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Your skin: the largest organ

One of my friends raved to me about a certain national brand of lotion a couple years ago. “You should try it,” she gushed. When I pointed out to her that it contained a petroleum product and I didn’t use petroleum products on my skin, her response was, “What’s so bad about using petroleum products?”

Well, for starters, our bodies didn’t evolve to handle us slathering on stuff we have to drill hundreds of feet into the earth to get, stuff that didn’t exist as few as 200 years ago. Think about it. Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum are by-products of the modern age: a way for the oil companies to collect money from the waste that results from refining oil by marketing it to the public as skin care ingredients.

Dr. Mercola goes into detail about the dangerous petroleum-based and other synthetic ingredients commonly used in lotions, make-up, fragrances, and other skin-care products. He has his own brand he recommends, but his is not the only natural answer to dry skin. Read the labels on lotions at the health food store and look for those that contain pronounceable, familiar ingredients and no suspicious petroleum derivatives.

I’ve watched in horror as new mothers followed misguided advice and slathered petroleum jelly over their newborns’ bottoms as a way to prevent diaper rash. Did they realize that they were exposing that pure, sensitive skin to a wash of chemicals and toxins that leave residues? Not to mention clogging pores and interfering with cellular respiration?

Over our lifetimes, our bodies become a respository of the collection of chemicals, heavy metals, and toxins we expose them to every day in this world. Even in unindustrialized, remote locations, these poisons are carried in by acid rainfall, contaminated rivers, and polluted fish. The less we conscously add to this toxic load, the better.

“If you can’t put it in you mouth, you shouldn’t put it on your skin,” recommends John Replogle, CEO of Burt’s Bees (said while tasting the company’s Burts Bees Avocado Butter Hair Treatment).

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