It’s not a pretty statistic: the average woman in America applies 168 synthetic chemicals to her face and body every day. Talk about biting off your nose to spite your face. Or is it like putting lipstick on a pig? I’m not sure those analogies are perfect. But anyway, you get the point. The lengths to which women beautify themselves while unknowingly harming their health are staggering, and we’re paying the ultimate cost.
Chemicals in personal care products are causing endocrine disruption, developmental abnormalities, and reproductive impairment in young women. Obviously, the more often women are exposed to synthetic chemicals, the higher the risk of developing diseases such as cancer, and neurological and autoimmune conditions.
But it’s not just skincare and haircare products that are cause for concern. It’s everyday household products, especially cleaners and anything with the highly unregulated ingredient, “fragrance.” So avoid perfumes, plug-in air fresheners, conventional laundry detergents, aerosol sprays, and scented candles.
Start buying organic products or alternatives free of the harmful chemicals I’ll highlight below. (For example: buy beeswax or soy candles instead of one you’d find at a Hallmark store.)
Detoxing From Harmful Chemicals: How Do You Know It’s Necessary?
The word “detox” is mostly a marketing gimmick. If you accidentally swallow conventional laundry detergent, you need to detox your body immediately. But when it comes to overeating junk food, your body, especially your liver, should naturally detox for you.
However, after years of eating the wrong foods and not exercising enough, your liver might be sluggish. It can no longer keep up with the demands of helping to purge toxins from your body. So how do you know if you have an overburdened liver? Here are some ways to tell:
- Poor memory, brain fog
- Skin problems
- Breathing problems
- Unexplained symptoms
Before I tell you about some of the worst chemical pollutants that can become trapped in your body, I have a simple way for you to improve your health.
Just make some simple dietary changes. I realize that for some people, that’s not so easy. But that’s what I’m here for. As a certified health coach, functional medicine practitioner, and Nurse Practitioner, I’ll make it easy for you. I’ll tell you exactly what to eat and what to avoid. Contacting me is the first step to reclaiming your health!
5 Types Of Chemicals To Avoid
I don’t expect you to memorize this list of environmental pollutants. But I do want you to get familiar with a few of them. And when you go shopping, hopefully, you’ll recognize these harmful chemicals and avoid buying anything with them. So, let’s get to it. Just say no to these:
- Phthalates – This class of chemicals is hard to avoid. That’s why they are called everywhere chemicals. Phthalates are in so many products, such as toys and anything with plastic. The problem with them is that these chemicals are endocrine disruptors that have been linked to breast cancer.
- Styrene – Found in food containers like styrofoam as well as packing material, it’s associated with leukemia and other cancers.
- Parabens – These are the synthetic chemicals lurking in ladies’ cosmetics and personal care products. Linked to thyroid disorders and breast cancer.
- Benzene – Cleaning products and vehicle exhaust contain this compound linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Don’t start your car engine before closing all doors and windows.
- MTBE – An additive in gasoline. I’m not in favor of mandating electric vehicles, but if it ever came to that, at least MTBE wouldn’t be as big of an issue. While your gas tank is filling up at the pump, wait in the car with the windows closed.
These are by no means the only types of volatile organic compounds or VOCs you should reduce your exposure to. (The ‘organic’ in VOC has nothing to do with organic food; it has to do with organic chemistry.)
Women need to be extra careful about the products they use. This is because synthetic chemicals can disrupt hormonal balance and cause a condition known as estrogen dominance. When you have too much estrogen in your body and not enough other hormones like progesterone for balance, your gut microbiome becomes dysfunctional. This negatively affects your immune system, mood, and everything else.
How To Detox From Harmful Chemicals Using The Functional Medicine Approach: 4 Steps
Functional medicine differs from conventional medicine by focusing on the root causes of health issues rather than merely treating symptoms. When it comes to detoxifying the body from chemical pollutants, I will use a personalized approach to help you live your best life. And here’s how we’ll do it together.
1. Comprehensive Environmental Pollutants Profile Test
Before we test for toxins in your body, the first step is an initial consultation. Later on, if you want to get tested for chemicals in your body, I do offer a comprehensive Environmental Pollutants Profile Test. However, you may not need it, and it’s not something my clients usually test for right away. Again, simple dietary and lifestyle changes are usually enough to experience significant improvements. But if you suspect you have heavy metal toxicity or other environmental toxins, we can test for it.
2. Nutrient Support for Detoxification Pathways
The body has natural detoxification pathways, primarily in the liver, that work to eliminate harmful substances. Functional medicine employs a holistic approach by providing nutrient support for these pathways. Incorporating more bile-producing foods, supplements, and specific vitamins, minerals and nutrients can help your liver’s detoxification potential.
3. Lifestyle Modifications
Reducing exposure to harmful chemicals is a critical aspect of detoxification. I work closely with my clients to identify and eliminate potential sources of exposure in their daily lives. This may include transitioning to natural and organic personal care products, choosing non-toxic household cleaners, and adopting a clean, whole-food-based diet.
4. Hormone Balancing for Estrogen-Dominant Chemicals
For female adults dealing with estrogen-dominant chemicals, hormone balancing becomes a priority. Functional medicine optimizes hormonal health through dietary adjustments, stress management, and the use of bioidentical hormones. I’ll help you determine the root cause of your hormonal imbalances and lessen the impact of estrogen-dominant chemicals on your health.
We can’t be perfect and live in a bubble. That wouldn’t be healthy for our immune system either. But there needs to be a Goldilocks zone for exposure to harmful chemicals. Let’s stop using perfumes, cleaners and other products with artificial fragrance. Let’s stop using petroleum-based haircare and skincare products that harm our health. Instead, use natural products like essential oils or simple lemon juice.
Let’s take our health back.
Ready to get started? Reach out and get in touch!
Until next time,
Jenna Witt, NP