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If you wouldn't drink it, would you put it on your skin?

You'll often hear me talk a lot about detox and gut health on my blog and that's because looking after your digestive system is one of if not the most important things you can do to stay healthy and prevent illness and disease. An important part of staying healthy entails minimising your exposure to toxins as much as possible. The problem is many of are oblivious to the amount of toxins we toxins we are unknowingly exposing ourselves to.

Chemical toxins find their way into our body through a variety of means, ranging from the obvious - alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine and pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, as well as through foods such as artificial sweeteners, nitrates used in processed meats such as salami and bacon and ham, processed or trans fats, preservatives, colours, flavours and non-organic foods that have been sprayed with chemicals and or fed antibiotics. But there is another entry point for toxins to penetrate our system and that is through the body’s largest organ– the skin!

As women, maintaining our outward appearance is a natural part of our biology, but often the ways in which we choose to do this, actually contributes to the battle against the ageing process.

Take a moment to think about the sources of toxins you may be lathering on your skin each and every day simply from using basic toiletries and beauty products ……

• Soap • Moisturises • Shampoo and conditioners • Toothpaste • Mouthwash • Deodorant • Shaving cream • Cosmetics – foundation, lipsticks, mascara, eye shadow, blush • Sunscreen • Perfume

There are over 175 potentially harmful ingredients contained in these common bathroom and beauty products alone and over time the chemicals they contain can accumulate within our body. Many of the ingredients used in these products can also irritate our skin, or cause allergy or respiratory sensitivity; and some studies have even revealed they can neurological and developmental challenges in children. Some of the chemicals found in common personal care products have even been touted as carcinogenic and aluminium used in common deodorants has been linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Now I’m not telling you to go out and be a tree hugger and grow yourself some hairy armpits, or never wear French perfume again, but what I am saying is to become more aware of just how many chemical based products you are using on your skin each day and think about which ones you can replace for chemical free brands to minimise your exposure to toxins as much as possible.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, the foaming agent used in commercial brands of shampoo, soaps and body wash, penetrates the skin and accumulates in the brain, eyes, heart and liver and petroleum and mineral oils used in many moisturises and toiletries, leads to premature dryness so the more we use, the more our skin becomes dependant on them to stay moist.

In addition to doing an audit on bathroom cabinet, I recommend you combine this with my tips below to maintain healthy and beautiful skin….

My Top Ten Tips for maintaining a beautiful, glowing complexion:

1. Stay hydrated – consume small frequent sips of purified water every day because 95% of your body is water and most of us don’t drink enough. I recommend 2 – 2.5 litres per day as a good general guide.

2. Eat healthy fats - essential fatty acids like fish, extra virgin coconut oil, chia and flax seed, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, raw organic nuts and seeds.

3. Look after your liver - avoid too much coffee, alcohol and foods with artificial ingredients and sugar. Eat organic food as much as possible and undertake a regular healthy detox program – I cover more on detox in my book Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days.

4. Use 100% natural skincare and toiletry products - read product labels and search for artificial ingredients.

5. Don't wash with commercial soap - its strips the natural oils in your skin which act as a protective barrier.

6. Avoid petro chemical based sunscreens – these block the sun's rays that provide essential levels of vitamin D. Use a sunscreen with natural ingredients and a high zinc oxide content and wear a hat to protect your face in the heat of the day.

7. Get a daily dose of sunshine - under exposing your skin to the sun is just as bad, if not worse than over exposing your skin to the sun and contrary to popular belief, studies show that indoor workers suffer more skin cancers than outdoor workers. I talk more about the risks of a lack of sun exposure in a previous post you can read here. So whilst it’s important to avoid getting sunburnt, you also need to expose your skin to a certain amount of sun each and every day, out of peak heat periods.

8. Take a vitamin D supplement - ideally choose a liquid vitamin D supplement to ensure optimal absorption and utilisation. Vitamin D tablets are a poor form to supplement with. After testing 1000’s of patients throughout my 14 years in clinical practice, the majority of them returned very low vitamin D levels. The effect of vitamin D deficiency impacts on nearly every body system with links to a wide range of illnesses and diseases including cancer, thyroid imbalances, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and many more.

9. Get Plenty of Sleep - There really is truth in the saying ‘be sure to get your beauty sleep’. The body uses the period you are asleep to regenerate and repair, this includes skin cells. Sleep deprivation is accumulative and without sufficient restful sleep each night – ideally 8 hours, our health will suffer and accelerate the ageing process. You can read more about the effects sleep deprivation has on your health here.

10. Stress Less – there is no better way to speed the ageing process than through stress. The reality is stress will always be a part of our lives, so it’s not about expecting to have no stress in your life, but rather CHANGE THE WAY YOU RESPOND to it. You can read more about how stress impacts on your body and ways to combat it in my previous post here and here.

I'd love to hear your natural beauty tips for maintaining healthy, beautiful skin, you can share these in the comments section below.

All Rights Reserved Sally Joseph

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