Skin Deep

Ever wonder how toxins enter our bodies? Probably not. Maybe it's just the way my mind works. Well, no because there was a study published a few years ago that tested more than 10,000 Americans. The test was done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an attempt to determine their “chemical body burden.” The results of the CDC study were stunning: even those who lived in remote areas were found to have hundreds of synthetic chemicals in their bloodstream.YIKES! More disturbingly, this chemical exposure begins even before we take our first breath— an astounding 287 chemical toxins have been detected within the umbilical cord blood of newborns.  I don't know about you, but as a Mom, that pisses me off.

So how do these harmful synthetic chemicals get into our (and our children’s) bloodstream, and where do they come from? If this isn't news to you, you might not be surprised to hear that some of the toxic chemicals detected in the bodies of those tested are common ingredients in mainstream personal care products. Harmful chemicals found in skin care and cosmetics can enter our bodies through the skin. Your skin absorbs 60% of what you put on it,” and anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream within 26 seconds. 

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One of the many functions of the skin is, indeed, to be a barrier: it keeps our internal organs and fluids in, and harmful external elements (UV radiation, bacteria) out. The skin can be divided into three distinct parts: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. The epidermis is comprised of five layers of dermal cells, the uppermost layer (the stratum corneum) being our first line of defense against the outside world. The stratum corneum is a sheath of flattened, dead skin cells surrounded by water-repelling lipids— this explains why our bodies don’t swell up like a sponge every time we take a bath. Though these outer layers of skin do a good job at keeping elements like water from seeping in, absorption of certain chemicals through the skin is very real. Many medicines are delivered through the skin, most often in the form of patches or gels. This method is quite potent and effective at delivering chemicals into our body (I.E. fentanyl patch which can kill you)

Still think your skin is a full proof barrier?