Believe it or not, skincare can be one of the easiest and most rewarding aspects of self maintenance! But with SO many options of brands and products that promise the world, choosing a product that is right for you can be completely and totally overwhelming! Would you like a simple solution? Yes? Ok: Our answer is simple skincare. Here’s why:
Skincare products that are based on natural solutions offer a simpler ingredient list. This is important not only because it’s easier to track what we are using on our skin, but because SIMPLER solutions tend to have ingredients that require less additives, preservatives and sneaky ingredients that might actually promote dryness and/or reliance on repeat usage. Yes, that means that some of the products you are currently using were designed to make you buy more. Not very fair is it?
By converting to a more natural skin care routine, we can save money and promote better ethics, prevent bioaccumulation of unwanted chemicals, and encourage a more environmentally sustainable manufacturing process! I will teach you how. But first: Why.
Save Money! Take a moment and think of all the products you’ve purchased over the last 5 years. How much did that cost? We tend to buy, buy again until we find something that really works, right? Women spend over $426 billion dollars annually on beauty products - usually trying to cover up skin problems! All the while, we are doing more damage to our skin by over-dosing and drying, polluting our environment, and overspending! Do you want to support companies that use ingredients that actually cause damage to your skin? Causing you to buy, buy again until you find something that works?
What if I told you, that you can detox and heal your skin for less than $8/month? You can! As soon as you’re done reading through this post, check out my step by step, super natural skin care routine here.
Our skin can (and will) absorb some of what we put on it. Contrary to popular belief however, our skin does not absorb everything we put on it. Our skin is comprised of 3 major layers with more tiny, protective and functional layers in between. Our outermost layer is known as the Stratum corneum or (fun fact - also known as the horny layer). Ringing in at over 20-30 cell layers thick and full of keratin and dead skin cells, THIS is the thickest, most protective layer. Thickened plasma membranes and glycoproteins protect against abrasion and loss of water. Sounds sexy yeah? Ok, back to it. The cells of this layer act as a bodyguard to the layers below, allowing oils and humectants to penetrate the surface, but not be absorbed into the layers below. (It is only under repeating and extreme exposure that harmful chemicals become absorbed into the bloodstream.) **It’s also important to understand the different between absorption and penetration - A topically applied chemical can penetrate the skin without actually being absorbed into the bloodstream.**
Start by reducing exposure to harmful, drying, or irritating ingredients. Yes there’s plenty of hype against chemicals with long names, but if we pay closer attention to these ingredients, we can approach the subject in an informed matter and take advantage of some highly beneficial substances. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still going to stay as close to nature as possible without having to refrigerate every product. Let’s be realistic here.
Chemicals with long names we love:
Ceramides are lipid molecules found in the membrane of skin cells that are credited with helping to prevent moisture loss. “Natural or synthetic ceramides will help maintain and restore skin barrier function, so that moisture is sealed in,” explains Ava Shamban, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. Studies have shown that people who have eczema and psoriasis have significantly fewer ceramides than people with normal skin. By using products that contain ceramides, you shore up the skin’s own moisturization defenses.
Essential fatty acids
Also known as healthy fats, essential fatty acids are the fuel that cells require to undergo biological processes, like moisturization, that keep skin healthy and glowing. The body doesn’t produce essential fatty acids on its own, so the nutrients must be absorbed from a person's diet or from skin creams. “Olive oil, avocado, almond oil, and shea butter are all essential fatty acids that will help lock in moisture,” says David Bank, MD, president of the New York State Society for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in such foods as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, soy, flaxseed, and safflower oil.
Glycerin, glycols, and polyols
These three ingredients are members of the humectant family — they “cause skin to draw in and bind extra moisture,” says cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer. For example, if you left glycerin out in the open, it would slowly but steadily absorb water from the air until it became about 20 percent water and 80 percent glycerin. That potent ability to pull in and retain water makes it a common ingredient in hydrating soaps and cleansers that are formulated to gently cleanse skin without stripping it of moisture. These humectants can appear in numerous variations on ingredient lists; two of the most widely used versions are propylene glycol and butylene glycol.
This is perhaps the most impressive of all moisturizing ingredients. “The hyaluronic acid molecule absorbs about 1,000 times its own weight in water,” Dr. Shamban says. That quick and effective hydrating action keeps collagen and elastin moist and functioning, and therefore helps skin look supple and youthful. And for oily skin that easily breaks out from the use of heavy humectants, hyaluronic acid is a lightweight, non-oily ingredient that is “safe” for even the most acne-prone complexions.
Sodium PCA, another type of humectant, is found naturally in the proteins of human skin and binds water to cells. “Sodium PCA has excellent water-absorbing properties,” says Hammer. While water weight may otherwise be the last thing we want to hold onto, it’s exactly what you want in a moisturizer to guarantee the longest-lasting hydration. Sodium PCA is commonly found in moisturizers for the skin, though it’s also an excellent ingredient to look for in hair care products if you suffer from static — the hydrating molecule soothes hair and prevents flyaways.
Commonly used chemicals we suggest you avoid:
Formaldehyde releasers: quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. - In the grand scheme of things, allergic reactions to formaldehyde releasers are rare, occuring between about 2 to 9 percent of cases. If your skin is very dry or if you have eczema, then your skin’s barrier isn’t working as well as it should be. And over time, with more exposure to these releasers, the chance of skin becoming even more sensitive increases.
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol): Some people are concerned about 1,4 dioxane because the EPA calls it a possible carcinogen. However research has also shown that it evaporates from the skin very quickly.
Petrochemicals: While research states the risk associated with using mineral oil topically is miniscule, and groups that defend its use say “while it does have an environmental impact, so do plant based products.” Yeah, yeah. We think it’s just best to limit our dependence on this finite resource in general. Think ecological efficiency and petrochemicals don’t come up as a viable option.
Phenoxyethanol & Benzyl alcohol: If your skin is sensitive to lotions with fragrance, keep an eye out for these ingredients. They can still be present in fragrance free lotions when used as a preservative. That said, it is not considered a major allergen, (unless you have dry skin) and is less irritating than other preservatives used in lotions.
Methylisothiazolinone/methylchloroisothiazolinone (MI/MCI) What? Say again? Theseare preservatives used in beauty products, latex, and water-based paint. In beauty products, they can be used in place of parabens. In a 2008 study that evaluated allergens listed in North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) screening panel MI/MCI was determined to be the 10th most common allergen in moisturizers, found in 6.2 percent of products. There are a few studies that show that up to about 10 percent of people may get contact dermatitis from one or both of these. No thanks!
And finally, phase out your current skincare products by updating your skincare routine. Shop Remedy Naturals for products that have ingredients we’re proud of and check back for beauty tips and secrets we just can't keep to ourselves.