Unexpected steps for natural skin care
The move towards natural, chemical-free skincare products is becoming more and more mainstream. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the fact that the things we put on our skin affect both our health and the health of our environment. After all, 60% of the stuff we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream!
But just because we use a product marketed as “natural” doesn’t guarantee that we aren’t inundating our bodies with chemicals. Additionally, even if we are using pristine and homemade products, we can still be disrupting the regeneration cycle of the skin. I used to make these 6 detrimental skincare mistakes, but now that I know better, my skin has visibly thanked me!
1. Stop using “natural” products that aren’t
Clever marketing covers a myriad of sins. Take, for example, Neutrogena’s new line of “natural” products. The minimalist, clean packaging and eco-friendly buzzwords on the label make it appear that these are indeed safe and non-toxic skincare options. But that is far from the truth! Just take a peek at the ingredients inside the “natural” moisturizer:
Water, Dicapryl Carbonate, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Heptyl Undecylenate, Plukenetia Volubilis (Inca Inchi) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Stearic Acid, Gluconolactone, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Sclerotium Gum, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Llex Paraguariensis Extract, Maltodextrin, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum
A few things on that list should raise some concerns. For example, sodium benzoate is a toxic preservative. Even more worrying is the innocuous “fragrance.” Putting a simple “fragrance” on the label is just euphemism for: “this is a mixture of really toxic stuff that we don’t want you to know you are putting in your body.” Don’t fall for sneaky marketing. The terms “natural” and “naturally derived” have no significance.
Know what you are putting on your skin. The safest and most economical option? Make your own skincare products! I share my DIY skincare routine below… it is simple and works well for almost every skin type!
2. “Like Treats Like”
It seems intuitive to reach for the oil-free moisturizers when your face is already an oil slick. That is what I did for years, layering mattifying lotions and water-based acne treatments on my super-shiny face. None of these products solved my oily skin conundrum… as a matter of fact, these products threw my pores even further into oil-production overdrive.
Last year, I summoned a deep breath of courage and switched to homemade, oil-based skincare products (hang on, I will share the recipe in a moment). I’ll be honest: there was about a month-long transition period when my skin was even more oily than usual. But then it happened… my oily skin gradually began to normalize. Now, it’s nowhere near perfect, but it is drastically less oily than it used to be.
Why did this happen? When we apply drying products on the skin, it actually signals the skin to produce more oil to compensate for the oil that is being stripped away. But when we use an oil-based day moisturizer, it signals the pores to produce less sebum.
The same “like treats like” principle also goes for dry skin, according to holistic skincare expert Dr. Hauschka. He recommends using a light-weight moisturizer instead of intensely moisturizing creams for dry skin:
If we treat dry skin with rich, heavy creams or oils we effectively trick our skin into believing it’s been producing too much of its own oil. In response it will decrease production, perpetuating the dry skin cycle.
3. Ditch the heavy night cream
Really?! What is so wrong with using a night cream? I was asking myself that same question when I recently discovered Dr. Hauschka’s “7 Facts that Will Change Your Skin.”
While I cannot afford to regularly purchase Dr. Hauschka’s pricey products (I’m a college student and a blogger, plus I prefer my DIY skin products), I am certainly taking advantage of his free and expert advice on his website!
This is why Dr. Hauschka does not recommend night creams:
While you sleep your skin is actually hard at work regenerating itself, balancing oil production and expelling impurities. Regular application of night creams interferes with these essential tasks, and over time skin becomes less able to care for itself. Use of nighttime moisturizers signals the sebaceous glands to cut down on moisture production, resulting in even drier skin. Over time, skin becomes dependent on moisturizing products just to appear “normal.”
Ever since reading that, I’ve dropped my Homemade Facial Oil (recipe below) my evening skincare routine. Continue reading for my DIY Day and Night Skincare Routine!
4. Put down the exfoliant
I have definitely been guilty of this skincare sin, too. If you are using an exfoliant or facial scrub every day or every other day, that is waaaay to often. Dr. Hauschka does not believe that facial scrubs are ever a good option. Hash scrubs and exfoliants can permanently damage skin, lead to premature signs of aging, and cause sun damage. When treated with the right ingredients–both outside and inside– the skin will increase cellular turnover and look soft and smooth… without damaging exfoliants. I no longer use or recommend any type of facial scrubs, including sugar/salt scrubs and baking soda exfoliation.
5. Don’t put soap on your face!
This might blow your mind: it is not best to use soap on the face. Soap, even “gentle” sudsing cleansers, even castile soap, disrupt the skins acid mantle and pH. Harsh and stripping, soaps dissolve all the skins natural oils. As discussed above, stripping the skin of all sebum actually makes the skin prone to over-produce oil.
Without soap, how is it possible to wash your face? With raw honey and oil! Yes, it’s called “honey cleansing” and “oil cleansing.” I explain them below where I share my skincare routine!
6. Address hormones with diet and lifestyle
Beauty is more than skin deep… especially when it comes to the beauty of our skin! In my opinion, the most significant change we can make for better skin is balancing our hormones naturally through diet, lifestyle and a few carefully selected supplements. For many women, their skin takes a nose dive into pimple territory during ovulation and/or menstruation. I struggled for a long time with very severe cystic acne during that time of the month, along with equally severe PMS.
If you struggle with any type or severity of hormonal acne, the only lasting solution is addressing the root cause of hormonal imbalance. My book Quit PMS: End Your Menstrual Misery is the go-to guide for any woman who wants to balance her hormones naturally for clear skin.
My natural skin care routine
- Honey cleansing – instructions here – to wash my face in the morning.
- Oil cleansing in the evening. I explain the proper oils and technique in my free digital book Quit Acne Recipes, available for download here.
- The Tea Tree Toner from Enessa, my favorite line of organic skincare.
- My daytime moisturizer is one of the facial oils which I discuss in Quit Acne Recipes (link to the free download in step #2 above).
- Enessa’s Clove Acne Control for my occasional hormone-induced cystic blemish. I’ve sworn by this product for five years. It takes down the swelling and pain overnight.
Are you making the transition to natural skincare? Have you been making any of these skincare mistakes?