Expert Author Clive A Wedderburn

We live in a modern world where chemicals and other unwanted substances are placed into and onto our body without so much as a polite request. Many of the cosmetics and detergents we use are applied with a blind trust in the manufacturer's integrity not to tamper with the delicate balance of our bodies. We don't ask questions. We are not even vaguely concerned.

Then we wonder why we develop chronic dry skin disorders.

OK, so you bought some shampoo. Your hair was dirty; you wanted something that would give it a nice wash. What you did not expect to buy, however, was a product that contained ingredients that are known carcinogens, petrochemicals or involve artificial preservatives for that matter. In this way you allow the manufacturing giants access to our personal ecosystem without assessing any damage prolonged exposure will cause.

We would not do this in other areas of our lives. For example, you know when your computer notifies you that the webpage you are about to access may contain harmful viruses? Usually a pop-up box flags that your actions may not be beneficial to the computers operating system. Forewarned, you stay well away, resulting in zero contamination. Well, why aren't we as diligent with our own operating systems?

It may come as news when you realise that the cosmetics industry does not create new brands merely to suit the needs of the individual. It tests its products to suit the population as a whole. As you know, you can't possibly please all of the people all the time. Subsequently there are many who fall through the cracks in their rigid testing regimes. A product tested under their guidelines may have a limited effect on 95% of the population, but what about the remaining five percent?

Well they have a reaction of some kind. It might come out in a rash and it probably escaped their attention that the shampoo they bought from the supermarket was, in fact, the cause.

Thus, a shampoo with ingredients their body probably never needed in the first instance, gave them an affliction they definitely did not want and suddenly they are stuck with a debilitating dry skin condition like eczema or dermatitis.

Baffled and distressed, they visit the doctor and get a prescription for an eczema cream, but with equally damaging ingredients, to cope with the rash caused by the shampoo. Unwittingly, they continue with their normal routine and wash their hair, inflaming the outbreak further and still leaving them no wiser as to the cause or a possible cure.

So while you are searching for a cure for eczema, dermatitis or another chronic skin disorder, you might want to consider actively treating the problem at source, by addressing the way you consume.

Be responsible for your well-being; don't just leave it to the pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies to decide what is best for you. Be vigilant and inquisitive about the ingredients your products contain. Allow your natural curiosity free reign and investigate the properties of your favourite soaps and detergents. They may not even be your favourites. They may be in your bathroom because you never searched for alternatives, until now that is, when you looked in the bathroom mirror at that patch of dry skin on your face and wondered where it all went wrong.

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