Detoxing Part 2: Toxic Skincare & Processed Food Ingredients To Avoid

If you read part 1 of this detox blog series, (go read it HERE if you haven’t yet), you’ll know that there’s a lot more to ‘detoxing’ than we’re lead to believe. The body is always detoxifying itself, breaking down potentially harmful bacteria and converting ‘toxins’ into non-toxic substances so they can be eliminated from the body through one of the many pathways of detoxification. 

In the last blog, we also covered how you can support your body’s natural ability to detox with simple, effective methods like sweating, ensuring you’re eliminating regularly and many more. As a bonus, you can also use practice dry body brushing with a soft bristle brush, which helps to stimulate the lymphatic system. Many people report feeling more energised, lighter, and that body brushing has aided their detox practices too. Read more on body brushing HERE, and get your body brush from Urban Veda HERE.

In this blog, we’ll look at some of the common yet incredibly unhealthy and toxic ingredients found in many skincare products and processed foods, and why it’s best to avoid them. These ingredients add to the ‘toxic load’ placed upon the body, meaning we have to put a lot more work into detoxing, and that the symptoms that can arise when detoxing can be more severe (nausea, skin breakouts, etc). These chemicals can also prevent the body from ridding itself of toxins naturally on a daily basis as it should do. The more knowledge you have about the ingredients in our food and skincare, the more empowered you are to make positive choices!

Why Do Products Contain Toxins? 

Not all skincare and processed foods contain harmful chemicals, but many of them do. They’re often used to help thicken and preserve things like moisturisers and body butters, as well as foods like ice cream, margarine, salad dressing, condiments, cakes and sweets, jams, powdered hot chocolates, and pretty much 95% of items in the supermarket… Skincare, deodorant, sun cream, eye drops, whitening toothpaste and makeup items can also contain heavy metals like aluminium (classes as a ‘light metal’), lead, arsenic, zinc, chromium, cadmium, mercury and more, used for colouring and other purposes. Whilst it may not seem that a little bit of sun cream or makeup would have much of an impact, it’s really important to remember two things:

  1. What goes on the skin gets absorbed in to the bloodstream
  2. The body accumulates toxins over a long period of time, collecting in the bones, liver, kidneys, brain and heart with potentially damaging effects. So even if something is small but applied every day (like concealer or lipstick) the levels of metals build up over time, and that’s when they can become a problem. Some people know instantly when an ingredient is an issue, as they’ll experience eczema, allergies and rashes, signalling something in their body isn’t happy about the product they’re using.  

Endocrine Disrupting Ingredients

Many skincare ingredients also contain endocrine disruptors, and as the name suggests, these ingredients can be harmful to hormones. These are the ingredients linked to estrogen dominance, which can cause blood sugar issues, poor metabolism, weight gain, anxiety, depression, increased PMS, headaches, irregular periods, and erectile dysfunction in men. Plastics can also disrupt hormones, and since many skincare products come in plastic containers and also contain microplastics, they can make their way into the body too. 

Just A Few Skincare Ingredients To Avoid

  • Phalates
  • Parabens
  • Artifical Fragrance / Parfum
  • Toluene
  • PEG
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Oxybenzone
  • DEA
  • MEA
  • Mineral oil
  • Aluminium
  • Antimony
  • Argon
  • Arsenic
  • Beryllium
  • Bismuth 
  • Boron
  • Bromine

You’ll find more on the skincare ingredients to avoid HERE.

My favourite ‘clean beauty’ brands that don’t contain toxic ingredients include Burts Bees, Sukin, Inika Organic, True Botanicals, Urban Veda,and Anita Grant.  

When it comes to processed foods, it’s unfortunate that even the ‘health’ foods like plant milks, granolas and many vegan alternatives have many harmful ingredients. 

The Food Additives To Avoid:

  • MSG
  • E numbers
  • Artificial colouring
  • Artificial flavouring
  • Guar Gum
  • Emulsifiers
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Carrageenan
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners (these are potential neurotoxins and can damage brain function, as well as impacting mood and anxiety severely). 
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sulphites (many people are sensitive to these – if you feel awful after drinking just a small amount of red wine, it’s likely you’re sensitive to sulphites)
  • Preservatives

You’ll find more on what to avoid in processed foods HERE and HERE.

Now, we live in a modern world where it’s almost inevitable we’re going to consume processed foods some of the time, whether it’s due to choice, limited availability or simply because maintaining rigid and restrictive rules around food can have negative mental health consequences. The answer to avoiding these potentially harmful ingredients then, is not to fear them, but to turn to real, whole, natural foods instead. Swap a processed energy bar for a banana and nut butter or trail mix, or a store-bought salad dressing for balsamic vinegar. Make your own granola, or buy from brands who don’t tend to add nasty additives like Deliciously Ella, Livia’s, and Eat Real. Swap recipes with friends, and learn to cook again so you can nourish yourself well.

For guidance on making your own snacks and healthy meals, or how to start detoxing, book a Whole-Health consultation with me. Get in touch HERE for more info and to book!  

I’d love to know – did you know about the chemicals hiding in food? Or the secret toxins in skincare and makeup? Which makeup brands do you love, and have you found a favourite recipe or brand for healthier snacking?

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