the other categories sort of speak for themselves. I try and use natural hand cleaners and soaps made of clay and other natural fragrances. These are becoming easier to find in major retailers across the country due to consumer demand.
Toothpaste is yet another double edged sword. You want healthy, bright, white, vibrant teeth and and gums that are free of disease. on the other hand most oral hygiene products are riddled with an array of chemicals that are known to be cancer causing. My suggestion is to try and find something without the unnatural ingredients.
But have you ever see a hippy with nice teeth? That’s why I’m reluctant to use a toothpaste like Tom’s but I have caught wind of a newer brand of toothpastes that’s supposed to be recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).