Back to nature beauty care and what to avoid by Primrose Matheson

We are becoming far more familiar now with the importance of healthy nutritious food that often skincare can be seen as something separate and less important. The trouble is what we put on our skin is in many ways more important as we absorb 90% of it and unlike what we eat which has the enzymes in our saliva and digestive system to break it down it is absorbed straight into the bloodstream on your skin.

As an advocate of the naturopathic lifestyle which is a holistic approach I think its important to try and reduce all areas of toxicity in our lives.

Having always had sensitive skin and a tendency to spots I have always been looking for the best natural skin products that I could find. In the past I was encouraged to use cleansers that stripped my face of natural oils and these were actually encouraging the problems I was trying to deal with.  While spending a day with Dr Hauskhka I began to see the “homeopathic” approach to this. For oily skin they actually had an oil product that you put on at night.  It seems a bit bizarre to add more oil  but this is the homeopathic approach, matching like with like. When your skin realises it has enough oil on its skin it no longer needs to keep producing more and balance occurs. This is one example but helps us to see that we can often perceive situations very differently to how they are and sometimes the solution is therefore the opposite of what we might have thought. This is why its so important to be open minded about everything. We only know a very small amount about anything and that small amount is actually always changing and evolving so you could say we don’t know anything, it is all just theories.

Back to the skincare products.

We are so used to our classic skincare brands and have learnt to trust them that often we fail to see the mass of industrial cleaners and chemicals they contain.

The skincare market is largely unregulated with a small approval process and often the companies do not know the long term effects of their use. For years they have used ingredients which we are all beginning to have problems with such as dermatitis and eczema.

The key is recognising the main culprits which unfortunately are found in a lot of the standard products in our bathroom cupboard like toothpaste or shampoo and should ideally be avoided and replace them.

Parabens– Used as preservatives they mimic oestrogen in the body and have been linked to  breast cancer and hormonal disruption. They are found in lip salve brands and are in fact drying over time which means you have to continually reapply!

Sodium-Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) – Is an industrial cleaning fluid used in thousands of products from shampoo to toothpaste that derives from coconut but is in fact contaminated with a dioxane in the manufacturing process that makes it very carcinogenic. SLS is known to cause skin, lung and eye irritation.

Formaldehyde– Another preservative it is a known carcinogenic and found in shampoo, conditioners and cleansers etc.

Propylene Glycol– Is an alcohol that is commonly used as a a skin conditioner and it tends to cause dermatitis. Often found in hairspray, conditioners, shampoo, moisturisers and sunscreen.

Sunscreen chemicals– There is no research into the long term effects of using sunscreen. The chemicals they use in them to block UV also disrupt the endocrine system and are thought to be absorbed dry easily into the body causing long term cell damage and ironically cancer. The names of some of these chemicals are PABA, benzophenone, avobenzone and ethoxycinnmate.

Phthalates– Chemicals used in things like nail varnish to increase the softness and flexibility of plastics. They are endocrine disruptors and linked to breast cancers. Often they are not even labelled on the products and instead come under the word “fragrance”.

The rule is if you can’t pronounce it and certainly don’t recognise it, try to avoid it!

As with diets,  making the changes to your skincare routine and educating yourself on the products you buy is down to you. In the words of Emo Laszlo ” Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle”. We need to remember our health on all levels requires our responsibility and dedication until it becomes habit!

At the end we all have different skin types and you need to fid out what is right for YOU.

Great brands to look out for our Dr Haushka, Barefoot botanicals, weleda,Suki, REN, Pai,  hurraw lip balms .

If you live in London Content Wellbeing is a great store for finding natural skincare and makeup and they also do fantastic natural massages!

Here is a quick and easy natural exfoliator recipe you can make at home

Almond, oat and lavender exfoliator

It can be used on your face or body.

Combine equal parts of whole almonds and porridge oats in a blender until  quite fine.

Add 5 drops of lavender oil.

Add enough water to create a solid paste

Apply in circular movements.






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