Natural Skin Care
The average person uses at least 10 commercial skin care products, from daily moisturizer to sunblock, exposing his or her skin to almost 130 chemicals. Of the products on the market today, nearly 90% have yet to be tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Cosmetic Ingredient Review for consumer safety. Switching out part of your current beauty routine for natural skin care products can go a long way toward reducing your dependence on artificial ingredients – and it can help save you money.
Natural Skin Care Tips:
- Begin simple – drink water: Water flushes out your cells and eliminates waste products, helping give your skin a natural glow. The best way to determine your recommended water consumption is to divide your weight (in pounds) by two. For example, a woman who weighs 135 pounds should drink 67.5 ounces, or about 8.5 glasses, of water per day.
- Get moving: A sedentary lifestyle may contribute to bloated skin, as well as acne and cellulite. Studies show that light exercise – even a walk around the block – is good for your skin.
- Avoid excess sugar and increase your intake of good fats: While sugar is known to contribute to premature aging, essential fatty acids (found in flaxseed, walnut oil and cold-water fish) fight inflammation, dry skin and acne.
- Make sure your skin care products are really natural: The terms "natural" and "all-natural" are not regulated by law, so it's up to you to find products that are free of chemicals or synthetic ingredients. Watch out for ingredients you can't pronounce, and steer clear of anything that includes 1,4-dioxane, aluminum chlorohydrate, ammonia, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, lead actetate, hydroquinone, mercury, nanoparticles, parabens, petroleum, triclosan or toluene.
- Packaging matters: Glass containers, which do not transfer chemicals to the contained product, are the safest packaging for skin care products. The plastics polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are generally considered safe, but you're best to pass up polycarbonate or polyvinyl chloride.
Another great way to take care of your skin is with homemade, 100% natural skin care treatments. Bonus: these easy-to-make products are also easy on the wallet!
- Body scrub: Combine 1/4 cup raw sugar, 1 cup grapeseed oil, and 1/4 cup grated lemon peel; add a few drops of vitamin E in if you have it handy. Gently rub all over you body, especially on areas of dry skin. Rinse with water, but don't wash off with soap, as the grapeseed oil will provide moisture throughout the day.
- Facial cleanser: Add 1/2 cup oatmeal to yogurt and form a paste. Gently apply on your face, avoiding eyes and wash with warm water.
- Fight acne: Apply a tiny amount of tea tree or calendula oil directly to any facial blemish, and leave overnight. Alternatively, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your daily moisturizer and apply as usual.
- Skin toner: Combine 3 1/2 cups witch hazel, 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 1/2 cup dried rose petals in a food processor; strain mixture. Apply the resulting liquid to your face directly after washing.
- Lotion: In a blender, mix 1/2 cup distilled water, 1/2 cup olive or almond oil, a few drops of vitamin E oil and 1 tablespoon liquid lecithin. Feel free to mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil to produce a scented lotion.