The skin is indeed an organ, though we don’t always think of it as such. Actually, it is the largest, chief organ we have that helps to detoxify our cells so that we can stay healthy, full of energy, and disease-free. Our skin can even ‘taste’ what we put into it, very literally. If you rub a garlic clove on the bottom of the foot, for instance, you may just be able to soon taste garlic as if you had eaten it. Our skin absorbs everything we expose it to. This includes the lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics we put on it, as well as the water we bathe in. Due to the sheer surface area that the skin takes up, it is key in helping us to stay healthy.
Here are a few important ways to support the detoxifying organ, the skin:
1. Eliminate Chemical-Laden Products
Start by eliminating lotions, soaps, and cosmetics that contain toxic chemicals known as parabens. Parabens cause estrogenic activity in the body, which can lead to breast cancer and birth defects if used for multiple generations. They can also lower sperm count in men, and cause reproductive issues in women. There are actually thousands of chemicals you’d rather not put into your body in shampoos, conditioners, soaps and other personal care items, so start with paraben elimination and then think of choosing cosmetics and cleansers that use only (or many) organic ingredients. Here you can find a PDF file that contains the formidable 15 cosmetic toxins to avoid at all costs.
2. Dry Skin Brushing
Dry Skin Brushing is imperative for supporting your other organs of detoxification, like the liver, kidneys and the digestive organs. Dead skin cells and excreted waste from our pores can build up and clog the skin so that it cannot continue to detox from the inside out. We sweat when we participate in sports or other activities, but our skin is ‘clogged’ so that we cannot expel toxins, and so they get trapped in the dermis. This can cause acne, hives, skin rashes and other unsavory effects. Dry skin brushing helps. Always use a natural brush and make sure your skin is dry when you begin, leading in toward the lymph glands and heart. This will also increase lymphatic flow, which helps to detox the body and boost immunity.
Another way for detoxing the body, sweating is a great way to reduce toxic burdens. Physical activity that makes you sweat is one great way to eek out the toxins, but so is a dry sauna. If you have access to one, make sure you hydrate well, with water or coconut water since it is full of potassium, and then sit in a sauna to undergo thermal depuration, a fancy term that means – sweat plenty. Sweat can contain all kinds of toxins, from heavy metals to pesticides, and as an added benefit, dry saunas can help to break up fat deposits faster where many toxins are stored so that they can be excreted from the body.
4. Stop Bathing in Toxins
Put water purification devices on your shower head or install a water filter in your home that takes the chlorine, aluminum, pesticides, fluoride, and even arsenic out of your municipal water supply. Activated charcoal can take some toxins out, but not all of them because it is only ‘attracted’ to certain things. Try looking into a full house filter if you can afford it, or purchase a smaller unit that really works. Oh, and if you don’t think you’re tap water is riddled with gunk, just take a look at this eye-opening video from Anthony Gucciardi.
Implementing these tips is a great start to detoxing and allowing your skin to do it’s job. In addition to these tips, slow down the mind with deep breathing, spending time in nature, and taking a few extra minutes in silent contemplation or meditation so that you don’t create so many stress hormones that need to be detoxed as well. Stress is an overlooked toxin.
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.