To Dye For

To Dye For:  How Are Your Beauty Products Affecting Your Health?


“From the time you wake up through the rest of your day, you should be examining what you’re putting on and in your body,” Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy, contributing writer Salon Today, author of The Cancer Revolution, and one of the country’s leading integrative physicians says.

Headshot of Leigh Erin Connealy M.D.Is your shower water filtered? What kind of lotions are you putting on your body? Could you be using harmful shampoos? What are you eating for breakfast? In a world filled with toxins, preservatives and chemicals, cleaning up your routine, including the products you use on your skin and hair, is essential.

Detoxing 101

To combat the toxic environment, Dr. Connealy says to start with purified water.   “You should be drinking 20 ounces of purified water when you wake up, preferably with lemon,” she says. “Water is detoxing because the solution to pollution is dilution. Drinking water forces the movement of chemicals out of the body.”
And since water is contaminated with chlorine and other chemicals, Connealy recommends investing in a water purifier not just for your drinking water, but also for your shower.
Next, take a look at your beauty products. The simpler the ingredient list, the better. Organic ingredients are best, and with countless options online, Connealy says organic make-up, lotions and hair products don’t have to cost and arm and a leg.
She also tells patients to visit Aveda salons to ensure they are getting hair color with natural ingredients and the safest possible hair products.
When it comes to nutrition, Dr. Connealy says buying organic foods from the farmer’s market is ideal, but not always possible.

“A simple thing to do to detox is drink green juices or green powder if you’re having a hard time getting all your servings of fruit and veggies in,” she says.

But the single greatest thing to do to detox is sweat. Exercise or use an infrared sauna to sweat out the toxins every day. “If you want to detox, a sauna is the best, but an easier way to do it is an Epsom salt bath with baking soda and clay in it,” Connealy says. “Clay has been used forever to cleanse and detox the body. It’s phenomenal for cleaning skin, which is the largest detox organ in the body.”

Patients of Dr. Connealy go on a 21-day purification program and do liver cleansing as well, regardless of whether they come in with nothing wrong or a big problem.

“They all detox,” she says. “Because we’re living in a different world where we’re inundated with chemicals.”

Cancer and Beauty Product Ingredients

The purpose of detoxing regularly, eating clean and using beauty products with natural ingredients circles back to our overall health.  Cancer and other diseases have been linked to toxic ingredients in foods and products we use on our skin and hair, including hair dyes. “But breast cancer is on the rise no matter what,” Connealy says. “Plenty of chemicals are the culprits for cancer—hair dyes are just one of them.”
“But breast cancer is on the rise no matter what,” Connealy says. “Plenty of chemicals are the culprits for cancer—hair dyes are just one of them.”   The plastic containers everything is stored in are also problematic, as well as the preservatives used to keep food and beauty products fresh.
“The phthalates in plastics and preservatives are both endocrine disrupters,” she says. “They interfere with normal hormone functions.”
Beauty products with diethanolamine (DEA), which is used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy, are also to be avoided. “It’s dyes, plastics, preservatives—all cause cancer, heart disease and diabetes,” Connealy says. “So I tell patients to look for natural alternatives, and advise them to find an Aveda salon—especially for anyone who uses hair color.”


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