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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Linda Lizotte on Choosing Healthier Skincare Products: What Our Skin Absorbs Matters to Our Health

Apr 30, 2016 08:33PM ● By Karina Gordin

Linda Lizotte

Registered dietitian and entrepreneur Linda Lizotte qualifies the classic adage “You are what you eat” with “You are what you absorb.” In other words, products put on the body, such as cosmetics, are equally consequential as the products put in the body. After all, skin—the body’s largest organ—absorbs and ultimately transports a percentage of cosmetic-based chemicals directly into the bloodstream and vital organs. On account of this mechanism, which bypasses the liver, ingesting chemicals, as well as preservatives and carcinogenic contaminants commonly found in commercial cosmetics, may in fact be safer than rubbing them directly on the skin. 

From 2003 to 2013, Connecticut native Lizotte conducted more than 350 interviews for her Designs for Health Clinical Rounds weekly podcast. The most current research she found on the hazardous effects of synthetic chemicals in cosmetics led her to launch AMG Naturally, a synthetic-free, plant-sourced skincare line, aimed at spreading health awareness and helping those that value their health as much as their skin.

A practicing nutritionist for more than 15 years, Lizotte first became interested in the fi eld of diet and nutrition upon studying biochemistry in college—a stepping stone that paved the way for a more advanced study of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplementation. Ultimately, Lizotte recognized that the nutrition we ingest via food and supplements makes us who we are: “It affects our skin, our hair, our complexion, mood, energy and everything in between.”

In other words, Lizotte explains that vitamins and minerals make us who we are; a fact that also extends to our skincare habits. Accordingly, “Look at it this way: under the hair is the brain. How important is that organ? The skin has no liver, just lots of pores that absorb the good and bad alike, which get directed to the bloodstream. If we care about our health, we have to care about the products we use to maintain our health,” she asserts.

Men and women typically use more than 10 body care products per day, so by simply changing skin care regiments, one’s health can be improved. As a fi rst step, Lizotte advises consumers to study labels on cosmetics and body care products. “We must learn the chemical ingredients that are toxic, hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing,” she warns. “These same ingredients are proven to be linked to birth defects, infertility, asthma and breast cancer, as well as more minor conditions like skin irritation, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and depression. Just to name a few preservatives and carcinogenic compounds to watch out for on cosmetic labels: propylene glycol, parabens, mercury, talc, formaldehyde-releasing ingredients like DMDM Hydantoin, coal tar derivatives, nitrosamines, sodium lauryl sulfate, triethanolamine (TEA), color additives and ‘fragrances’.”

In addition to emphasizing the long-term effects of topical skincare products, Lizotte also offers more pointed advice to her clients concerning the use of herbs, including the tropical medicinal plant Coleus forskohli, which Lizotte points out has been investigated for fat loss, and demonstrates improvements in lean body mass and weight loss. “I put everyone on a multivitamin with minerals because when you cut calories down to 1,200/day it is difficult to meet the optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals needed for adequate energy levels and fat burning.” Her favorite is L-Carnitine because it shuttles body fat into the mitochondria to be burned as fuel, adding “If we only burn our food for energy, we are not tapping into stored body fat which is the goal of course.”

As trends in health and diet evolve,  Lizotte suggests that “alarmingly, we are trending towards increases in cancer, autoimmune disease, gluten intolerance, peanut allergy, asthma and autism.”

She reports, “There is evidence that ingredients in the pesticide Roundup are contributing to the increase in gluten sensitivities. Mercury exposure from dental fillings has been linked to gluten issues. There is a connection between BHA in plastic to asthma.

“We have to consciously reduce our exposure to chemicals. We want a beautiful lawn, but at what cost? We want beautiful skin, but at what cost to our health?”

Karina Gordin, MSc, is a Boston-based writer. Connect at [email protected].