Topical Toxins and Inflammation

Topical ToxinsEnvironmental and Topical Toxins

Environmental toxins as well as the types of foods we eat factor into the escalating epidemic of chronic diseases.

Did you know your skin is your largest organ?  What comes in contact with your skin can make you or break you.  I’m talking about topical toxins found in your creams, soaps, shampoos, nail polish, laundry detergent, cleaning products in your home and so on.

You can begin immediately to change your environment today, and you can do it easily if you know what to look for.

The first thing to do is to check the ingredients labels on the products you are currently using.   But, what do you look for?  I want to start with three ingredients you can target to pinpoint the topical toxins in the products you may currently be using.  Products that might be contributing to chronic inflammation, either existing and thriving or developing.

Check anything that cleans for the ingredient Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS. That is the ingredient that makes your shampoo foam so beautifully.  It’s classified by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database as a “moderate hazard” and has been associated with various ills like cancer, endocrine disruption, organ and neurotoxicity and skin irritation.

Btw, if you’re not familiar with the Environmental Working Group, you can check them out at .  They do great work and have many helpful lists and resources for you on their website.

SLS is used in industrial cleaners and in cosmetic products.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me uncomfortable that something that is used in an industrial cleaner would be in the cosmetics I put on my face!

Sodium Laureth sulfate, also known as SLES, is reported to be slightly less irritating than SLS and has greater foaming action.  There is also ammonium lauryl sulfate, or ALS which is similar to SLS and poses the same risks.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate sounds benign enough as it is derived from coconuts, but unfortunately it is contaminated during the manufacturing process with the toxic byproduct dioxane. Dioxane is suspected of being carcinogenic and may adversely affect the kidneys, liver and central nervous system.  This is according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Remember to read your labels and look for products that say they are SLS free.

Next on our hit parade of nasty ingredients are triclosan and triclocarban..  Although the Food and Drug Administration banned triclosan from hand soaps and body wash in the country back in 2016, it could still be found in some products including toothpaste which, unbelievably, was not included in the ban! That was supposed to have changed in 2018, and you should no longer find triclosan in products. Once lauded for its antibacterial properties back in the day, current wisdom maintains triclosan is no more effective than simple soap and water.

Triclosan weakens the immune system, and exposure of children to antibacterial products at an early age has been linked to an increase in asthma, allergies and eczema.

You may think there is not enough of any of these ingredients to harm you, but consider for a moment the accumulated damage that using them over a period of many years can do.  It’s not the one time usage, but the constant exposure to these ingredients than can cause us great harm.

You may want to read my post on this subject to further understand the health benefits of changing to organic cleaning products. 

Changing to a healthier lifestyle is a process, and I’ve found that when I coach my clients, it’s a more manageable process if they begin with small steps.  I strongly suggest you go through your cleaning products and personal products to check them for these three toxic cleaning ingredients discussed above.  This is a great start to your new goal of a healthier life style!

Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!    

Cheryl A Major

Cheryl A Major

Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog   Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience. 

Her new book, “Eat Your Blues Away” in which she chronicles her recovery from depression is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback!   


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