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Natural skin care and natural skincare recipes have been around since the beginning of time. In recent years natural skin care has made a big comeback as people have begun to realize what is in traditional make-up. Natural beauty comes from the inside out. Here are some easy ways to begin a natural skin care routine. Start your day off with a whole body dry brush exfoliation using a soft, natural bristle brush. This will eliminate dead skin cells, decrease puffiness and improve lymph and blood circulation. The next important step is to make sure you are getting enough water, fiber as well as fresh organic fruit and vegetables in your diet. A good diet is essential to healthy skin. Try to avoid sugar and eat flaxseed or cold water fish for the healthy fat they contain. Exercise plays an important role in natural skin care too. Jog, take a walk, skip a rope, practice yoga or workout at the gym. Staying active is important to healthy skin because inactivity can promote bloating, puffiness, acne, cellulite, and a loss of muscle tone. There are numerous natural skin care recipes that can be made at home using products you already have on hand with or without the use of essential oils. Tea tree oil is one of the best essential oils to have on hand if you are using essential oils in natural skincare recipes for their medicinal properties because it has antibacterial and antiviral qualities. Tea tree essential oil is also easily absorbed by the skin. An easy pH restorative peel can be made with the pulp from one tomato, one package of unflavored gelatin and one tablespoon of orange juice. Simply heat the ingredients long enough for the gelatin to dissolve, then puree the ingredients until they are smooth and apply to your face. This recipe works as an exfoliate, is great for a blemish treatment and helps firm and tone the skin.
Did you ever wonder what some of the ingredients in your shampoo were? Formaldehyde, a human carcinogen that can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation can be present in the preservatives DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15 and Bronopol, ingredients that can be found in conventional shampoos. Polyethylene, PEG compounds which contain polyethylene glycol and polysorbates may become contaminated with 1,4 dioxane which is anticipated to be a human carcinogen and has caused liver cancer in rodents. These are just two of the chemicals that can be found in conventional shampoos. Our bodies absorb what is put on our skin as we age this can lead to the development of sensitive skin. These toxins can also lodge directly in our fat cells because they are applied to the skin and scalp thus bypassing the liver. Organic shampoo is supposed to made with natural and organic ingredients. It is important to note that not all organic shampoos are one hundred percent organic so it is important to read the labels and know what you are buying. When choosing an organic shampoo look for one with no petroleum-based colors or oils. The other option you have is to make your own organic shampoo. If you grow the ingredients yourself you know what has been put on them. If not, look for organic ingredients. Homemade products do not have the shelf life that store bought products do, however you can learn to make just the amount you need. To make homemade shampoo you will need seven ounces of filtered water, one ounce of liquid castile soap or make your own from soap nuts or soapwort and six tablespoons of herbs. You can choose various herbs here but try to choose ones for your hair type. For example, use rosemary for dark hair or try chamomile for light hair. Simmer the herbs in water for ten minutes, strain and then mix the ingredients together and you have a natural, organic homemade shampoo.
Using herbs and other botanicals from nature was the only way to care for skin or get makeup products for many years. Botanical skin care has certainly been around since the beginning of time. From nuts and roots that made soap, to fruits and berries that provided color to herbs that gave these homemade skin care products a nice scent, botanical skin care is nothing new. Today botanical skin care has become a science, just as herbal skin care has. Many companies that make synthetic makeup tout that their products contain plant ingredients; however it is important to note that they also contain synthetic ingredients that can be detrimental to your health. When choosing a botanical skin care product read the label. Find out how the product was manufactured. When using botanicals it is important to keep the most active part of the plant cell, the protoplast, intact. This plant cell can be removed from the plant without changing or damaging its cellular structure depending on the extraction method used. Botanical skin care products that do this offer the highest concentration of active botanical compounds making these products a better choice for natural skin care because they work synergistically. Herbal skin care products can be purchased or made at home using natural skin care recipes. A great skin moisturizer can be made from the leaves and flowers of lemon balm, lemon grass, sage, dandelion and lavender. Simply mix the herbs together to get a half of a cup, add four tablespoons of lanolin or glycerin, which is a synthetic product, puree it, bottle it and rub it on your skin daily. This mixture should be keep in a cool, dark place and used within a week.
Many sensitive skin care products are made from natural, organic ingredients because these ingredients tend to be less irritating to the skin than traditional products made with synthetic chemicals. Sensitive skin shows continuous hyperactivity to environmental factors. Skin sensitivity can show itself as erythema, desquamation or discomfort such as itching, burning and stinging. Approximately sixty percent of the products we use on our skin are absorbed into the circulatory system. One ingredient that is excellent for sensitive skin care products is goat's milk. Essential oils that are good for use on sensitive skin include chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose and sandalwood. Sunscreens and lotions, especially ones that are natural or organic and do not contain potential allergens such as artificial fragrance or PABA sunscreens, are essential sensitive skin care products for people with sensitive skin. A great natural skincare recipe for exfoliating sensitive skin is to mix a half of a cup of cornmeal, a quarter cup of goat milk, two teaspoons of baking soda, a tablespoon of olive oil and five drops of tea tree essential oil together. This mixture should be made as it is used. It can be used weekly. When choosing sensitive skin care products for people with this type of skin it is important to remember, the simpler the formulation, the better their skin will respond to it. Be sure to look for calming agents such as lavender or chamomile in the products and if there is any fragrance make sure it is from pure essential oils not synthetic fragrance oils.
Chemical free skin products are important because an astounding sixty percent of the products we use on our skin are absorbed into it. When the skin absorbs these products they are deposited into our circulatory system and can cause birth defects in unborn children. For the average woman that comes to a total of thirty pounds of ingredients from moisturizers alone over a sixty year time span. Several of the most commonly used ingredients in skin care products are known irritants and carcinogens which are derived synthetically or from petroleum. This is why choosing organic makeup is so important. When choosing organic makeup look at more than just the label. It is important to know what ingredients are in your makeup and where they came from especially since there are close to seventy synthetic products that are approved for use in organic makeup. These products include glycerin which is a moisturizer and xanthan gum which is a thickener. Organic foundation and eye shadow is typically made from minerals while lipstick or lip gloss is made from fruits. It is also important to note if the fragrance comes from essential oils or fragrance oils. Essential oils are derived from plants. Fragrance oils are synthetic and contain chemicals that help retain the smell. These chemicals do not have to be disclosed on labels. When choosing chemical free skin products or organic makeup, knowledge is power. Be informed and know what you are putting on your face and body because it will absorb into your skin and affect your health.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|