By Louise Belle – Nutritionist for Cabot Health
As the saying goes “beauty is pain”. Picture this morning routine- get in the shower and lather your body with soap and wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Put on deodorant, moisturise your body and brush your teeth. Put on primer, foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Spray yourself with perfume. Perhaps you paint your nails, or apply hairspray. This routine is performed on a regular basis by many women (and men), without a second thought. Throw a hair dye, spray tan and teeth whitening into the mix and you have yourself a full body chemical warzone, attacking your liver from all angles. Have you ever stopped to think about the thousands of chemicals in these products? Have you ever wondered how each of these chemicals could be negatively affecting your health?
Your skin as actually an organ, and is the largest organ of your body. Every single product applied to the skin is absorbed into your blood stream and sent to the liver for processing. Products that are scented or sprayed such as shower gel, perfume and hairspray are not only absorbed through the skin, but are inhaled and enter your blood stream via the lungs also. Products used in the mouth or on the lips such as mouthwash and lipstick, enter the body via ingestion also. A single beauty product could contain a hundred chemicals- or more! If you are using multiple personal care products on a daily basis, imagine the amount of processing your liver has to do!
Your liver is already under immense pressure, having to process hormones, nutrients, fat, medication, filtering out toxins from the environment, processing alcohol, modulating the immune system and supporting digestion. If all of this seems like a lot for one organ, throw in the parabens, diethanolamine (DEA), talc, polyethylene glycols (PEGs), petroleum, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), aluminium, phthalates and all the other commonly used beauty chemicals, and your liver has its work cut out for it! The liver has to process each and every chemical, break them down and send them for excretion via the kidneys, bowel or skin. The liver can become stressed and overloaded, causing it to become sluggish, leading to inflammation and damage in the liver (and the rest of the body).
The chemicals used in these products may cause endocrine disruption by mimicking hormones and causing hormonal imbalance. Some of the chemicals are carcinogenic, have been linked to infertility, associated with liver and kidney failure, migraines, respiratory issues, dermatitis and mood disorders. It is time for you to assess your daily beauty regime and think about the consequences to your health. Beauty is pain, but is it worth all of this?! Here’s what you need to do:
- Ditch the chemicals: Firstly, try to lessen the total amount of products that you use on your skin. Secondly, start to swap all of your conventional chemical-filled products for natural, chemical-free versions. This can be costly to begin with, but it is worth it for your health. There are some cheap and easy swaps that you can make immediately, such as swapping moisturiser for coconut oil, or face scrub for sugar mixed with oil.
- Eat a liver friendly diet: Eat an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit. Cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, avocado, olives, citrus fruits, berries, garlic and ginger are fantastic for your liver! Fish, eggs, chicken, lean red meat, legumes, nuts and seeds can all be included as part of a healthy liver diet. Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and high sugar foods, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and deep-fried foods as these place strain on the liver.
- Get moving: Exercise supports your detoxification pathways by assisting in the movement of the lymph and removal of toxins through sweat. Try to do some form of exercise every day! This can include walking, jogging, swimming, Pilates, yoga, cycling, weights, sporting activities, stair climbing, skipping and dancing.
- Load up on liver nutrients: The liver needs specific nutrients in order to function optimally. Some nutrients assist with breaking down the toxins whilst others aid in the removal of the toxins. The liver requires vitamin C, selenium, B vitamins, taurine, folinic acid and antioxidants, such as St Mary’s Thistle. These nutrients will help your liver to work efficiently, and protect it from damage.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water will not only help to keep you hydrated, but will support your liver and kidneys in flushing out all those toxins. Aim for at least 2 litres of filtered water per day. Try drinking herbal tea or adding fruit to your water to make it more interesting.
- Cleanse yourself: After years of using these products on your skin, it is likely that your body has stored toxins and heavy metals deep down in your fat and muscle tissue. These linger and can cause continuous damage to the cells of your body. The Dr Cabot 15 Day Cleanse will support your liver and gut to function more efficiently, to remove the stored toxins and to reduce inflammation and acidity in the body.