We all look in the mirror and notice our little flaws. A spot here, a small wrinkle there, and the very thought of more of them on their way drives us to the cosmetic counters and drugstores for skin care products. These products that help fund the multi-billion dollar beauty industry promise us the fountain of youth; the chance to stay looking young and vibrant for a small price in exchange.
But is the price that low? Not to discount the moderate effects these beauty products might offer, they are also made with a litany of chemicals. Chemicals made in labs that quite often may have very little benefit to our outer flaws but a potentially big consequence of their use to our sensitive bodies. As we are beginning to understand that most everything we apply to our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, it’s more and more important now than ever for us to know what exactly is in the products that we are putting on our face.
The array of chemicals in beauty products are plentiful. Anyone simply needs to read an ingredient label to see that. How harmful can some of them be? Well, chemicals such as Phthalates that are used in the creation of fragrances for creams can create hormonal imbalances. Parabens, used as preservatives for makeup can cause reproductive difficulties and endocrine issues, and other additives such as formaldehyde that are another preservative known for causing cancer are just some of the ingredients in these products that have potential to cause serious harm.
What can we do to nourish and look after our skin without the risk?
Turning to our own pantry’s is a great place to start.
I consulted Lauren Mary Ference, Cl.H, RHN, CD, PPD. She is a practicing Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Nutritionist, and Doula in Alberta, Canada, and has developed a line of products specifically for expecting mothers’ particular skin issues as well as a line of safe and beneficial creams and salves for baby’s super sensitive skin.
“Everyone’s skin is unique, but it all responds to gentle and pure ingredients,” says Lauren.
Lauren has created three face masks for different skin types for us to try, and the best part is that we can make them ourselves from ingredients commonly found in our own kitchen. She says you can use these masks once a week and advises people to use the freshest ingredients they can find.
For Dry and/or Mature Skin
Recipe: 1/2 avocado, 3 strawberries (mashed with a fork), 1 tsp raw cacao powder (found at grocery stores. This is cocoa powder WITHOUT sugar, in its’ raw state. You can also use regular cocoa powder, but be sure is has NO sugar in the ingredients), and 1 tsp of coconut oil. Add all ingredients together and mix well. Apply to skin and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water, pat dry.
For Acne and /or Oily Skin
Recipe: 1 tbsp. Plain organic yogurt, 1 tbsp. Raw honey, one tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, and one tsp castor oil (optional). Mix ingredients together thoroughly and apply. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes and rinse with cool water. Pat dry.
For Sensitive and/or a Soothing Mask
Recipe: 1 tbsp. of finely ground oat flakes and 1 tbsp. Aloe vera gel, 1 tbsp. Freshly brewed chamomile tea, one tsp raw honey. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
Making your own skin care products at home serves many purposes. You know what you’re putting on your face, thus into your body, you’re kind to the environment by not flushing these chemicals down to drain into the water systems, and you’ll be saving a lot of money while benefiting your body. It’s a win-win situation all around.