Although we usually think of the summer months as the time protect our skin from the harmful effects of the summer, the winter’s blustery winds, harsh cold, and the multitude of outdoor activities we partake in can be just as harmful. Each November, the American Academy of Dermatology reminds us to protect your skin from damage throughout the year.
One way to protect your body’s largest organ from damage is to limit the number of toxins in your lotions, soaps, anti-bacterials, and other products. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a national coalition effort of health and environmental groups, working together to raise awareness about the harms associated with ingredients found in these products. The Campaign’s goal is to protect consumers’ health, by requiring the health and beauty industries to eliminate chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and other serious health concerns- and replace them with safer alternatives.
When buying a product that is to be applied to the skin, many would like to know the level of toxicity without reading complicated ingredient labels. The Skin Deep database was developed so that consumers could review ingredients found in thousands of name-brand personal care products. On the site, the ingredients found in a body care product are cross-referenced with various toxicity databases. The personal care product is then given a hazard rating ‘score’ after evaluating its total toxicity. A score of 10 means the product is found to contain highly toxic ingredients, even known human carcinogens, and the consumer should opt to use a lower-toxicity rated product. A score of 0 means the product has no concerning ingredients, and is likely made from plant-based or food-based ingredients, like a sugar scrub.
If you are interested in limiting the toxins on your skin, try the below home recipes. Remember, there are NO preservatives in these recipes, so keep these tips in mind to avoid bacterial contamination
- Avoid touching products, like lip balms, with your fingers- use a cotton swab to apply
- Separate mixtures into containers to make recipe last longer and avoid water/bacteria contamination
- Store products in refrigerator and use within 2 weeks, unless stated otherwise
- Oil/sugar based scrubs divided into containers can last for months
- Some products may be an irritant to you, as every person has specific allergens, so modify as needed
Cleansing and Exfoliating Scrub
This scrub is used to stimulate and improve circulation to the slough, rub off dead cells and make your skin shine.
- 1 cup oats (finely ground)
- 2 cups white clay (cosmetic grade)
- ¼ cup almonds (finely ground)
- 1/8 cup lavender
- 1/8 cup roses or chamomile- optional
Prep: Grind the individual ingredients in a coffee or nut grinder- mix together with clay. Store dry. Moisten a small amount of exfoliant in the palm of your hand, apply to face and gently rub over face and neck. Rinse.
Peaches and Cream Moisturizing Lotion
This lotion is full of calcium and will leave you feeling soft and fresh.
- 1 peach (very ripe)
- Fresh cream
Prep: Peel and mash one peach. Strain through a sieve to extract all the juice. Mix peach juice with an equal quantity of fresh cream. Apply to desired area(s) and leave for 10-15 minutes, then rinse.
Oil will leave you feeling smooth and silky- a great alternative to shave gel.
- Oil- Olive, Argan, Coconut, Jojoba
Prep: Put desired amount of oil on body on areas to be shaved. These oils are compatible with skin, so they will not clog pores. Rinse when finished shaving.
*Special thanks to Katie Kelly from Clean New York and Cedar Spring Herb Farm for sharing these natural recipes.