What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. All of your 11 systems, including your immune system, is impacted by your internal and external environment. It is vital to make sure you’re not increasing your toxic load with chemical skincare products, for a healthy immune system in the long-term.
We are all bombarded with toxins each day, either from our own poor lifestyle choices or from our environment. Everything that comes in contact with our skin will directly affect our immune system and overall health from the air quality, clothes detergents, skincare and hygiene products. Now more than ever, we all need to be vigilant to support our immune system both inside and out.
Did you know that your skin has its unique microbiome, just like your gut? Your skin, your body’s largest organ, is home to millions of fungi, bacteria and viruses that make up this unique microbiota. I often explain to my clients that your skin is like your third kidney. Whatever you overload it with, both internally and externally, will eventually filter through and show in your skin. Getting this balance right is key to having hydrated, glowing and youthful skin. Your skin should always run slightly acidic with a lower pH where it is best to have a higher internal pH to keep inflammation at bay. Over the past 23 years of treating clients as a naturopath, I’ve often seen cases where they are ‘inside out’. Their internal pH is too acidic, and their skin is too alkaline, allowing fungus and bacteria to thrive, leaving dry, sore and angry skin.
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals. It revealed that the skin absorbed 64% of total contaminants on average*.
Other related studies found the face to be several times more porous than other larger body surfaces. They had an absorption rate of 100% for soft areas with less exposure to sunlight, such as underarms and your genital area**.
Now you know that your skin will absorb toxins between 64-100%, depending on the area, what ingredients are the top nasties to avoid? Preservatives and chemical fragrances are the most significant hazards, such as sulphates, paragons, phthalates.
A few examples of common ingredient names to steer clear of are Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Potassium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sulfates, Parabens, and Phenoxyethanol.
I love KORA Organics for my skin as each ingredient is handpicked for its wholesome non-toxic effect. The potent synergistic plant-based botanicals nourish, hydrate and invigorate my skin. KORA Organics don’t just feel good, they make my skin look amazing too.
Let’s face it. We are all about shifting into optimum wellness and reducing toxins. Still, we all want good anti-ageing benefits as well.
Beyond what you put on your skin, consider the following when it comes to your Immune System and overall health;
- The air you breathe
- The water you drink and wash your food with
- Your hygiene habits
- How much plastic you use
- The water you bathe in and wash with
- The clothes you wear (if they are non-organic ingredients)
- The cleaning products you use in the home
Use this time of social distancing to clear out your cupboards, discarding items past their use-by date and any non-organic hygiene products and toothpaste.
Immune System Environment Internal Toxic Load Culprits
- Coffee/ tea
- Junk / rich/ fatty foods
- GMO foods
- Hormones in our food
- Poor water quality
- Non-organic skincare
- Plastics that put bleach onto our foods
- Mercury amalgams
- Blackened or smoked foods
Solutions To Reduce Your Toxic Load
- Choose organic skincare and hygiene products.
- Opt for organic fruits and vegetables
- Limit red meat to 1-2 a month (all four-legged animals are in the red meat department including pork) and chicken once a week. Always choose organic.
- Get a whole house water filter, so you drink and shower in clean water.
- Drink out of a glass container when possible, avoiding plastics (in particular, don’t eat or drink warm food or drink out of plastics)
- Choose organic and non-GMO foods and hormones free.
- Find an excellent biological dentist to replace your mercury amalgams.
- Choose wild, not farmed, fish and always eat it with green leafy veg to hoover up all heavy metals such as mercury.
- Limit alcohol to four drinks per week & organic red wine is best for your health.
- Limit to tea & coffee to one each per day but avoid cows-milk
- Always drink a minimum of two litres per day, especially to combat the dehydration effects of caffeine and alcohol.
Life is all about balance. It’s not about being fearful but wise when it comes to your toxic exposure. You can nourish your entire body both inside and out for long-lasting results, supporting your shift not the best version of you.
Dr Simoné Laubscher PhD
* Brown et al. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. Am J Public Health. 1984 May; 74(5): 479–484
** Kasting and Kretsos. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2005;18:55-74
Simone Laubscher has a BSc MSc PhD in Science and nutrition and has treated patients for over 20 years.
After struggling with health issues relating to obesity (metabolic, thyroid, adrenal, blood sugar and eating disorders), Simoné treated herself successfully 22 years ago, following her graduation from university with her B.Sc.-Nutrition, from the UNSW, Sydney, Australia.
Simoné then went on to do an M.Sc in Naturopathy and Nutrition and a PhD in human nutrition. She is very passionate about setting both adults and children free of disease and debilitating conditions. Simoné specialises in obesity, long-term weight loss, metabolic reset, eating disorders, diabetes, IBS / gut disorders, depression, stress/adrenal fatigue, hormonal regulation and immune-related illnesses such as cancer.
Always fascinating insights and advice from Simoné – I follow her advice religiously. So real, so relatable. The best.
Such a great article!
I always look at the ingredients in skin and body care as even ‘leading’ companies often use petroleum derivatives! It is so important make positive choices to reduce the toxic load on our skin, as it is our biggest organ. I have seen many instances of terrible effects of irrantants and encourage everyone to educate themselves and buy considering the long term.
I love learning more and mire about how to keep healthy in today’s toxic world. Years ago no one knew how important the products we put on our skin are.
Dr. Simone is so knowledgeable and I love all the information she has shared !
Brilliant article! Clear, informative and gently moving the reader to achievable goals!
Thank-you Simone, this is very informative with a great list of action points to refer to.
Thank-you Simone, this article is very informative and I love how you list some great action points.
Brilliant article from a brilliant doctor. Carefully encouraging us toward attainable and achievable goals. Dr Laubscher approach has changed my life and attitude to my well being over the years. Now defn looking at Kors organic too!
Dr Simone Laubscher,PhD is remarklebly knowledgeable. This article couldn’t be more accurate. People tend to forget that what we put on our body is as important as what we put in our body. All her tips & recommendations are easily achievable. Love her approach & mindset 💚