By Dr Laurie Teitelman, ND
Have you ever thought about what is in the soap you wash your body with on a daily basis? I hadn’t either until I learned about the importance of allowing your body’s natural protective mechanisms to actually shine through!
How to protect yourself? Never (ever!) use antibacterial soaps, as they contain a toxic chemical called triclosan, which inhibits fatty acid synthesis and contributes to the growing concern of antibiotic resistance. We are delicately designed with a protective fatty acid layer, called sebum, which acts as our primary barrier against infection. Soaps wash this sebum away, which is why I recommend that you only use soap to clean your armpits groin. This way, the beneficial sebum on our bodies remains intact as a readily protective barrier.
Why is this so important? The sebum on our bodies also helps us create the critically important vitamin D that helps protect us from and prevent so many health concerns we experience in our society today, including obesity, cancer, hypertension, and the like. In the summer sunshine, the UV rays interact with a type of cholesterol on the skin’s surface to create Vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin gets absorbed slowly over time (and relies on a healthy liver and kidney function for activation), usually 2 days or so. This means that when we bathe in the shower after sunbathing, we are essentially washing away the Vitamin D we just acquired on our skin’s surface.
Sound confusing? It’s not. Stick to the basics I mentioned above and always use a clean soap (I like the natural and fragrance-free Kiss My Face soaps) when possible. If you’re not getting enough direct sunlight (not many of us are, especially during the winter season), I highly suggest that you get your Vitamin D blood levels checked out by your doctor and supplement daily and regularly with Vitamin D3 (the active form) according to your individual levels.