Natural skincare is a niche product ready to be embraced by the mainstream. Like organically grown food, natural skincare will be the first choice for people who care about making healthy lifestyle decisions. Scientists have determined that skin will absorb up to 60 percent of applied lotions, soaps, creams and oils. Unlike food, which is first metabolized in the liver, what skin absorbs has direct entry to the bloodstream. It matters how you cleanse, hydrate, soothe and protect your skin.
As people learn more about the benefits of natural skincare products and the detriments from not using them, future growth in use is undeniable. Here is a summary guide to going green with your skincare.
Develop a green skincare routine
Regularly read labels on all of your skincare products. Know what ingredients may pose health risks. Check for expiration dates and discard if the date has passed. Don’t rely on a supposed skin type definition, for example, oily or dry. Look at your skin each day to see if adjustments need to be made to your routine.
Natural face cleansers
Whenever washing your face use tepid water and pat dry with a towel. Cleansers can come in different forms including soaps, oils and foams. Try them out to see which one you like best. Avoid cleansers with synthetic fragrances and chemicals known to pose health risks. Scent can come from essential oils or herbal ingredients.
Glycerin soaps made with olive oil extract and honey are effective in keeping the skin moisturized and pores open. Cleansing oils may consist of lightweight blends of natural ingredients such as sunflower oil, vitamins and fruit extracts. Foam cleansers can include plant extracts and organic juices to gently clean the skin.
Toners are optional in a skincare routine but can serve as a multi-tasking tool when your face needs a refresher. Small spray bottles of toner can be used after a workout to replenish skin. Or use the spray to prep your face before moisturizing. If it’s well formulated (read the label) it can hydrate, exfoliate, and diminish brown spots and signs of aging. Some of the best toners are formulated with floral water.
Skin needs to be moisturized. We lose on average of one pint of water through our pores each day. Moisturizers contain emollients to soften, heal, and hydrate the skin. Humectants attract moisture from the air bonding with water molecules. The best green humectants are glycerin and sorbitol that have been derived from natural sources. Emulsifiers bind ingredients. Green emulsifiers may be made up of plant-derived waxes. Water and essential oils are penetrators that allow the skin to absorb. Extracts act as active ingredients that restore balance to the skin’s oils, exfoliate and brighten, and diminish wrinkles. Green active ingredients include citrus extracts and green tea extracts.
Natural body care
Plant derived cleansing agents from olives, sugar beets and coconuts are green alternatives to sulfates. Pure plant oils including jojoba, almond or grape seed extracts are fantastic skin moisturizers. Vitamin E and caffeine are known to hold skin-firming properties.
Natural sun protection
Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide have a wide spectral range to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. If you don’t want to layer multiple products choose a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen in it. Another green way of protecting your skin is wear a hat and lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants. Drinking green tea has also shown to offer some protection from sun radiation.
A process for extracting oils from flowers through distillation was first introduced by a Persian doctor sometime around AD 100 and refined later by the Romans. Essential oils including Cypress, lavender and Mandarin are known to have calming effects as well as a subtle, pleasurable scent. Synthetic perfumes weren’t introduced until the 20th century.
Just as our skin cells are constantly renewing so is our ability to accept, preserve and protect nature’s gifts.