With each change in the seasons we hear that it is a good time to do a detox. Detoxification is the removal of toxic substances in the body. We all have a Detoxification System in our bodies which is responsible for elimination of environmental and internal toxins. If this system is overloaded and cannot cope, then the toxic substances are stored in various tissues of your body (skin, joint, muscles, etc.) causing symptoms.
In today’s world it is almost impossible to avoid the affects of the chemicals in our environment so one can say that we all need to do some level of detoxification. Does one focus on a specific organ such as the colon or liver? or do a full body cleanse? Does it last for 3 days? 21 days? 30 days?
Truly the best way to remove toxins in your body is through daily detox habits. This can include making choices to eat organic, biodynamic or pasture raised foods, avoiding commercial cleaners, laundry detergents and personal care products.
In this Daily Detox series we will share options available to you to make small changes which can have a big impact over time. First we will look at many personal care options.
In general if you would not put it in your mouth, you shouldn’t put it on your body our use in the air around you.
According to the Environmental Working Group personal care product use survey from 2004 http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/2004/06/15/exposures-add-up-survey-results/
- the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients.
- 1 in 13 women and 1 in 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.
- 1 in 24 women are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins
- 1 in 5 adults are potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients
Many more chemicals have been introduced into products in the past 10 years with the EPA receiving between 500 and 1,000 new chemical notifications each year. Therefore the chemical exposures of the average individual is not moving in a healthy direction. What can you do to change your exposure?
Think about hair care products such as shampoo and conditioner. Many people wash their hair while in the shower. Therefore any products one puts onto their head will get rinsed off touching the entire body. If one has issues with skin such as rashes, eczema, blemishes etc do they ever think that it could be a reaction to shampoo and conditioner? Who knows?
There are many brands of natural products out there – they are all rated by the EWG – Environmental Working Group This is the first direction I took with myself and my family, but in February 2012 I took things a step further in ingredient simplicity and $avings:
Baking soda & Apple Cider Vinegar
Baking soda diluted with water at about a 1 TBSP to every cup is your basic shampoo
Apple Cider Vinegar (you want the live kind with the “mother” © the good creatures) diluted at about 1- 2 TBSP to every cup is your basic conditioner
The ratios are going to vary with your hair type. As I have a bit of wave in my hair I have prescribed to the “No-poo” ideology since the late 1980’s using no shampoo and simply conditioner.
As simple as the ingredients sound, making the change takes time and transitions. Here are a few things to consider.
- If one is used to lather and foam – they are no more, so the tactile experience takes time to adjust
- You will undergo a transition phase for a good 6 – 12 weeks as your body clears out the chemicals and adjusts the natural oils and flora. Know that this time may create dryer or oilier hair and it will be different to manage. Know that “this too shall pass”. I used the baking soda first and became incredibly dry so I did a coconut oil treatment over night and had a great wet look going. Yikes! You will have to experiment to find the ratios and combinations which work best for you.
- if your hair is too oily, use more baking soda. Baking soda can be helpful for swimmers in removing chlorine http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/best-beauty-uses-baking-soda
If your hair is too dry, use more vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar contains natural alpha hydroxy acids, loaded with vitamins and minerals and helps to regulate scalp pH levels. justnaturalskincare.com
My feedback from almost three years of making the shift is that
- my hair is always soft and is thicker
- my natural curl has truly expressed itself – my Irish is now expressed – why did I need to get perms back in High School?
- I have never had issues with odors
- When traveling it is quite simple to pop into a local grocery or pharmacy and purchase forgotten items for minimal cost. Or most people you may stay with will have these items on hand.
There are many small lifestyle changes which can be made to support your healing and overall well-being. Choose one thing to shift and stick with it until it becomes an everyday habit. Then move on to another.