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The GAPS diet is all about what you put in your mouth and healthy eating to heal the gut. But since your largest organ in your body is your skin, it follows that what you put on your skin is very important as well. The skin can absorb up to 60% of what we put on it. If you eat healthy and put toxins on your skin it will derail much of what you are trying to do with the improved diet. On the positive side if we are putting pure and truly natural ingredients on our skin they will absorb and bring good health to our skin and the rest of our body.
Using lotion after a bath or shower is a smart idea to replenish the oils externally. Soap and water will remove the natural oils in your skin. Again paying attention to what is in your lotion is important. Have you ever read the labels as to what is in there? Do you know what the chemicals can do to you? These are questions worth finding out and I guarantee you that the more you know the less you will want to pick up the cheap options. Coconut oil and shea butter are great options for your skin and can take care of most of your skin health needs.
The best principle I have found to decide what to use on my skin is does it have ingredients I could eat? I don’t make a practice of eating shea butter but I could, so if a skin care product has shea butter in it I would use it. And of course the better quality of ingredients the better for my skin and body.
Personal care products are big factors in toxic overload and include cosmetics, shampoos, toothpaste, deodorant, soaps, perfumes, creams, etc. Some important toxins that are in our personal care products that we should avoid are in the following list:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Titanium Dioxide
- Lanolin (because often contaminated with DDT and other pesticides)
- Propylene Glycol
- Hair Dyes
Washing with water and a sponge is really enough for most of us.
As far as shampoo goes there are more and more options out there, folks who have successfully used baking soda, the “no-poo” method, coconut oil, vinegar rinses, or expensive shampoos without the hidden ingredients. I, for one, still like lather in my hair when I wash it (just once/week) so I use a “better” option from Trader Joe’s for shampoo. I have found a lovely conditioner at True Kid and they also carry a shampoo I would like to try.
Another nasty chemical for our skin is chlorine. If you live in an area where you have city/town water system you will have chlorine in your water and your best bet is to install some kind of filter which will remove the chlorine from your water. We have a Berkey filter on one of our showers and I have noticed a difference since using it. My skin is much less dry and I do not need as much lotion. Swimming pools are very toxic places because of the chlorine, which is a poison and absorbs very well through our skin. I know of many situations where GAPS kids cannot swim in chlorinated swimming pool because of the effects it has on them.
Another option to help to detoxify the body through the skin is dry skin brushing. This is a very simple procedure of daily brushing the skin with a brush. I have not tried this yet but I think it is worth investigating. To find out more about this see the links at the bottom of the article
Cleaning products have many chemicals in them as well. Best to avoid them and instead use Vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and olive oil. which can handle most of your cleaning needs.
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