Skin - Our Largest Organ

Skin - Our Largest Organ

By Oriana Galardi-Este

Years ago, when I decided to take my health into my own hands by cleaning up my diet, I removed all processed foods from my life.  It didn’t take long before I noticed a change in my energy levels, my moods, and my skin.

One day while I was brushing my teeth, another realization hit me. What was the point of eliminating all the toxins from my diet, but continuing to use the millions of toxins found in my personal care products? It was quite an overwhelming discovery, as my mind started to make a list of all the products I used daily. Toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, deodorant, soap were at the top of my list. I immediately turned my tube of toothpaste around to look at the list of ingredients and was left absolutely speechless. This was supposed to be an all-natural toothpaste from a wellness company.

The ingredients are as follows: Water (aqua), Glycerine (vegetable-derived), Dicalcium Phosphate (natural mineral), Hydrated Silica (natural mineral), Sorbitol (vegetable-derived), Xanthan Gum (vegetable-derived), Melaleuca alternifolia Oil (T40-C3 TM brand), Polaxamer 407, Xylitol (vegetable-derived), Propolis Tincture (bee-derived), Commisphora myrrha (Myrrh) Oil, Potassium Acesulfame, Cinnamon Oil (Cinnamomum cassia Oil), Sodium Alkyl Sulfate (coconut-derived), Sodium Benzoate (food grade).

Absolutely no one could take this ingredient list to court and come back having convinced the jury that this product is made of all-natural ingredients. Absolutely no one. After this discovery, I became very suspicious. What about my other “all-natural” skin care products? How many more toxic lotions and potions were masquerading as harmless cleansers, and skin softeners?

My detective work ended up being incredibly fruitful, if not terrifying and a little depressing. It turns out that I had unknowingly been poisoning myself with the very products I had bought to ‘clean’ myself. Oh the irony.

Here is a list of the most common toxins found in personal care products:

1.) PARABENS commonly used preservatives in cosmetics such as moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners, and many types of makeup. Parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive fertility. parabens are linked to is early puberty in children and early menopause in women. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.

2.) PHTHALATES work as softeners in personal care products such as cosmetics and shampoo, as well as flexible plastics like children’s toys. Phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage. Phthalates are also in products with “Fragrance” as one of the ingredients.

3.) DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) is used in personal care, laundry detergent and cleaning products to give that foam lather. DEA by itself is not harmful, however DEA reacts in the cosmetic formula to form an extremely potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.

4.) PETROLATUM (Mineral Oils & Paraffin) used as the base for creams, baby rash ointment and many other personal care products “Petrolatum coast the skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They’re implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity.”

5.) SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLS) When it’s combined with other chemicals it forms nitrosamines. SLS is found in foaming products (toothpaste, shampoo, laundry, household cleaning, etc.) originally made as a pesticide and a heavy duty chemical cleaner for garage oil stains and in car washes! The biggest problem with SLS, is how is made. The manufacturing of SLS creates ethoxylation which is contaminated with dioxane, a carcinogen.

6.) PROPLENE GLYCOL IS ANTIFREEZE. It’s linked to kidney and liver disease. Enough said. Watch out, you’ll find this in cosmetics, shampoo & conditioners, deodorant, and of all places… ice cream! What?! Yeah I know.

7.) ACRYLAMIDE found in many face creams. You’ll find this in mammary tumors. “Acrylamide is an industrial chemical known to increase infertility and neurological problems”.

8.) PHENOL (CARBOLIC ACID) found in skin lotion. “Phenol was first extracted from coal tar, but today is produced from petroleum. It is corrosive to the eyes, the skin, and the respiratory tract causing lung edema. It’s harmful to the central nervous systems and heart and cause dysrhythmia, seizures, and coma. The kidneys may be affected as well.”

9.) DIOXANE is a petrochemical solvent found in cosmetics and products that foam, such as bubble bath, baby shampoo, laundry detergent. Dioxane is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require 1,4-dioxane to be listed as an ingredient on product labels. However, if you look closely you’ll see ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols which are all dioxanes. Dioxane is linked to cancer.

10.) FRAGRANCE Watch out this is one of the biggest offenders. It’s what makes your lotion, perfume, deodorant and shampoo “smell good”. You’ll see it at the bottom of the ingredients list as “fragrance” or “parfum”. Fragrances can contain neurotoxins and are among the top five allergens in the world. Toluene which is in fragrances is known neurotoxin that causes loss of muscle control, brain damage, headaches, memory loss, and problems with speech, hearing, and vision. Better options would be to use “un-scented” or scented with essential oils.

11.) FORMALDEHYDE Is found in nail polish, body lotion, cleansers, shampoo & conditioners, body wash, styling gel, sunscreen and makeup! Formaldehyde a known human carcinogen, it’s toxic to the immune system and respiratory track.

12.) HEAVY METALS (lead, aluminum, arsenic, nickel, beryllium, mercury, cadmium & nickel) the number one ingredient in most conventional deodorants is aluminum. One or more of these metals is probably in your makeup! Lead is an ingredient so toxic it isn’t allowed in paint or gasoline, but it’s in most lipstick! Check out this FDA list here to see if your lipstick on the lead list. Watch out for arsenic in eyeliner and cadmium and mercury in mascara!

*credit for this list goes to Rashel at*

At this point you are probably feeling like I was when I first made these discoveries: shocked, angry, speechless, confused, and hopeless.

Let me reassure you that there is so much hope!

Not only that, the healthy alternatives to all these products are incredibly cheap, effective, AND accessible! So now turn that frown into a smile and keep reading. I will share with you all the products that I now use, that are not only free of all toxins, but also filled with a myriad of healing properties.

Lotion/moisturizer: Unrefined extra-virgin coconut oil during the warmer months, sesame oil during the colder months

Shampoo: Dr. Bronner’s magic soap, and/or baking soda. I personally prefer baking soda.

Conditioner: Citric acid, apple cider vinegar, Dr. Bronner’s conditioner

Toothpaste: Baking soda and sea salt and/or baking soda and olive oil or 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (food-grade). Just dip your toothbrush into the bottle and brush away.

Mouthwash: 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Food Grade

Body soap: Dr. Bronner’s or any variety of handmade homemade soaps made with good ingredients.

Sunscreen: Coconut oil

Perfume: Essential oils

Deodorant: Homemade mixture of coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda and a few drops of lavender essential oil (you can use whatever essential oil strikes your fancy, I like lavender). Works for over 24 hours, is not messy, does not stain my clothes, and smells divine.

There are so many benefits to using the above homemade mixtures:

1) They are so cheap.

2) All the ingredients are easy to find.

3) They contain absolutely ZERO toxins.

4) Most of these ingredients have healing properties.

5) They work

6) They don’t pollute the earth when they enter the sewage system

7) They are so safe they do not need to be hidden from infants and babies.


NOTE: Reflexology does not diagnose, treat or cure any diseases, and is not a substitute for standard medical care. Oriana Galardi-Este is not a medical doctor. She operates as a certified reflexologist only. None of the statements on this site have been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing on this site is intended to discourage anyone from seeking or following the advice of a medical doctor.