You Are What You Put on Your Skin

Remember back in high school when were taught the various organs of the body; do you recall learning that the skin is the largest organ?  For a little refresher the skin weighs an average of 8 pounds, consisting of approximately 22 square feet.  That’s a lot of skin to take care of!

You know the old say that ‘you are what you eat’?  This can be rephrased to say, ‘you are what you put on your skin’.  “How is that so,” you may ask.  

Well the answer is that our bodies can ingest, so to speak, various products we apply to it into our bodies through dermal absorption.  The CDC (2012) recognizes that this occurs under certain conditions, two of which include the length of exposure and the properties of the substance.

With those two conditions in mind, think about some of the ingredients that are found in our daily skincare regime products.  Personally, I use to love one popular woman’s stick antiperspirant, which consists of: 

Active Ingredient: Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (18.5%).Other Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, C18-36 acid trigliceride, microcrystalline wax, silica, glycerin, fragrance (parfum), dimethicone crosspolymer, sunflower oil, vegetable oil (olus), glyceryl oleate, propylene glycol, BHT, t-butyl hydroquinone, citric acid.

Circling back to the CDC’s conditions of length of exposure and properties of the substance, deodorants and antiperspirants are meant to last up to 24 hours.  For 24 hours a day our bodies are exposed to those chemicals.  For many of us we begin to use either of the two from puberty to our last days.  That’s a crazy, but true, example of prolonged exposure.

As I thought about the ingredients over time I came to decision of, “if you can’t pronounce it (or understand it), don’t use it.”  Since then I’ve switched over to a natural deodorant that I can actually pronounce all of the ingredients and, more importantly, one that allowed my body to sweat as it was made to do.  

Deodorants and antiperspirants are just one example of the many skincare products we faithfully put on our skin day in and day out.  Now you may be wondering what alternatives there are to the chemical laden products that overwhelm our daily existence.  

The answer is there are unlimited choices.  Start by doing some research on the internet for alternatives to the products you already use.  This may be overwhelming at first but the best bet for long-term success is to make small changes.  Switch out one product at a time and when it becomes a habitual part of your daily routine, move to the next product you want to switch out.  

After all, you are what you put on your skin.

For additional reading, check out Deborah Burnes’ article from the Huffington Post:…/skin-care_b_1540929.html.

Skin Exposures & Effects. (2012, April 30). CDC. Retrieved from

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