Everyone knows that good hygiene is an important aspect of good health. However, in today’s modern world with access to so many chemically based cleaning agents, soaps, toothpastes, etc., it’s fair to say that hygiene can also be taken too far to the point where it becomes counterproductive to staying healthy. Both the “hygiene theory” and studies have shown that children who are exposed to viruses, bacteria and fungi early in life will develop a strong immune system and the ability to resist allergic diseases throughout their lives. For this reason, it’s important to have some basic hygiene guidelines that will help you avoid disease that also don’t introduce toxic chemicals or over-sterilize to the point that your body is unable to fend off germs effectively.
1. Wash your hands, including your fingernails, many times a day
As most of us learned as children, we accumulate the most germs throughout the day via our hands. Everything we touch, whether it be contaminated surfaces, people, food, animals, etc. has the potential to spread germs to our eyes, nose and mouth where many infections and allergies originate. For this reason, it’s important that we wash our hands at least 5x throughout the day, try to avoid touching our face, and make sure to always give special care to the fingernails. Fingernails are a breeding ground for germs and one of the easiest ways to transmit germs to the nose and mouth.
2. Stay away from antiseptics, disinfectants and antibacterial soaps
Although its important to wash the hands regularly, make sure you stay away from soaps containing unnatural, toxic chemicals that can do more harm than good. Researchers claim that over 80% of liquid hand soaps contain triclosan, which kills both bacteria and human cells.These toxins, which contain dioxins, can cause stress to the immune system, hormonal problems and even cancer. They are also said to contribute to bacteria resistance to antibiotics. There are plenty of natural soaps you can use to clean your hands and body that don’t contain dangerous chemicals.
3. Don’t overuse skin cleansing and moisturizing products
As I’ve covered on in previous posts, everything you apply to your skin gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream. This means that you need to be particularly careful about the types of products you use on a regular basis. Like soap, they should not contain any chemicals or alcohol, which can strip the skin of its natural oils. In fact, you can make your own facial cleansing formula with all-natural ingredients such as honey, milk and essential oils. Oils, such as olive, coconut, emu, palm and jojoba are all great moisturizing options. Although it’s important to remove dirt from the face at the end of each day, over-cleansing of both the face and body will dry out the skin and make it more difficult for the skin to produce or absorb oil naturally.
4. Avoid toxic laundry detergents
Every time you put on clean clothes, you are exposing your body and skin to the toxic chemicals and fragrances contained in conventional laundry detergents and fabric softeners. The health risks can be anything fro skin irritation and allergens to neurological problems and cancer. Some of the toxic ingredients for our body include APEs, phenols, optical brighteners, artificial fragrances, ammonia and sodium sulfate. Look for both chemical free laundry products and dry cleaning agents to protect yourself.
5. Eliminate antiperspirants and conventional toothpastes
If you haven’t heard it already, antiperspirant use has been linked to both an increased risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease due to its aluminum content. While there is some debate amongst researchers as to whether this can be substantiated or not, it's better to choose deodorants without this toxic ingredient. It’s good to make sure it’s free of propylene glycol as well, which can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage with extended use (propylene glycol is in most personal care products, so check the labels). It’s also important to look for all-natural toothpastes with ingredients you know and can pronounce. Fluoride is not necessary and is also considered a toxin, so despite its conventional use in dentistry (a controversy in itself), it’s better to avoid it.
These are just a few guidelines for personal hygiene. Many of the recommendations can be applied to other areas of personal and home care from a broader perspective. By utilizing good, natural hygiene practices, you can avoid conditions such as acne, allergies/asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, athlete’s foot, arthritis, candida, colds/flues, and other more serious diseases and health risks.
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 Baker, S.L. (2010, June 16). Chemical in antibacterial soaps produces toxic dioxins. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/029006_antibacterial_soap_dioxins.html
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 Adams, M. (2009, December 1). Beware of aluminum deodorant products. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/027624_deodorant_aluminum.html
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Published On: April 27, 2013