Skin Detoxification : How to Do it Properly
*Note to reader: None of these products in this blog post are affiliated. I do not take any commission from advertising them, it is purely sharing of my personal use and the benefits of switching to cleaner beauty products.
Part of living with PCOS and generally as a woman with hormonal imbalance is that we tend to get flareups the week before our period and at times when we are chronically stressed.
I don’t know about you but I suffered from acne when I was in my teens and hated it.
Throughly hated it and I took multiple visits to dermatologists to give me medicine for my face. My cheeks are now still a little scarred for some of the worse pimples.
Thankfully now, the age of clean beauty has caught up and there are more and more focus on skincare brands that avoid toxic ingredients which could potentially worsen our skin conditions and disrupt our hormone levels.
WHY IS DETOXING IMPORTANT? AND WHY THROUGH OUR SKIN?
If you missed out on why detoxification is an important biological process to pay attention to, I urge you to go back to my article that links detoxification and weight loss.
Stubborn weight loss is affected by the amount of detoxification your body is able to handle on a day to day basis. As I have said before, the skin is one of the ways that our bodies get rids of toxins and it is through sweating! (cue: exercise).
Another reason why your skin is great for detoxing is because our skin is an elimination system, containing over 9 million sweat glands.
Our skin either absorbs or have chemicals penetrate into it depending on the kind of products that we use. If you think about that, you don’t want to have chemicals enter your skin and bloodstream that could potentially cause harm to your body inner workings!
If it is sold in supermarkets and stores, it must be safe..
Really though? Just like the supermarket, not anything that is sold can be considered safe or non-hazardous to our health. It may not be obvious but there are plenty of additives, hidden food dyes and chemicals floating around, waiting to wreak havoc on your endocrine system.
Bottom line, this is a big common myth. If you think this way about your personal care products and your food, think again.
The trouble is, there is no regulation of the personal care and beauty industry and this has led to many being able to advertise as freely as they want. This means they can use terms like ‘natural’ and ‘green’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ without with no evidence to show and big brands are able to use carcinogens in their products. How crazy is that?! It gives me so much frustration that everyone is falling to this, especially women, because just like in the food industry, additives and harmful ingredients can be added and we are susceptible to it. It even says so from the FDA site itself - cosmetic products, preservatives and other chemicals do not need FDA Approval to go on to the market.
We are exposed to toxic ingredients in many ways so don’t think that any amount is too small. Anything you use in the shower, to your toothpaste, to your lotions and creams to hair gels and wax etc. Everything is non-regulated and even natural products I have seen may not be entirely risk free.
If you are like me and want to take back control of your skin regime, keep reading.
The photo above showcases my revamped skincare regime! I have since also added Cocokind’s Chlorophyll mask and facial cleansing oil because they have simple ingredients and have been helpful for my face.
What toxic ingredients to avoid?
Off the top of my head, ingredients like parabens, fragrance and phthalates come to mind. However, there are other ingredients to avoid according to The Fox and She, including BHT, SLS, Lead and Formaldehyde. Dr Brighten suggests that Triclosan and Acrylamide are also involved in the bad cosmetics game.
Also, bare in mind that I am focusing on cleansing products. There is a whole other world about toxic ingredients in makeup products!
Parabens - Present in a LOT of beauty products and they are used in order prolong the shelf life of these products. They are also reportedly used to prevent us from harmful bacteria and mold. The trouble is, the FDA and governmental federations are waiting for more scientific studies that specifically prove that parabens prove to be a hazard on human health and have the potential to cause breast cancer. There is a good summary on this and the other toxic ingredients on WebMD. In addition, if the cosmetic is harmful, the FDA will not withdraw it from the market!
Phthalates - Present in both beauty (nail polish, lip balms) , plastic containers and household cleaners, these chemicals can affect reproductive health. It is also used in the word ‘Fragrance’ and is involved in developmental and reproductive toxicity such as fetal development, sperm motility and increase proliferation of breast cancer cells. Yikes!
Do note that Fragrance is used as trade secrets by companies and they do not have to divulge what is inside. I feel so uncomfortable with the notion that I do not know what kind of ‘trade' secret ingredients’ they have in there and would much rather see the names of plant herbals and essential oils on my product labels!
Learn more about toxic ingredients, myths about the cosmetic industry and alternative swaps at Skin Deep. If you get super confused and overwhelmed by all these things to look out for, stick with the basics just like reading food labels - if you can’t pronounce it or if it’s a chemical name, chances are it’s toxic. Unless the ingredient goes by the herb name (lavandula for lavender as an example), avoid anything else. It is not worth buying.
SWITCHING TO CLEAN BEAUTY
What products do you use then? It seems like all the cheap and affordable drugstore brands have layers and layers of ingredients, hidden with toxic ones and to make you buy them, slap on big words such as ‘Organic’ and ‘All natural’. I would recommend doing thorough research and if you’re lazy, here are some options to check out.
Pai Skincare (UNITED KINGDOM)
Among the Flowers (CALIFORNIA)
W.A.N.T Skincare (SINGAPORE)
Kate Blanc Cosmetics (USA)
Natural Beauty Brands in Asia (courtesy of Green is the New Black)
A lot of the products I use contain essential oils only such as the UR Beauty Essential Oil or Pai Rosehip Oil. They are wonderful in the sense that the ingredient label is so short and clearly states what is in it.
Here are two examples of my favourite products I am using right now:
I just discovered rosehip oil as a multitasker for many skin conditions including sensitive skin. Rose hip is the fruit of the rose plant and the oil is extracted from the seeds.
It contains antioxidants and omegas 3,6,7,9 and helps to repair old scars and age spots. Claimed to be a superb anti-aging agent due to its ability for cell turnover and collagen production.
Kate Blanc’s Jojoba Oil is so affordable and I use it as a moisturiser at night when I don’t use the rosehip oil. It serves pretty well as a primer base before any foundation gets slapped on.
but clean skincare is so expensive.
Is it that expensive though? Or would you rather pay thousands of dollars to go see your dermatologist, endocrinologst, facial treatments, OB/GYN, Fertility doctors etc.
The truth is, all the clean products I have been using only require a small amount of usage for a big dose of benefits. My rosehip oil looks so small at a 30ml bottle but I only use 2-3 drops each time, every alternate night! It’s going to last me a good 8 months and I only paid $40 for it?! If you are unsure, go with one or two swaps at a time. It will take a huge kink out of your wallet but as with all other lifestyle changes, go step by step. I am in the process of switching my shampoos and soaps now that I am done with the skincare part.
The other thing is, we can use healthy ingredients in our very own kitchen to make masks, scrubs and balms. I for one am interested to experiment with activated charcoal!
Everyone loves a good discount right? Again, I am not earning anything from your purchase (except your awareness about clean beauty!) but I managed to score a promotional code for my audience to use.
Last thing for all you beautiful Nourishers, I use the essential oils like sweet almond or castor oil for my scalp in order to get rid of dandruff. Coconut oil added to your conditioner or a pre-addition before you shampoo your hair is great too. My scalp is definitely a lot cleaner and seeing the benefits of using cleaner hair products.