It’s Important to Take Care of Your Skin
When you take care of your skin, you are actually taking care of your whole body.
Covering about 22 sq. ft. (2 sq. meters) and weighing about 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms), your skin is the largest organ of your body. It just makes sense to make every effort to take care of it as much as possible. Skin care products and regimens are an important part of this care – it only makes sense to go natural.
Our skin serves us in many ways. It acts as a first line of defense protecting us against pathogens and pollutants daily. Glowing and radiant skin speaks volumes to those around us. Like it or not, we live in a society that judges people on their appearance which is often dictated by their health.
Commercial skin care products smell and look appealing. Upon reading the label however, we find them to be full of hard to pronounce toxic and synthetic substances, and artificial fragrances.
Although touted as a beauty product, these cosmetics often do more harm than good, especially over time. Skin does not read the ingredients. It willingly absorbs all the elements of the product you are using, whether natural or unnatural, healthy or unhealthy, safe or toxic. It relies on you to make the correct choices.
When shopping for “natural” skincare products, it is always wise to check the labels. Although a product may claim to be “all natural,” a quick review of its ingredients may reveal chemicals that are harmful to you and to the environment.
Natural Skin Care Products
Throughout history, herbs have been used to create natural skincare products. Herbal body care products are beneficial for everyone, men and women alike.
When creating your own skin care or body care products, it is a good idea to create them with your specific complexion and skin type in mind. Natural skin care products are fun and easy to make and can be prepared with very little time, effort or money. Using herbs, tinctures, teas and essential oils, you will soon be creating your own “beauty” formulas.
Facial Steam and Essential Oils
The combination of steam and essential oils is very beneficial in a skin care regimen. The combination surrounds your face with the herb’s essential oils. Rosemary is an excellent choice. Although the steam doesn’t remove the dirt and grime, it will open the skins pores and soften the skin’s surface enough to help thoroughly cleanse the skin. The heat increases the circulation and relaxes the facial muscles. The essential oil acts as a moisturizer.
Routine masking is beneficial to the skin. Masks pull out impurities, increase circulation, and exfoliate, leaving your face with a beautiful, healthy glow.
Clay is the ideal base for a facial mask formula. Ground herbs and essential oils can be easily mixed into the clay. The best clays to use are cosmetic-grade bentonite, kaolin or Fuller’s earth clay.
Many food-type ingredients can be added to the clay to achieve different result. Some of these include fruits such as papaya and citrus fruits, vegetables such as cucumber, and other ingredients such as yogurt, vinegar and wine.
Feeding your skin from the outside in is not as silly as it sounds. Sometimes, external use of these ingredients provide benefits to the complexion just as much as consuming them does.
Removing makeup, dirt and dust, and excess facial oil is the first step in any skincare regimen. One thing to keep in mind in this step is that scrubbing harder and using harsher soaps isn’t required. Consider using as little soap as possible-maybe not even any. Most soaps and skin cleansers are very alkaline which then change the skin’s natural acidic barrier. It is this barrier that keeps felt harmful, infection-causing pathogens at bay. Diluted vinegar and oatmeal both make great natural cleansers because they maintain the skin’s acidic nature.
Exfoliation is a step that you do not want to skip. It allows you to remove the dough, dead skin cells that make your skin look lifeless. Removing these dead skin cells through exfoliation exposes new fresh skin that is glowing with health. Unless your skin is supersensitive, it will benefit from the exfoliation process.
When exfoliating the face be sure to use gentle, circular movements. Be gentle and don’t over scrub to the point that irritation occurs, revealing new skin that is not ready to face the world. Check the ingredients of purchased exfoliating products making sure that they do not contain ground almond shells – these are too harsh for the face. Natural items that can be used for exfoliation found in most homes – cornmeal and oatmeal.
A toner could be described as any substance that improves the appearance and health of the skin. Facial toners should not be limited to a person’s morning and evening routines. They can also be used to cool down on a warm day, applied during and after exercise, or used to freshen and invigorate your face any time during the day.
How are toners applied? They can be misted, dabbed, or splashed onto the face. Toners should not rinsed off, but should be left on the face to perform their magic.
Because of its skin healing properties and neutral pH, aloe vera makes an ideal facial toner.
Herbal vinegars also make great toners. Vinegar contains alpha hydroxy acids naturally, which restores natural acidity to skin, improves moisture retention, and smooths out fine lines and wrinkles. Vinegar also improves acne and lightens dark spots
Moisturizers are an extremely important component to any great skin care regimen. Moisturizers should include two key components: water and oil. Healthy skin is at least half water; therefore, it is an essential ingredient in a moisturizer to keep skin soft and supple, to reduce flakiness and dryness, and to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Oil smooths out rough, scaly skin and creates a protective barrier that prevents the water from evaporating. A good moisturizer would be a cream or lotion that is held in suspension by an emulsifier such as beeswax or glycerin.
More to come:
Want to learn more about basic skin care for specific skin types? Check out the two related articles below:
- Natural Skin Care for Oily Skin (link will be added when article is published soon)
- Natural Skin Care for Dry Skin
Each one of these articles will include links to natural skin care products that you can make for yourself. There is no better way of knowing what is in the cream, toner, mask, etc. than making it yourself.
Thinks to Consider When Purchasing Natural Skin Care Products
If making your own natural skin care products is not your cup of tea, you should be able to find these products in a natural food or department store. You just want to make sure that the products you purchase are naturally acid-based with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Skin is naturally acid-based and you want to stay as close as possible to the same pH as your skin.
If you want to test the products that you are purchasing you can do so using nitrazine paper which can be purchased at the health food store or your local pharmacy.
You can add additional fragrance to or increase the effectiveness of these store-bought natural products by stirring in a few drops of any desired essential oil. Or you can add your own fragrances to influence your emotions or that of others.
Keep In Mind
There is no such thing as a safe skin care product, natural or otherwise, that is safe for everyone. Anyone can be allergic or sensitive to “natural” ingredients. Be sure to test any new skincare product or ingredient by dabbing a small amount on the inside of your arm or wrist, especially if you’re prone to allergies. If you experience a reaction, such as a rash, swelling, or itching, you want to avoid that product or ingredient.
Beauty is more than skin deep. The glow of healthy skin begins with inner self. In order to have a radiant glowing complexion, get plenty of rest, eat a balanced diet, and make sure to get plenty of rest and relaxation. Drinking plenty of water, eight glasses or more per day, helps to keep your skin well hydrated.
Photo Credits: All photos were procured from the MorgueFile.
Reference Sources: National Geographic’s Skin