Your Skin: A Haven for Topical Toxins or a Plant’s Paradise?


by Linda Penkala, LMT | Contributing Writer

The greatest defender, shield, armor and champion for your health is the skin, our largest organ. The National Institutes for Health states that the skin is part of the integumentary system, including the hair, nails and nerves that help waterproof and protect the body from infection.

Measuring 20 square feet and weighing between 8 to 10 pounds, the skin is miraculously renewed every 28 days as we skin shed more than 30,000 dead cells each minute. The barrier of skin helps secure in bodily fluids and prevents dehydration, while allowing us to feel hot, cold and pain sensations. Courtesy of the sun, vitamin D is made through the skin. Our thinnest area of skin on the body is the eyelids, while the thickest is the bottom of the feet.

The price of healthy skin comes with much proactive searching for the safest products sans harmful toxins. Taking these extra measures is important because many over-the-counter and high-end skin care lines are loaded with synthetic and artificial toxins.

The biggest offender is mineral oil. This oil is not made naturally from plants; rather, it is an inorganic compound made from petroleum. Like a plastic bag over skin, this chemical can clog pores and hamper the skin’s ability to naturally rid itself of toxins.

Here are a few other detractors:

  • Phthalates:  plastic industrial compound in perfumes and hairsprays; linked to possible birth defects and lower sperm counts.
  • Parabens: estrogen-mimicking substance in soaps, deodorants and shampoos used as a preservative and banned in Denmark for children younger than 3 years of age, according to a Time report published in December 2010.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: cheap and harsh detergent that is very alkaline, drying to the skin and linked to respiratory symptoms and allergies.

Moving closer to nature, here are some skin protective choices to offer supple, soft, hydrated skin for life:

  • Coconut oil or shea butter.
  • Avocado oil with vitamins A, D and E.
  • Lemon essential oil for lightening sunspots.
  • Aloe vera for cooling sunburned skin.
  • Honey with its natural antibacterial qualities.
  • Lavender, tea tree, frankincense and sandalwood essential oils.

Choosing safe products can help promote the health of your skin.