I’m not a skincare expert and do not pretend to be! But my personal experiences and studying nutrition and massage has taught me a lot about the importance of using natural, chemical-free products to reduce the toxic load on our bodies. This blog is based my personal experience and my personal preferences of products I’m currently using as part of my evening routine.

In the past, I didn’t have the best skincare routine. My evening routine basically consisted of:

  1. remove make-up – often with a face wipe or cream cleanser
  2. moisturise

The worst part is that I thought I was doing a good job because I was making the effort to remove my make-up! Ha! As I’ve since learned a healthy skincare routine takes a little more time and effort. I’ve also learnt a lot more about what’s really in our skincare products and started to choose natural and organic products where possible.

 

To help you understand why I’ve made this shift, let’s start with a bit of science…

Our skin is a living organ and it absorbs anything we put onto it. That means what we put on our skin will eventually end up in our bloodstream. Anything in the bloodstream which our body doesn’t recognise (e.g. chemicals) will cause our immune system to react and add stress to our body. The more toxins our body comes into contact with, the harder it has to work to eliminate them. Add to that the fact that our body is not just fighting the chemicals our body absorbs through the skin but also those in the food we eat and the air we breathe and we have the perfect storm to cause the body to become overwhelmed and start to shut down.

My view is that if I can lower the number of toxins my body is exposed to where I’m in control – like using natural cleaning products (see my recipe for natural anti-bacterial surface spray) and natural beauty products, the more energy and resources my body will have to process the chemicals I can’t control.

So, when I choose products to use on my skin I make sure they are free from:

Parabens – probably the most publicised of chemicals to avoid, these are found in a whole host of beauty products. Parabens are preservatives which mimic the hormone oestrogen in the body. They have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer[1], and there are on-going concerns about the impact of exogenous oestrogens like parabens on numerous hormone influenced conditions. Increasingly you’ll find products labelled as ‘paraben-free’ which is great, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t turn the packet over to check what else is on the ingredient list!

Phthalates – chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and softer, often found in lotions and moisturisers as well as perfumes and nail polish. Like Parabens, these chemicals are endocrine disrupters and although more research is required there have been links made between phthalates and increased risk of breast cancer and other hormone imbalances[2].

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – a foaming agent found in many face washes and body washes. It can disrupt the delicate balance of the skin causing dryness and even eczema but can also irritate eyes and lungs[3].

Mineral oil and Petrolatum – a by-product of the crude oil industry this is often found in creams and balms. Used in the skincare industry because it’s cheap and has a long shelf life. But it doesn’t actually have many benefits for the skin and the idea of using something which is firstly environmentally unsustainable and secondly sounds so harsh on my skin isn’t something I want to do. I mean, would you put car oil on your body??

Synthetic colours and perfumes –  I wouldn’t eat food with artificial colours or flavours in it so I don’t want to put it on my skin. Artificial and synthetic ingredients have no nutritional or health benefits and are difficult for the body to process which as I said before adds stress to the body and depletes resources which is not what we want to do.

There are many more specific chemicals and ingredients to avoid but I don’t want to overwhelm you with this blog post. If you’re interested in learning more I highly recommend The Nature of Beauty by Imelda Burke.

For now, when choosing your skincare and beauty products try to choose organic, natural brands you can trust. One great place to buy natural skincare is NutriMarket – check out their website for their full range of natural skin care products or keep reading to find out the specific products I use in my evening skincare routine.

In addition to only choosing natural products, as part of my self-care routine, I am investing more time and energy in my skincare routine itself. That includes cleansing twice, toning and moistening every evening.

Here is my current routine and the products I’m using right now:

  1. Remove make-up: I start by wetting my skin with warm water and then rubbing in a small blob of zk’in organic softening cream cleanser. I take the time to use my finger-tips to massage the cleanser all over my face and then remove using a cotton wool pad. A side note – As part of my healthy lifestyle I want to transition away from disposable cotton wool to reusable organic cotton pads so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know in the comments below.
  2. Second cleanse: once I’ve removed my make-up I go in with a second cleanse to clean my skin. I wet my skin again with warm water and then use the zk’in organic softening cream cleanser again, massaging it into my skin using my finger-tips and then rinse off with warm water or a wet face cloth. I then pat my face dry using a towel. Patting is far gentler on your delicate skin than rubbing. This cleanser took a bit of getting used to as it doesn’t ‘foam’ like most face washes I’ve used in the past but that’s because it doesn’t contain the chemical foaming agent SLS (see above for more information).
  3. Tone: next I use the zk’in organic clear skin toner. My skin is rather spot prone at the moment and this product also doubles up as a blemish treatment – just put cotton wool pad soaked with the toner onto the blemish for a few minutes. I’ll be honest I don’t make as much time to do this as I should but I’ve had positive effects when I have done it.
  4. Moisturise the final step is to moisturise my skin. For some time now I’ve been using a facial oil on my skin rather than a cream moisturiser or night cream in the evening as someone once told me the oil allows the skin to breathe more than a heavy cream moisturiser. Over the past few months I’ve developed my own homemade evening facial oil which combines:

Argan oil – a base oil made from nuts which is rich in vitamin A, E, antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid which all help to reduce inflammation and promote repair. It’s absorbed quickly and doesn’t leave an oiling residue so your skin feels nourished but there’s no worries about grease marks on your pillow!

Vitamin E oil – a natural antioxidant, vitamin E has been shown to help promote cell renewal in the skin and reduce the effects and signs of ageing. Even though the argan oil contains vitamin E I like to add some extra to give my skin a boost.

Lavender essential oil – the perfect calming scent to use at the end an evening skincare routine as lavender helps aid a restful night’s sleep.

So those are the natural skincare products I’m using every evening to help nourish and nurture my skin from the outside in. What are your favourite natural beauty brands? Please let me know in the comments below.

[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.3027/full

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22049059   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16326419

[3] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-cunningham/dangerous-beauty-products_b_4168587.html / Burke I, The Nature of Beauty, 2016, Ebury Press, London


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