This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Tax Day! You pay income tax but are you taxing your immune system too?

Today is the perfect day to talk about what "taxes" our immune systems.  I have been talking all week long about using natural products for beauty care because I am really committed to reducing my exposure to toxins.  I am so passionate about this subject because I learned several years ago that a little bit can really add up to big problems.  Here are the personal care products I use or am exposed to every single day : toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash,  detergent, fabric softener, hair spray, gel, foundation, mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, lipstick, deodorant, nail polish, dishwashing liquid, and lotion.

If all of those products contain just one ingredient that is a known skin irritant, say a sulfate, then I would have 18 irritants being applied to my skin every single day.  Every time our skin, which is our largest organ of elimination and protection, is irritated it prompts an immune system response where antibodies are produced to capture and remove the antigen (irritant).  Sometimes we can see our immune system responding because we have a rash, an itching, or a burning sensation on our skin.  Unfortunately a lot of times we don't see that the immune system is being called into action so we assume we are not "sensitive" to the product.  What we don't see can be inflammation, an exhausted white blood cell count, and an overactive immune system which can lead to chronic diseases.  Arthritis, dermatitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma are all diseases of chronic inflammation: in other words those diseases exist because of the body's response to some chronic irritant.

What are the symptoms that your immune system is being "taxed" too much?  If you feel fatigued, if you seem to catch every virus that goes around, if you constantly suffer from hay-fever-like symptoms, or if you have cancer.  Of course there are many things that could be contributing to a weakened immune system and we cannot control them all, but that is why I reduce my exposure to the things I can control.  It's easy for me to use a natural mascara instead of one full of toxins.  I don't even notice that I use a soap free from parabens and sulfates.  It's just as easy to rub a drop of almond oil on my skin after a shower as it is to rub on a dollop of petroleum-based lotion.

I may not notice the difference, but you can be sure that my immune system does and why pay any more taxes than you have to?

1 comment:

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

Thanks for this information. I used to be addicted to Vaseline as a lip balm. I wonder now what I might have been doing to my immune system.