Is DIY skin care really the solution to the nasty chemicals found in our personal care supply?
As a health coach and everyday user of therapeutic grade essential oils, you'd think that I would be 100% behind DIY skincare! Here's what I've found out...
Why we love DIY skin care so much.
Radiant, glowing skin made with a handful of cheap ingredients you've already got in your pantry?
As more people are suffering adverse reactions and "side" affects, skin conditions, respiratory problems and chronic diseases we are all looking for the cause.
Sadly, government regulatory bodies (like the FDA) are not exercising any precautionary measures where cosmetic use is concerned.
Its a scary statistic, but less than 20% of chemical ingredients in personal care products have actually been tested for safety.
Personally, I would much rather get this OUT of my life as much as I can before the research comes out about which ones are harmful.
Some of the most common nasties to avoid
Here's just a handful of the most common chemical agents you'll find in nearly every supermarket, chemist or even beauty salon beauty product:
- Sodium Laurel Sulphate are found in body wash, facial cleanser, foundation, hair colour & bleach, shampoo, teeth whitener, toothpaste. This can penetrate the skin and accumulate in vital organs, irritate and cause contact dermatitis, cause or aggravate acne, cause skin dryness. It is also connected to liver toxicity and is toxic to aquatic organisms.
- Parabens are found in conditioner, lipstick, liquid hand soap, shampoo, sunscreen and toothpaste. They are linked to contact dermatitis and skin irritation and suspected skin or sense organ toxicity. Additionally, endocrine (hormone system) disruption and wildlife & environmental toxicity.
- Fragrance aka parfum which is found in most cosmetic & household products. Allergic reactions, asthma, suspected immune and neurotoxicity.
- Triclosan is found in deodorants, facial cleanser, liquid hand soap and toothpaste, is petroleum derived and restricted in cosmetics in Japan and Canada. Allergic reactions, may be contaminated with chloroform and dioxin, skin, eye and lung irritation, suspect skin, sense organ and immunotoxicity. Wildlife & environmental toxicity.
- Formaldehdye which is found in nail polish and nail treatments. Asthma, human skin toxicity, recognised carcinogen (cancer-causing), sensitisation, suspected liver, respiratory, reproductive, immuno and neurotoxicity.
- Toluene is also found in nail polish and nail treatments. Recognised developmental toxicity, skin irritation, suspected cardiovascular, respiratory, immuno, kidney, reproductive, liver and neurotoxicity. Wildlife and enviromental toxicity.
SHOCKINGLY, all of these ingredients can be found in so-called 'Natural,' 'Organic' and 'Sensitive' labelled products. These 3 words have no legal meaning so can literally be slapped on the packaging of any product without implication.
Why DIY skin care may not be the solution we are searching for...
The idea of saving pennies and using basic pantry ingredients as a stand-in for your everyday skin care might seem super appealing. However not all DIY ingredients are safe, and *shock horror* not all online beauty gurus have qualifications to dish out skin care recipes.
Additionally, most don't account for bio-individuality in skin type or environmental influences.
3 reasons to AVOID DIY Skincare
Many DIY skincare recipes are found on blogs based in the USA, where ingredients may be cheap. Unfortunately though, here in Australia sourcing organic high quality unadulterated skin care ingredients means ordering online and buying in bulk. The ingredients that have the most effect are often hard to source and really expensive, especially once you add freight!
- Secondly, your skin (just like the rest of your body) is different for everyone. This means, if you order all the ingredients in bulk, follow the directions and then discover its not right for you - then you have just wasted a tonne of money and energy!
Not to mention the short shelf-life of food-based skincare products made at home. You are forever making new batches because it just doesn't last (think avocado face masks)
- Finally, you can never be completely sure that your DIY solution is properly balanced, or includes the nutrients that your skin needs. This becomes even more of an issue if you're substituting ingredients, or skipping some entirely (perhaps they're more expensive?).
The good news: You Don't Actually NEED to Make Your Own
Healthy living is about balance and picking your battles. Unlike our food supply, when it comes to skincare, there are legitimately GOOD products available. So, while you need to continue taking shifts in the kitchen to prepare good food, you do not need to spend your time and energy creating DIY skincare products.
While I do love a good honey & cinnamon mask, olive oil/sugar scrub - I just don't have the time to make those up all the time so they are an occasional treat.
NEVER Put these DIY Skincare ingredients on your FACE:
(as outlined by a dermatologist )
- Using Apple Cider Vinegar as a toner undiluted. ACV is highly acidic outside the body and can irritate the skin after just one use. It may dry out the skin and change the delicate pH balance of your skin. Diluted ACV is Ok, but with a concentration of 20% or LESS.
- Exfoliating the face with sugar, salt, coffee grinds etc - these particles have jagged edges that may cause tiny lacerations that may be invisible to the naked eye. The skin on your body is much thicker and tougher, so an oil & sugar scrub may be OK to use on arms and legs (gently!) but avoid sensitive areas.
- Using cinnamon in scrubs or washes - "It may taste sweet on your buns, but it can wreak havoc on your face. We're talking irritation, blisters, and in some cases, even burns. You might as well just use pepper — you'd get the same results."
- Using lemon to lighten skin - Citrus oils increase your photosensitivity (so you'll burn & blister in the sun!). If thats not enough to deter you from lemons, consider that it has a pH of 2 outside the body. Just like ACV, it can drastically impact the natural pH balance of your skin and cause dryness, irritation and "eat away our protective barrier".
Skin care from the INSIDE out
[Full disclosure: this is an affiliate post, if you make a purchase through the links on this page I will get a small commission]
Before spending money on what goes ON your skin, look at what is going IN your body. For me, fixing my diet and supporting my hormones from the inside had the biggest impact. Secondly, address the skin care products you have and how you use them. Even the nicest, organic, fresh and genuine natural product will cause irritation and redness if you're scrubbing away at your face like you are sanding a table.
A few quick tips to improve your complexion from the inside out:
- Avoid sugary, processed junk food
- Get enough beauty sleep
- Address your stress
- Wear minimal makeup
- Don't overdo the exfoliating
- Balance your hormones
My favourite Skin Care Range - Skin Juice
I first came across Skin Juice when I was given a voucher for a facial at @EcoBeautyLounge and I LOVED IT. I have been sourcing my products through Tierney at Eco Beauty Lounge for the last 2 years and will continue to do so. It has finally helped me get my skin properly under control after 15+ years of facial blemishes, redness, dry/oily/general crappiness.
Several of my nearest and dearest are also using Skin Juice with success at all different life stages; teenagers to menopause, pregnancy, breastfeeding - theres even a range for the men that has stopped shaving rash, redness and blemishes.
What is Skin Juice?
In 1996 an Aussie beauty salon owner started looking for a product range that matched her company ethos. She was unable to find any that were truly honest and genuinely natural, so she founded the Australian range "Skin Juice." Her existing clientele became her first 'guinea pigs' and the rest is history. Read more about Skin Juice the company here.
Skin Juice is the "Superfood diet for your skin..."
- Free from nasty artificial ingredients, sweeteners & fillers
- Designed around fruits of nature, nourishing your skin with the same nutrients in your food
- Naturally balance, hydrate, protect & nourish
- Cater for & genuinely support all skin types
- Pregnancy skin care specialist products
- Easy to find your perfect match using onlineSkin Type Guide
Check out the Skin Juice range & Skin Type Guide here: www.skinjuice.com.au
**If you're in Alice Springs - see Tierney at Eco Beauty Lounge, she'll provide product recommendations and has a juicy menu of amazing facials & treatments** @EcoBeautyLounge
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- Skin Juice -www.skinjuice.com.au
- The Dermatology Review (http://www.thedermreview.com/cosmetic-ingredients/)
- Chemical Maze iPhone application (website: http://chemicalmaze.com/)