Your skin is crawling... with toxic creepy chemicals

You study every label, read every ingredient and take the time to understand what they are. You're very careful about what you eat and how you feed your family.

But if you're like most folks, what you put onto your body doesn't get half as much thought as what you put into it.

Soaps, shampoos, creams, perfumes, colognes and cosmetics are often loaded with toxic chemicals, and yet we rub them all over the body's largest and most sensitive organ: the skin.

Ask most folks why they don't bother to check labels on these products as carefully as they check the ones on their food and they'll tell you the skin is "outside" the body -- and besides, most of these things, especially soaps and shampoos, are rinsed off seconds after they're put on.

A few seconds of contact can't hurt... can it?

The truth is it can -- because contact doesn't actually end within a few seconds. Many of the soaps, potions and lotions you use every day linger invisibly on your skin long after you think you've washed them off.

In fact, a new 3D analysis technique that lets us take a closer look at human skin reveals that we're practically wearing another layer at this point.

We're coated in a chemical residue left behind by soaps, shampoos, skin care products and other cosmetics, according to the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study doesn't look at what happens from there. It only proves that it's there even when you think it's gone.

But the skin is another route into the body, and is so efficient at absorbing chemicals that a growing number of drugs are now being delivered via skin patches. If those drugs can get in through your skin, you can bet the chemicals from soaps, fragrances and cosmetics are also getting in.

So consider this your chance to wake up and smell the artificially scented chemical cosmetics and start to be as careful about what you put ON your body as you are about what goes INTO it.

If you shop around, you can find a growing number of safe and natural products such as paraben-free soaps and shampoos, fragrances made from essential oils and phthalates-free cosmetics.