Toxic Load

I recently went to my hairdresser, who is my favorite hairdresser in the entire world. She is only 23 and already developing rosacea. She started to notice it a few years ago, and now it’s become worse and includes bumps/pustules on her cheeks. Over the years we’ve shared advice about our common skin condition, but when I saw her last month (with my newly clear skin) we had to have a long discussion.

It was partly due to the amount of time I’ve spent in salons talking about rosacea which led me to think back to when my rosacea really started. It was when I was in chiropractic school. I had anatomy lab for a year which was full of formaldehyde. I worked part time at a dry cleaners, and I bartended at night (before smoking was banned in restaurants.) So my chemical exposure was pretty high at that point: formaldehyde, PERC, and tobacco smoke. I was also under a lot of stress and not sleeping a lot, so it’s hard to say the chemical exposure caused my rosacea, but I think it was definitely a contributing factor. This brings me back to my hairdresser. She is very young to have rosacea. She breaths a multitude of chemicals in the salon, from formaldehyde to nitrosamines to toluene. Now there are many people who spend their lives working in salons or dry cleaners who never develop rosacea, but each person’s body handles chemicals differently, and some people are just better equipped to process and release these toxins. I do know that when I did a liver/spleen detox, followed by a heavy metal detox, my skin cleared up significantly. On a side note, I had a very significant Herxheimer reaction three days into the spleen detox, similar to those in treatment for Lyme disease. This only reinforced my belief that my body was suffering from a major chemical overload.

None of my theories can ever be proven; this is simply what I experienced and what I believe contributed to my rosacea. There is a fantastic documentary called TOXIC BEAUTY which discusses in great detail the amount of chemicals we are exposed to in everyday beauty products such as lotions, makeup and shampoo. This is particularly true in America where only 11 chemicals are banned from cosmetic products, compared to the EU where 1300 chemicals are banned. In common American store bought brands you will find mercury in our face cream, lead in our lipstick, and formaldehyde in our shampoo. We use these products every day, year after year. I would be shocked if this exposure didn’t play some part in our very high cancer rates, autoimmune disorders, and of course, rosacea. Thankfully there are companies like Arbonne who make it their mission to provide safe products to their customers. Arbonne actually takes the EU directive a step further and bans over 2000 ingredients from their skin care, hair care and makeup.

Since my rosacea has now pretty much disappeared, (and I am on no medications) my goal is to continue to limit my chemical exposure and live a healthy, clean life. This means examining the cleaning products I use, the foods I ingest, and the products I use on my skin and hair.

I would urge anyone suffering from rosacea to think about when your symptoms first appeared. Had you recently moved/changed your job/started school? Were you living in a home with mold, near a factory, or working in a place where you breathed in a lot of toxic air? If so, it would be very helpful to consider a liver/spleen detox using the protocols outlined in my website. As I explained to my hairdresser, this is only one component of the rosacea puzzle, but it is significant. And it could be the one thing that puts you on the path to finding your cure.

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