An Ayurvedic saying is, “If you cannot eat it, you don’t want to put it on your skin.” This old saying rings true when looking at the modern threats the cosmetic industry poses to both men and women’s health.
In Ayurveda food is your medicine! What happens when your medicine has chemicals and poison? Carcinogenic pesticides in non-organic foods are extremely harmful to your body, which is why it is important to eat organic local food from places like your local farmers market. These chemicals can lead to Cancer if one’s immunity is compromised or the gut health is not optimal for a healthy immunity. This information has become more and more popular with people. In Ayurveda your body is like a sponge. What you put in it, it absorbs physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, your body is incredibly smart and your digestion has a filtering system that helps to eliminate toxins.
These are ways to internally nourish your body, but what about externally for your skin? Skin is a barrier to the outside world as the largest organ. Your skin absorbs most of what it comes into contact with. Skin can receive potential toxins in everyday life and during the winter seasons, we experience cold, dry skin and seek out ways to alleviate discomfort.
Why is this important to Ayurveda?
Carcinogens (“a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue”) in cosmetics and personal hygiene products are a greater risk to your health and are more likely to cause cancer than food contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides (non-organic foods or industrial products). When these chemicals are taken orally your intestines absorb them, carry them intravenously to your liver. The liver is an incredible organ that can detoxify most of the carcinogens and other chemicals through enzymes before they can get into the rest of your body. In contrast, when chemicals and carcinogens in makeup or personal care products are absorbed through the skin, they enter your blood and other organs without the detoxifying help of the liver. There is evidence that your skin absorbs these chemicals 100x more than through your intestinal tract.
In Ayurveda undigested food, emotions, and thoughts are stored in our fat cells as a form of “Ama”. When we use these products they are highly toxic, they get stored and circulated in our body. We are already bombarded with toxic chemicals in our environment, why should we get exposed to more by ingesting through the skin? Ayurveda’s goal is to limit the amount of ama in the body and the mind through seasonal detoxification.
To us, here at Santa Cruz Ayurveda, our main goal is to have consumers that are aware, attuned, and listening to their bodies. The cosmetic and personal-care product industry is one of the most unregulated industries for types of avoidable carcinogen exposures. We want people to have a say in their health. A part of listening to your body is becoming aware of the industry and chemicals behind the everyday products.
Lotions, deodorant, perfumes, make up, and our everyday products hold hundreds of chemicals and heavy metals that can be harmful to you. In the marketplace we are constantly being flirted with by so-called look and feel of good products, which are loaded with synthetic chemicals often linked to cancer, infertility, and birth defects.
Common carcinogens that are found in cosmetics that should be avoided are parabens, coal tar, triclosan, formaldehyde, PFAS, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfates, and petrolatum.
Ayurveda proposes that if you wouldn’t ingest it, then don’t put it on your body. The point here is to make consumers aware to optimize their health to the best of their abilities. We try to use products, just like processed foods, with as minimal ingredients as possible.
If you find yourself using more products on your skin to alleviate dryness, make sure to read the ingredients. Here at Santa Cruz Ayurveda, we can provide you with excellent quality body oil for self administered Abhyanga! You can also very easily make your own deodorants, lotions, and oils giving you control about what is going onto your skin. Check out our article “Oils for the Doshas” for more information on which oils would work best for you.
It is very important to educate yourself on what is in your external nourishment as well as your internal nourishment! It is worth taking a minute or two to look into what chemicals may be in your lotion and ask yourself if you really want that in your body.