We’ve all heard you are what you eat, and fashionistas would say you are what you wear.  Now we’re realizing you are what you put on your skin.

It’s not news that we’re becoming more conscious of the toxins in cosmetics and skin care products, or that we’re demanding more environmentally-safe ingredients.  Even P&G announced that it’s using packaging made of sustainable, renewable materials, and I’m sure their products will soon follow suit.  (Btw, Gisele is the spokesperson for this initiative, see Gisele Bundchen Teams Up With P&G Beauty to Launch Sustainable Packaging Makeover.)  But now some of us are actually concerned that the ingredients in cosmetics comply with religious restrictions!

No joke.  Practicing Muslims can now get Halal make-up, like Samina Pure Mineral Makeup.  In other words, they have cosmetics sans the ingredients that are prohibited to consume orally, e.g., alcohol, pork and animals not slaughtered according to Islamic law.

This is another example of a growing realization that our skin isn’t just an inanimate sheath covering our bodies from the elements but a living, breathing part of each of us. So what we put on our skin we’re actually putting in us.  Likewise, what we put in our bodies is reflected by our skin.

While this may seem obvious, it’s a relatively new theory for us Americans.  Until recently, we had, in the words of anthropologist Tom Maschio, an “external” view of our bodies.  Are bodies are shields or shells from the outside world that need to be guarded against diseases.  And their secretions — menstruation, sweat, mucus — are shame inducing.  With a greater understanding of the inner workings of our bodies, thanks to Eastern medicine and overall better medical education, we’re beginning to have more of an “internal” view of them.  We’re starting to see them more as being complex eco-systems, with all parts, all organs, including the skin, working in harmony.

So the next time you put some glitter on your lids or cream on your elbows, ask your self this: “Would my body want me to eat that?”

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