Natural skin care
Last updated 12/1/2020 at 4:25pm
OK, let's take a little quiz before we start. What is the largest organ of the body? Tick, Tick, Tick. (Think the final "Jeopardy" song!) Time's up! Who had the skin? Gold stars to all of you! The skin is our largest organ, and yet we bombard it on a daily basis with less than healthy products. Especially women.
Think about it, ladies. How many products do you put on your skin daily? Two? Six? Would you believe that the average number of products we put on our skin DAILY is 12!? Starting in the morning, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toner, serum, makeup foundation, mascara, lip gloss, hair spray – the list goes on and on. If you work out, much of that gets repeated a second time. Then there's our nightly routine. Just for fun, count how many things you open up to do your routine tomorrow. Bottom line, it's probably much more than you need. Add to that, the chemicals in your beauty regimen. How many ingredients are in EACH one of those products? How many of them do you recognize? How many of them can you even pronounce!? I have a personal standard – if I can't pronounce it, it doesn't go in my body or on my skin.
What many people don't understand is that anything we put on our skin goes into our system. It doesn't stay ON the skin. That means the liver has to process it. If the liver receives something it doesn't recognize, and that would be ANYTHING unnatural, it has to hold on to it and figure out how to process it. What to keep, what to throw away, etc. I realize this is very simplistic, but you don't read this column for doctoral dissertations!
The issue here is that many of the chemicals in most skin care products are extremely toxic to your system and in some cases, even carcinogenic. Add to that the fact that many of you who have been wearing masks with this whole COVID thing are now experiencing issues, especially around the mouth and nose. Many people are wearing facemasks on a regular basis and these facemasks are causing significant harm to the skin, causing friction and indirectly trapping moisture, and increasing levels of bacteria and other micro-organisms on the skin. This is resulting in conditions like acne, rosacea and skin sensitivity, breakouts and bacterial infections on your face. (Qu'elle surprise.) Seriously. Dermatologists are seeing a steep uptick in the number of patients experiencing these symptoms and it links right back to the timing of masks.
So I'm going to discuss natural skin care with you today. Most experts would agree that natural skincare products are products that are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Many of these products also use ingredients that are naturally sourced, or botanical ingredients that have therapeutic effects on skin.
Now there are LOTS of "natural skin care products" on the market and I won't go into recommendations of specific brands. I make my own. And so did our grandmothers! I have a beautiful mentor named Bernice who just celebrated her 89'th birthday and her skin is absolutely beautiful! I've been in her bathroom and I can tell you, it is not full of chemical-laden garbage. She's a Kansas farm girl and I asked her one day what her secret was. She told me a fabulous story about how her mother never let her and her sister go out to work in the gardens without their bonnets on. That's right, no chemical laden, SPF 1 million. Just common sense, wearing a bonnet in the sun to avoid direct exposure. Simple, right!?
We all learned long ago that FDA labeling requires that ingredients be on labels according to the amounts with the largest listed first. So take a look at that "natural" skin care product. What are the ingredients?
Many products list water as the first ingredient. If water is in the mix, you MUST have a preservative, because water is alive and has natural bacteria in it. This is one of the reasons I do NOT use water in many of my products. There are natural preservatives, and water is very important for our skin, but drink it instead of putting it on your skin. I prefer to use oil based products for this reason. Cleansers, toners and moisturizers are mostly oil based in my products.
But it doesn't even have to be that difficult. Pure organic coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer. I also use jojoba instead of say, almond oil. The reason is that technically, jojoba is a wax that is liquid at room temperature. So my serums and creams use that instead of almond or sesame seed oil which can become rancid. For toners or cleansers, I use organic, distilled witch hazel. It is astringent, so will tighten the skin. Add a few drops of hydrosol to the mix and you're good to go!
Hydrosols, also known as "flower waters," are produced by distilling fresh leaves, fruits, flowers, and other plant materials. With similar properties to essential oils, these aromatic waters are much less concentrated. Their aromas are often soft and subtle when compared to their essential oil counterpart. They are moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, mildly antiseptic, and are a wonderfully fragrant addition to skin care. Due to their benevolent nature, hydrosols offer a myriad of treatment possibilities when essential oils might be too strong.
At the most, you need a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizer. That's it! The bottom line here is, keep it natural as possible. Do it in steps and remember, you ARE what you EAT! Diet plays an extremely powerful role in natural skin care, so lots of natural fruits, veggies and plenty of pure, preferably alkaline water ever single day. Wear a hat or a bonnet when you are outside but skip the SPF. Did you know we only started seeing incidents of skin cancer after that garbage came out? It's true, look it up. And, if you MUST wear a mask, take it off as soon as you can, don't wear it in your car and change it every day! They are breeding grounds for bacteria. And I can't see your beautiful smile when you're wearing it.
Valere! (Be Well!)
Editor's note: Have questions for the herbalist? Email them to: [email protected]