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Our Skin

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. Its role is to protect our body, especially by regulating its temperature and allowing it to defend itself against external attacks: cold, heat, sun rays, infections…

Our skin is covered with a layer of fat and bacteria that protects the dermis. As the rest of our body, it works in a unique way meaning its functioning is specific to each individual. This is why it is so difficult to treat certain skin diseases such as eczema or even warts because they are intrinsically linked to complex individual dysfunctions, often hormonal, psychological and digestive.

This layer of protective grease is partially or completely destroyed by almost all existing shower gels and soaps – not to mention hydroalcoholic gels which should not be used unless necessary because they contain extremely irritating substances. When this protective layer needs to regenerate, we are evidently more vulnerable to germs and viruses. Most of shower gels, shampoos and facial and body creams contain irritants, sometimes very numerous ones, endocrine disruptors, often repro-toxic (i.e. they interfere with our fertility abilities after prolonged use and are thus all the more harmful for children), carcinogenic substances and, in a lesser evil except for sensitive people, allergens such as synthetic perfumes or essential oils.

Similarly, toothpastes and make-up products may contain heavy metals and minerals, such as titanium dioxide – also present in sunscreens – silica and aluminium, in the form of nanoparticles which pass through bloodstream into our organs and brain and are dangerous for our nervous system and bone tissue.

Most of sunscreens, which are supposed to protect the skin from the sun, contain,  highly toxic products, including very powerful endocrine disruptors, such as homosalate and octocrylene, but also heavy metals in the form of nanoparticles such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

I’ve learned the hard way about the effect of endocrine disruptors and their dangerousness: A few years ago, my husband and I, like most people, had been using, for several years and without worry, a roller stick deodorant from a well known brand available in supermarkets. One day, I started having inflammatory swellings on my nose during my period. My nose became swollen and sore for several days, a phenomenon that I blamed on the recurring hormonally linked quirks of my body. A few months later, a painful nodule appeared on one of my pubic lips and disappeared after giving me intensive pains for several days. A second appeared a few weeks later, this time turning into an infectious abscess. I could not understand where the problem came from and had not even made the connection between my nose and my pubis – They are usually not working together! – when, repeatedly and closely, similar inflammatory nodules began to appear under my armpits ; only then did I understand and immediately stop this deodorant. The phenomenon never happened to me again.

Nevertheless, my husband continued to use this deodorant for a few more months until an inflammatory nodule appeared on his nipple, the origin of which we immediately identified and treated accordingly by stopping, definitly this time, this deodorant. Since then, my husband has been using an alum stone for his armpits perspiration, an entirely natural product – always check the potassium alum mention to confirm that it is a natural and non-chemical alum stone, chemicals containing extremely dangerous aluminum salts – but which, because my skin is more fragile, gives me irritation. For my part, I use a made of essential oils deodorant but I am very much aware that they are not free of long-term endocrine risks.

Don’t be fooled by labels either, they’re misleading: I bought products that claimed 99% natural ingredients and yet contained endocrine disruptors and irritants. Similarly, organic cosmetics, unless they are 100% natural, contain exactly the same harmful substances as non-organic ones. As a perfectly normal human being, it is impossible for me to learn by heart the list of all nocive ingredients, far too long and with barbaric Latin names. I made the choice to rely on the advantages offered by modern era and downloaded 2 applications that I use according to my needs:

  • Yuka which is very easy to use because you just need to scan barcodes of products to know which are the toxic and non-toxic substances present in a them.
  • The Good Face Project which allows you to scan the substances list when you’re shopping online.

No product is totally toxic substances free so I tolerate allergens if they are not too numerous, because we have very few allergies in our family.

Moreover, despite popular belief, the cheapest products are not the most harmful, quite the contrary. The major cosmetic brands’ products are often completely chemical and very harmful. For my part, since I began scrutinizing my products composition, I have divided my cosmetic purchases bill in two and their dangerousness by ten.

As for the rest of our body, we are responsible for our skin well-being. If we allow ourselves to become active informed buyers rather than blind consumers only concerned by their ego’s wishing to identify with the character in the ad, we will be then better able to defend ourselves against viruses and bacteria, thus to stay healthy and enjoy all the more the joy and little pleasures of life.

For those who’d rather read on paper, you can download this article in PDF by clicking right below. 
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GClaudel4@Luc Naville BD

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