The natural skincare solution:
“Mum, she won’t stop scratching, she’s made it bleed” came the tattle-tail call from my eldest. This was not long before my transition to natural skincare. “It’s poorly, magic kiss mummy” My youngest was only 3. Yet again, the Keratosis she’s had since birth on her arms and legs had flared into an angry red raw rash. Yet again, I was at a loss as to what had caused it.
I had cut her nails short and filled them but she was so itchy she was still managing to make herself bleed. She’d had antihistamines, paracetamol, ibuprofen, and so many lotions and potions I’d lost count. A friend of mine also had a 3yr old who suffered from awful eczema. This was one of those weekends that they were both at it and I just couldn’t bare it anymore! Watching one three-year-old suffer is awful, watching two is unbearable!
It became my new mission, I’d run out of ideas from the supermarket shelves so decided to hit the internet. To say we weren’t alone was an understatement! I found blog after blog talking about how they had healed a multitude of skin concerns. They all had one thing in common. . . Making the change to natural skincare!
Why your skin is so important:
Let’s start by saying, your skin is the biggest organ in the human body. Not only that but it takes a lot in this day and age! Not only does it help to protect us from germs but it has many other roles as well. The skin has three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. It consists of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis.
It protects us and helps to keep us healthy by, Maintaining the balance of fluids in the body by binding in moisture when necessary and preventing moisture loss. Regulating body temperature by insulating our body, conserves heat in cold conditions, and perspires to cool the body down when it gets hot. Sensing pressure and pain by absorbing shock and alerting us to danger and guarding the whole body against external aggressors. Furthermore, our skin can not only absorb healthy nutrients but harmful chemicals too! This is why natural skincare products are so important.
So what’s in standard skincare products and why are they so bad?
I’m not going to lie, the more I researched, the worse I felt! No wonder my little lovelies were so sore! In buying all these expensive, kids-sensitive skin ranges I thought I’d been helping them but all that time I had been washing them in a cocktail of chemicals! Then I got angry. . . It is beyond me how these chemicals are not only allowed in these products but advertised as being safe and kind to our skin. Did you know that a study by the Herb Research Foundation, revealed that the skin absorbs up to 60 percent of the chemicals in products that it comes into contact with directly into the bloodstream?
So lets talk about some of the most commonly found chemicals, why they should be avoided, and why a natural skincare routine is best.
This is an umbrella word that is used to cover a wide range of different compounds including hundreds of chemicals that do not have to be listed on the label!
Mineral oil, petroleum, petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and paraffin oil:
Not only can these increase the risk of clogged pores, causing blackheads and acne, but a huge health concern with petroleum products is that they can contain 1,4-dioxane. It is an impurity, found in 22 percent of all petroleum-based cosmetics and has been found to cause cancer in animals.
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers (quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, bronopol, or imidazolidinyl urea):
This irritant can be found in nail products, hair dye, hair straighteners, false eyelash adhesives, and some shampoos. It has been linked to Cancer and can be found in nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products.
Ethanolamines (diethanolamine [DEA], monoethanolamine [MEA], and triethanolamine [TEA]):
These chemicals are found in a whole range of cosmetics including soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners and dyes, lotions, shaving creams, pharmaceutical ointments, eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, blush, make-up bases, foundations, fragrances, and sunscreens. Impurities that can appear in these chemicals, called nitrosamines, are known to cause cancers in a variety of animal species.
There’s also evidence these are a human skin toxicants. Numerous studies have classified them as respiratory and organ toxicants. Despite this, Nitrosamines are not listed on product labels!
Parabens (propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutyl-):
These are found in a huge host of products due to their use as a preservative. One study found that some men who use products containing parabens have lower sperm counts and less testosterone than men who do not use products. They have a chemical structure that’s similar to estrogen, which means they can mimic the effects of that hormone in the body. This is believed to be the reason that they have been found to spur the growth of breast cancer cells, even in tiny amounts.
Hydroquinone (or tocopheryl acetate) and other skin lighteners:
Let me start by saying, it saddens me that anyone would want to forcibly lighten their skin. All shades are beautiful from the palest white to the darkest black.
On a more technical note, these are found in certain cleansers, moisturizers, and other ‘skin-lightening’ products. Not only has it been linked to a higher risk of skin cancer, but it can cause a skin disease called ochronosis with ‘disfiguring and irreversible’ blue-black lesions on exposed skin, the Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) warns.
Oxybenzone (benzophenone), octinoxate, and homosalate:
Found in many products with SPF, these chemicals are believed to mimic hormones, causing endometriosis and posing a risk to reproductive systems. It has been linked to early puberty in girls, low sperm count, and male infertility. Furthermore, it is linked to an increase in hormone-related cancers in men and women. A study in 2008 revealed oxybenzone was found in the urine of 97 percent of people tested, so we know it’s easily absorbed. Research also shows oxybenzone can build up in fatty tissues and is linked to allergic reactions.
These are just a small percentage of the chemicals found. If I covered them all, I’d be here all day. Perhaps I shall do a future post just to cover the chemicals and their effects?
Needless to say, after reading all that I went on a mission to create my own natural skincare for my family. Apparently, this is not as easy as it would appear! I had many flops, but in the end, I found an easy base recipe that did everything I wanted. It kept our skin soft and clean whilst leaving our hair shine and free from residue. Additionally, although it hasn’t completely cured my daughter’s issues, it has calmed them right down! I’m still working on her diet to see if I can improve it further, however, no more redraw arms and legs! Yay! I also found it greatly reduced my friend’s child’s eczema. Using a foaming dispenser gives it a good amount of bubble.
380ml liquid castile soup
4 tbsp vegetable glycerin
1 tsp almond oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil (if it is for adult use, you can use a little more)
4 tbsp water
Mix all ingredients gently in a bottle with a foaming dispenser. This will last a very long time. In fact, we’ve never had a batch last long enough to go off ????. We use it for hair, body, and hand washing.