What You Put ON Your Body Is As Important As What You Put In Your Body

The Hidden Health Havoc

Eeeek! I am pumped for this week’s blog topic (the start of a new series). Because it’s something that I am passionate about. And something that MOST people on a healthier path don’t consider.

Once you learn about it, it’s completely obvious and will change the way you think about self care.

Most of us can agree that what you put in your body (food/drink) has a major impact on your wellness. To put it bluntly: you are what you eat.

What may surprise you is what you put ON your body also has a great impact on your health.

I 100% promise this is evidence-based and not some hippie mumbo jumbo. This is real.

Other Health Experts Agree

A few months back, I attended a seminar on nutrition for elite athletes from a well respected source. The seminar (obviously) focused primarily on food and drink. Then the conversation shifted to the non-food. And I got excited.

I got excited because the experts were FINALLY talking about something I’ve been obsessed with for years. They were talking about what you PUT on your body. Experts now agree that what you put on your body can impact the way the insides of your body functions.

How it Works

You may be wondering how what you put on your body impacts your health (and performance if you are an elite athlete).

NEWSFLASH: It has TONS to do with your health.

The reason? What you put on your body is often ABSORBED into your body.

You may be thinking this sounds like voodoo. Or wondering how what you put on your body can get into your body.

But this is NOT voodoo. Your body really does absorb many things you use on it. Think about it: your skin is a semi-permeable membrane. It’s not a solid steel shield that provides an intense barrier between the inside of your body.

In fact, we actually use the skin to deliver medicines to the entire body. Think about nicotine or birth control patches — these small patches can actually deliver enough medication for the entire body for multiple days. Trust me — I spent a semester in pharmacy school learning about all the ways our body absorbs things.

Why This Matters to You

How does all this matter to YOU?

For one, it matters because of the personal care products you use. Men, on average, use 6 personal care products a day (think antiperspirant, shave gel, tooth paste, lotion, body wash, and sunscreen). These six products contain approximately 85 unique chemical ingredients. Women, on the other hand, use about 12 products a day with roughly 168 unique ingredients.

This means that you are exposing yourself to 85 to 168 extra chemical ingredients each day. Not all of these ingredients are harmful — in fact many may be safe or are minimally absorbed. Others, however, can pose a threat.

How Chemical Exposure Impacts Your Health

How does chemical exposure impact your health? I’ll share the highlights.

1.) Some chemical ingredients are known carcinogens.

This takes little explanation. Carcinogen = cancer causing = bad. Bottom line: you may be (accidentally) exposing yourself to known carcinogens on a daily basis. Yikes!

2.) Other chemical ingredients are endocrine disruptor chemicals (or EDCs).

This one is more complicated.

EDCs are substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body’s endocrine system. Your endocrine system controls the way your body develops and functions — it produces hormones that travel through your body that maintain your organs, tissues, and participate in your overall health and wellness. EDCs can be found in the environment (water supply, soil), food and beverages, and manufactured products (like personal care items).

This isn’t some hippie, pachouli-wearing mumbo jumbo.

EDCs are well known and described in scientific literature. In fact, an article published in The Lancet (a well respected and traditional medical journal) estimated the financial burden of EDCs in the US is 340 billion dollars. The image below shows how the $340 billion is split between various health problems.

How to Protect Yourself

The bad news is what you put on/expose your body to can impact your health. The good news is you CAN protect yourself from carcinogens and EDCs.  

First of all, you need to know which ingredients are carcinogens and EDCs. Then you need to avoid them.

Sounds easy, right? It can actually be trickier because many carcinogens and EDCs are legally used in the US. Flame retardants, cosmetics, fragrance/perfume/cologne, soaps can contain these dangerous chemicals.

Crazy, right? Well it is.

That’s where I come in. Over the next few weeks, I will teach you about the worst chemical offenders and easy ways to avoid them. Plus I’ll share some homemade personal care substitutes that will save your health and your wallet.

It’s going to be great.

So check back next week where we’ll tackle Part II of this important (and often overlooked) series.

See you soon,