# Stay Hydrated
Keeping your skin moist is essential to skin protection. Skin that is properly hydrated retains pliability and prevents chapped skin or scaly, flaky skin:
- Drink lots of water. This is key to hydrating your skin.
- Use the right moisturizing cream or lotion for your skin type and apply it right after drying off from your bath or shower. Avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this ingredient removes natural oils needed by your skin.
- Take warm (not hot) showers or baths, and limit them to between 5 and 10 minutes. It seems counterintuitive, but exposure to water actually dries out your skin. If dry skin persists, consider cutting back on the number of baths you take.
# Limit Sun Exposure
You’ve heard the message a zillion times, and there’s good reason for that unrelenting repetition. Ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun cause many types of skin damage:
- Skin cancer
- Age spots
- Benign growths
Using skin care products that offer ultraviolet protection is one of the best ways to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful:
- Use sunscreen every day and reapply regularly whenever you’re outdoors for extended periods.
- Cover skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats.
- Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Keep in mind that tanning beds are just as harmful as direct sunlight, as they also emit ultraviolet rays.
# Take Health Precautions
Cold sores are caused by a viral infection of the skin bordering the lips, while bacteria can contribute to acne and other skin conditions. Practicing skin protection means paying close attention to what touches your skin, to lower your chances of exposure to germs:
- Don’t share any personal items, such as lip balms or toothbrushes.
- Don’t share drinks with other people.
- Avoid touching your face with your fingers or with objects like telephone receivers that have been used by others.
# Use Gentle Skin Care
Washing your face is important to remove dirt, oils, germs, and dead cells. However, scrubbing your face causes irritation that can lead to chapped skin that, in turn, can leave skin vulnerable. For best results, you should:
- Wash your face twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.
- Gently massage your face with a washcloth, using a circular motion.
- Rinse thoroughly after washing to remove all soap and debris.
- Pat your skin dry — don’t rub — then apply your facial moisturizer.
# Know Your Skin
Pay attention to odd freckles, moles, and growths on your skin, and consult your doctor if you notice any changes. For example, a change in a mole can indicate potential skin cancer. Be sure to treat any cuts that may occur to prevent infection. Other skin conditions that merit a dermatologist visit include frequent acne, inflamed or irritated dry skin, and skin rashes and irritations that don’t go away, as these could be signs of one of the many types of dermatitis, or skin inflammation.
With proper skin care to pamper skin from the outside and with a good diet to nourish from within, skin protection comes down to a few simple steps. But should you ever notice any problems, get medical attention to resolve them quickly and avoid putting your skin at risk.
How often do we wake up with less-than-perfect skin? These everyday problems, including redness, dryness, and overnight blemishes, may only take hours to form, but they take days to treat. While a salon facial may be just what you’d like to give your skin, your wallet doesn’t always cooperate. And unfortunately, over-the-counter products don’t have the same effect. “Many of these [OTC] treatments contain harsh chemicals that could be doing you and your skin more harm than good,” says New York-based dermatologist David Bank, M.D. “Studies have shown that you can take care of your skin with natural ingredients found at home.” Solve all of your skincare needs with these DIY fixes.
# OILY SKIN
“Excess oil on the face leads to blemishes and pimples,” says Bank. “Banana contains zinc and vitamin C, which help fight and treat acne and control your skin’s natural oils.” The mask serves as the perfect acne prevention.
Try it: Mash one fully ripe banana, two tablespoons honey, and a few drops lemon juice together in a bowl. Apply to the face, and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth, and pat dry.
“[This] mask is an amazing way to gently exfoliate your skin,” says Kimberly Smith, an aesthetician at Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics in Scottsdale, Arizona. Because raw honey has anti-inflammatory benefits, it calms inflamed blemishes.
Try it: Mix one tablespoon organic canned pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling), a half-teaspoon organic full-fat cream or buttermilk, and one teaspoon raw honey. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
— ASPIRIN FACE MASK
“This face mask is meant specifically for treating pimples or for soothing the irritation caused by them,” says Bank.
Try it: Crush one to three aspirin pills (or more if you need more coverage) in a small dish, and mix in just enough water to turn the powder into a paste. Add a few drops of warmed honey. Apply the mixture to your face, and let it sit until it dries (about 10 minutes), then wash off.
“This mask is particularly good for acne-prone skin, but it will revitalize any skin type,” says Smith. “In addition to plum being a good source of vitamins A, C, E, K, and B complex, they are also rich in beta carotene, iron, potassium, and magnesium.” When applied topically, plums “protect our cells from inflammation caused by free radicals and decrease the loss of elasticity that makes skin sag. People who suffer from acne also benefit because it helps to normalize oil production and revitalize dull, uneven-looking skin.”
Try it: Puree three to four ripe plums, and mix with a half-teaspoon turmeric, one tablespoon raw honey, and one tablespoon organic Greek yogurt. Massage onto the skin, and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
# DRY SKIN
“Avocados are filed with fatty acids and vitamins that hydrate the skin’s cells, lock in moisture, and heal dry and flaky skin,” says Bank. Aloe Vera is known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Try it: Mash half an avocado in a bowl. Mix in two tablespoons aloe vera gel, one tablespoon dry oatmeal, and one tablespoon warmed honey. Apply the mixture to clean, dry skin, and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and a warm washcloth.
— HONEY-SPIKED LOTION
“An easy thing to do is to add a little raw honey to any moisturizer,” says Smith. “It will make it hydrate better because honey is a natural humectant.” Humectants are key ingredients in many creams and cleansers because they hold onto moisture. “Do not add too much, or it can make it too sticky.”
Try it: Just mix a couple of drops of honey into your regular moisturizer before applying.
# RED SKIN
“These two ingredients can significantly reduce inflammation,” says Bank.
Try it: Mix together one cup cooked oatmeal with a finely chopped cucumber. Apply the mixture to your face for 20 minutes, and then rinse with a warm washcloth.
Nailing your foundation is key to pulling off any makeup look, yet this first essential step can be the trickiest of all to master. So we asked Sandy Linter, celebrity makeup artist at New York City’s Rita Hazan Salon and Lancôme beauty expert, where we most often go wrong, as well as how to make it right. Here, five ways you may be messing up :
# Using the Wrong Consistency
Whatever kind you use, foundation should seamlessly blend into skin when you apply it, says Linter. That way, you get coverage without heaviness, and the finish appears natural. For dry types, powder formulations can settle into pores and lines, while liquids can look too wet on oily skin. Linter finds that creamy textures often hit the right note of providing flattering coverage with a natural finish on most. This takes some experimentation to find out what looks best on your skin type.
# Matching Color Exactly
“Many women get color matched right to skin tone and are unhappy with the results, since it can end up looking too washed out,” says Linter. In these cases, going for a bit warmer of a tone (one that has yellow or golden undertones)—especially if you’re very pale or have aging skin concerns—can actually look more natural and flattering. Topping with a warm shade of blush will also help with tone correction here. If you’re tan or deeper toned, stay away from pinkish hues that can look obvious on skin in natural light.
# Concealing with Heavy Coverage
Whether it’s discoloration, blemishes, or fine lines that you want to cover, heaping on heavy foundation will actually draw attention to the difference in skin texture. “Foundation is really meant to enhance what you have or to moderately even out your complexion,” says Linter. Instead, use primers and highlighters to improve the look of discoloration and fine lines, and spot-blend concealer on blemishes instead of caking on the cover-up all over.
# Applying Everything, Everywhere
The sure way to look like you’re wearing makeup is to apply a blanket of foundation and powder to the face and to over-conceal. Linter recommends working on foundation as needed, and then going into specific areas, like the under-eye and blemishes, with concealer. Blending with the warmth of your finger marries concealer more naturally into skin. Finish with powder only in the center of the face, where it’s truly needed; overdoing it can kill your whole look.
# Thinking Foundation Looks Aging
“Foundation has a bad rap because it’s been used incorrectly by so many, but don’t be afraid to wear it,” says Linter. The right formula evens out aging issues, like discoloration and pore size, to actually make you appear younger. Plus, other cosmetic helpers you apply—like blush, bronzer, and concealer—can blotch up and appear obvious without a good foundation as a base. The trick is to find a formula that applies smoothly and doesn’t settle into lines and pores.
Cleansers and moisturizers are the most important skin products, particularly for softening dry skin. A skin moisturizer works by sealing moisture into the outer layer of the skin and by pulling moisture from the inner layers of skin to the outer layer.
Key ingredients that seal in moisture are petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, and dimethicone. Glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, urea, and vitamins help attract water into the outer layer of the skin.
Some skin moisturizers also contain an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which exfoliates dead skin, says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation. AHAs are a good choice if you have very dry skin.
# Finding the Skin Moisturizer For You
It may take some trial and error, Halem says, so be patient. Follow these guidelines as you shop and, if you’re not getting the results you want, try a new one the next time:
- Note the first five ingredients. Look for common active ingredients, such as lanolin, glycerin, or petrolatum, Dr. Fusco says. Glycerin is less likely than lanolin to cause an allergic reaction, she says. She also recommends picking a moisturizer that’s made by a reputable company.
- Go for added sunscreen. Protecting your skin from harmful sun damage is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin looking young, so buy a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of at least 30. You’ll have to do some searching, but more companies are offering face and body moisturizers with sunscreen, Halem says.
- Make it skin-type appropriate. The skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive, so it’s a good idea to use a different moisturizer on your face than you do on your body, Fusco says and recommends buying one that’s labeled “non-comedogenic” because it won’t clog your pores. Of course, choose one that’s right for your skin type. If you know you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to look for a moisturizer labeled hypoallergenic. If you have oily skin, go with a light, oil-free moisturizer. If you have dry skin, get something richer. And if you have combination skin, go with a lighter moisturizer for your whole face and dot drier areas with a heavier cream, Fusco says. Keep in mind that you may need a lighter lotion in the summer, and a cream or ointment in the winter.
- Consider using a moisturizer with retinol before bed. Retinol is vitamin A for your skin, Halem says. It works by increasing the speed at which your skin cells turn over. You can find it over the counter or by prescription, but use it carefully as it may cause a skin irritation, red skin, or dry skin.
# Relief by Prescription
If your skin is very dry, consider a prescription moisturizer. Prescription moisturizers contain the AHA lactic acid, which softens the top layer of your skin and can do a better job if over-the-counter moisturizers aren’t working for you, Fusco says. AHAs such as lactic acid and glycolic acid can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Tell your doctor if you experience burning, irritation, red skin, itching, or a rash.
Another prescription option is a barrier cream, which contains humectants that hold on to moisture longer, Fusco says. Barrier creams penetrate a little deeper than standard moisturizers, she adds.
# When to Moisturize
Once you find the right product, moisturize every day and you’ll go a long way toward preventing dry skin and even camouflaging wrinkles. While a skin moisturizer can’t get rid of wrinkles — because wrinkles begin much deeper in the skin due to collagen loss — it can plump up the skin and minimize their appearance, Halem says.
Whichever moisturizer you choose, it will work better if you apply it to damp skin. Think about a sponge that’s dried out, Fusco says. If you put moisturizer on it, it won’t go anywhere. But if you soak the sponge in water and coat it with moisturizer, the sponge will absorb it. Your skin works the same way, happily lapping it up.
The unexpected hot weather has done what it always does – leave some Brits red-faced. Yep, you’ve got sunburn, so how do you treat it?
We all know there is nothing worse than bad sunburn, and we don’t want to scare you but while you may not care about the ageing effect it has on your skin now (it takes a minimum of 15 years for sun damage to show), the lifetime risk of melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – can double from just ONE dose of sunburn. Yikes.
So first things first let’s chill, then fight the free radical damage.
Dr Anita Sturnham, a skin expert who has worked in a private mole clinic for over 7 years in addition to working in NHS Melanoma screening centres says “sunburn can develop over a number of hours, so it’s important to act quickly at the first signs of redness”. Here are the steps to follow:
# Remove The Heat
To remove the heat resulting from sunburn you need to cool your skin immediately. Dr Anita suggests wrapping ice in a flannel and applying this to affected areas to subside the burning feeling. Follow this with a cool shower or bath – never hot! Try adding some Aromatherapy Associates Support Peppermint Bath & Shower Oil (£40/ 55ml) which will have a lovely cooling effect on the skin while the peppermint and lavender work their anti-inflammatory magic. Alternatively try fresh mint and cucumber, packed with antioxidants. Dr Anita says “with a 95% water content cucumber is very hydrating and it has natural cooling properties to take the sting out of a burn” – particularly good for the face that you can’t ‘bathe’. Either apply slices of refrigerated cucumber to your face and closed eyes for 15-20 minutes, or fill a jug of ice cold water with slices of cucumber or mint leaves infused for 20 minutes and then soak a wash cloth in the liquid and dab it on sun burnt areas.
# Soothe the Skin
You now need to lather yourself in nourishing antioxidant skincare, which can help fight free radical damage produced by exposure to radiation from the sun. Antioxidants fight free radicals by speeding up the skin’s natural repair process so eat lots of veggies and fruit, plus pick clever moisturisers. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is a wonder balm that protects and repairs irritated skin while it hydrates and soothes it. Oh, and remember to stock up on the best after sun before you jet off.
# Drink and Eat Fluids
Dr Anita says you need to drink plenty of fluids to keep the body hydrated and take this tip from Hollywood dermatologist Dr Howard Murad: “Water that is in raw fruits and vegetables is ‘structured water’ which is more efficient and has the ability to better penetrate water into our living cells. So eat your water, this way you’ll be able to stay hydrated significantly longer.”
# Cover Up
Don’t even think about getting back in your bikini! “Keep covered up from the sun until redness subsides” Dr Anita says. Burn-on-burn is not only painful but very dangerous.
# Seek Medical Advice
It goes without saying, but we will anyway: If your case of sunburn is severe, seek medical advice as soon as you can.
Annoyingly adult acne seems to be on the up, with spots affecting many of us well past our teenage, temperamental hormonal years.
And it’s not just the physical symptoms that are the problem; acne can have a huge impact on selfesteem, causing stress, anxiety, depression and can even affect personal relationships. Sufferers of acne might have spent hundreds of pounds on expensive skincare products, sought the help of a GP, tried medication or expensive supplements and paid numerous visits to dermatologists or facialists… and nothing seems to work.
“Understanding what’s happening can make it easier to unpick the problem”, Becky says, so here’s the science:
Each and every pore on your skin is actually a small opening called a follicle made up of a hair and a sebaceous or oil gland. The job of these glands is to keep skin protected by providing a kind of waterproof protective layer by secreting oil or sebum.
With acne, glands have a tendency to become blocked with excess oil, dead skin or bacteria. These blockages make it difficult for the skin to shed normally and subsequent inflammation results in painful spots.
“The environment, getting enough sun, how much water we are drinking, digestion, hormones and stress as well as the liver’s ability to do it’s job as our major detoxification factory,” our nutritionist explains, adding that “diet can help in all these departments.”
So here are some anti-inflammatory foods that could help:
It’s our number 1 source of omega 3 fats, which are a key anti-inflammatory nutrient for the skin, brain, joints and heart. “The highest quality omega 3 are found in wild oily fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon or smaller fish like mackerel, herring & sardines,” notes Becky.
# Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and kale
Or the collective title of ‘cruciferous veg’. “They all contain a compound called indole3carbinol that can help the liver to bind excess hormones and eliminate toxins,” says Becky.
# Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Or just olives on their own. These are key ingredients in the ‘Mediterranean Diet’, apparently, and a fantastic source of omega 9 fats, which have been associated with protecting the skin from sun damage.
So they’re not just fashionable, they actually do some good too! As well as being super tasty and incredibly versatile, avocados are also rich in omega 9 fats, vitamin C and vitamin A. Bingo.
The spice has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for all sorts of ailments,from pain management to nausea and digestion to immune support, plus it’s a great metabolism booster. As well as that, ginger is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that will help sort your skin right out.
# Coconut Oil
We’re told to cook with it all the time, but it could help your skin, too. “Coconut oil is a healthy type of saturated fat and a great stable oil to cook,” the nutritionist explains, adding that “it’s essential to include fats in the diet to help absorb fatsoluble the vitamins A, D, E and K.” Sounds good to us…
# Flax and chia seeds
Another favourite from the clean eating types like Deliciously Ella. According to Becky, these kind of seeds are full of fibre and omega 3 fats – so much so they’re known as ‘super seeds’ – and you can add them to pretty much anything.
Especially walnuts; they’re your ‘top nut’ for omega 3 fats. “Brazil nuts contain selenium and zinc, two of the minerals most important for a healthy functioning immune system,” says Becky.
# Pre and probiotic foods
“Prebiotic foods like artichoke, onions, garlic and asparagus feed our beneficial bacteria while probiotics in yoghurt and kefir help to combat any unwelcome bacteria and promote a healthy immune system,” our nutritionist Becky advises.
Great when paired with yoghurt, as above. “Berries are packed with ‘phytonutrients’, are low in sugar and high in vitamin C – an essential skin healing and immune system nutrient. Berries are also responsible for promoting collagen production, keeping skin plumped and healthy, so that’s an added bonus.
# Brightly coloured veg
Not only do these look great when you Instagram your dinner, but they’re another great source of vitamin C and vitamin A. “The more richly pigmented better,” says Becky, who advises us to “eat a rainbow of red peppers, aubergine, red cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark green leafy veg.
It’s not just thick manes of coarse hair that can benefit from oil; even thin, fine and easily-greasy locks can reap the rewards too. It’s just a matter of finding the right elixir for you…
# Argan Oil, best for dry hair
Hailed as liquid gold in its native Morocco, nutty argan oil kick started the UK’s hair oil obsession. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, it can help turn dry, coarse and unruly hair into softer and shinier, more manageable tresses, while cutting frizz and fly-aways too.
The ultimate multi-tasker, coconut oil can be used on all hair types (yes even greasy hair) to replenish your strands and also keep your scalp healthy. Packed full of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, coconut oil can help to build stronger strands too, making it a great weekly treatment for locks prone to breakage and slow growth.
# Macadamia Oil, best for extremely dry or damaged hair
Nut oils tend to be the most intensive, and macadamia is one of the richest available. Use it on very dry or damaged hair as a weekly mask, or to replenish your tresses after a series of heavy heat styling sessions.
# Kalahari Melon Seed Oil, best for sensitive skin
High in omega-6, the fatty acids known to boost hair growth, protein and vitamins C, B2 and G, kalahari melon seed oil is an excellent reparative oil, known to be particularly gentle on sensitive skin and scalps. If you suffer from dermatitis, psoriasis or often have itchy reactions to beauty products, this is the shine boosting hair oil for you.
# Almond Oil, best for beating dandruff
Though one of the lighter nut oils, almond oil is jam-packed with goodness. Along with antioxidants, vitamin E, fatty acids and protein, it’s also high in magnesium, which will help to boost hair growth and reduce breakage. If you suffer from irritation on your scalp, try massaging your scalp with almond oil whenever you wash your hair, to reduce inflammation, redness and dandruff.
# Baobab Oil, best for boosting growth
Fairly new to the British hair market, there’s plenty of hype surrounding baobab oil and its high vitamin content. Along with the essential fatty acids needed for deep hydration and nourishment, baobab also packs vitamins A, D, E, and F, which all combine to improve the elasticity of your locks, and encourage cell regeneration. That’s right, it can actually help your hair grow faster!
# Marula Oil, best for holiday hair
If you don’t like the nutty smell of oils like argan and macadamia, marula makes for a fruitier alternative. Nourishing and packed with vitamin C, it’s great for all hair types, but especially handy on holiday, as it’ll protect your hair from drying out in the sun.
# Abyssinian Oil, best for fine hair
Also known as organic crambe seed oil, abyssinian is intensely hydrating but extremely light in weight and texture, making it a brilliant option for thin, fine or greasy hair that can easily become lank if overloaded. The molecular structure of abyssinian oil also makes it one of the most heat resistant oils, and so perfect to use as a pre-heat styling product.
# Keep it clean. Men’s skin is approximately 15% oilier and their skin has larger pores than women which mean that your skin becomes dirty quickly. Deep cleansing is important to keep your pores clear, skin healthy and to keep you looking great. Look for a cleanser that is strong enough to cut through the grease and dirt but gentle and mild on your skin. The Y-natural 102 foaming cleanser is gentle and effectively cleans without stripping the skin of its own protective oils.
# Avoid exposure of your skin to the sun for a long time as too much exposure damages your skin and predisposes you to skin cancer. Use an effective sunscreen that contains a SPF 15 or above to protect your skin.
# It is all in the routine, only a few minutes a day is all that is necessary. Caring for your skin does not require too much time. Try not to use a harsh soap or aftershaves that will excessively dry out your skin.
# Avoid skin injury on your face when you shave. If you are using a blade to shave, be sure to cover your facial skin with a thin stream of hot water before applying a shaving product. Let it stay for few minutes on your face and allow your skin to absorb steam better. Pete shaves while he is still in the shower or if you prefer, shave in front of the mirror at the basin. Do it immediately after your shower while the pores are still open from the warm water, the hair is softer and makes for an easier shave and while the hair follicle is still soft. Shaving is actually beneficial to men; it provides a form of exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and helps the skin to regrow and renew itself. Use a gentle shaving cleanser that is effective without stripping the skin of its own protective oils.
After shaving apply an aftershave or toner that is an antiseptic, astringent and is soothing to the skin. A toner that helps to reduce sebum secretion which is beneficial to oily skin and will soothe nicks and cuts and help to restore the skin’s pH balance, plus it smells great too. Men with sensitive skin should use an aftershave or toner that is alcohol free. The pure heaven calm balm aftershave lotion helps protect and soothe the skin after shaving, and can also be used as a nourishing face moisturiser suitable for all skin types and especially suited to those with shaving rash and sensitive skin. The pure heaven shave bar is enriched with organic olive oil, skin softening shea butter, a rich creamy lather perfect for daily nourishment of your skin. The Mokosh natural shaving soap is rich in moisturising oils and has added bentonite clay to draw out impurities; it has earthy and sensuous scents of cedarwood, geranium and patchouli.
# Always Moisturize Your Face – It is very important that you keep your face moisturised, which will keep your skin healthy and soft as well. Never forget this part of your facial skin care routine, after shaving, and after you apply an aftershave, you have to moisturise your skin with a moisturiiser that doesn’t contain any form of alcohol or heavy fragrance. Heavy fragrant products irritate your skin and make your skin drier. Moisturisers with level of sun protection ingredients are also suitable. Sun damage is the number one cause of premature aging in the skin. Look for a moisturiser that contains antioxidants, that are light and fast absorbing, nourishing and healing to help prevent razor bumps. A moisturizer should also state that it is non-comedogenic. This means that the formula won’t clog the pores and cause a breakout. The Y-natural 502 Hydrate Antioxidant moisturiser also has high concentrations of potent Ginkgo biloba, rosemary leaf, olive leaf and green tea protect the skin from free radicals and other environmental factors that can cause cell damage and premature ageing – you can smell their delicious earthy goodness!
# Exfoliate your skin regularly. Exfoliating the dead skin cells present on your skin promotes good skin tone for you. It is better for you to repeat the process of exfoliation for at least 2 to 3 times in a week. The Y-natural 200 Buff marine skin polish contains natural marine extracts, healing and gentle astringents of Niaouli and Rosalina, and antibacterial, antiseptic Cypress and Geranium.
Consistency is the key to keeping skin healthy. The face should be washed once in the morning and once at night to remove the day’s dirt and grime. With diligence the skin can be dramatically improved and shaving irritation will be a thing of the past. Simply following the above skin care tips and your skin will be smooth, touchable, and smelling great.
Oil is a healthy secretion that helps lubricate the skin, just as the oils that your scalp secretes are beneficial to your hair; the sebum that your skin secretes is beneficial to your skin. But when your skin’s natural oils are removed, our bodies often compensate by producing more oil, and if your natural oils have been stripped away your skin feels dry and dehydrated.
Organic oils in cleansers contain different type of oils and these are very effective cleansing ingredients. They naturally and gently remove makeup and dirt and replace the oils in your skin with nourishing, beneficial ones. Organic cleansers also help balance sebaceous activity without depleting the skin of its natural oils. Below is a list of these super hero organic oils.
Jojoba (all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin) It is suitable as a light and gentle alternative to moisturiser for extra-sensitive, oily or problem skin, having a remarkable balancing effect upon skin, helping oily skin to become less oily and dry skin to become less dry. Jojoba is very similar to our skin’s sebum, so can be used to replenish skin that has lost sebum lost through age, sun, wind, cold and the environment.
Sweet almond (all skin types, especially oily)
Grapeseed (all skin types, especially oily)
Avocado (dry and aging skin)
Sunflower Seed (all skin types)
Olive (all skin types)
Apricot Kernel (dry, aging, and normal skin)
Argan (all skin types, especially aging skin … very pricey)
Tamanu (all skin types)
Avocado (dry, aging and normal skin).
Safflower (all skin types)
Rosehip (all skin types)
Coconut oil (sensitive, dry skin)
Macadamia oil (all skin types).
Spelt oil (dry, aging and normal skin).
# The benefits of facial oils using organic oils.
Plant oils are the closest thing to our own natural oils, so they make perfect moisturisers They also help balance skin when it gets out of wack, and unlike mineral oil won’t clog pores. Depending on your skin type, you can apply facial oil under your moisturizer for extra comfort, in place of your moisturizer, or as a supplement—just mix a few drops with your daily moisturizer. Organic facial oils are a mixture of rich carrier oils like jojoba and almond oil and added essential oils. Applying a few drops of organic facial oil into your skin every day will leave your face moisturised soft and acne-free. These formulas are light, provide your skin with a boost of hydrating nourishment, give anti-oxidant protection, and help prevent those signs of aging, fine lines and wrinkles. Certified organic facial oils are usually around 99 to 100% certified, containing no preservatives. These precious oils also acquire their unique scents by including blends of herbal and plant based essential oils. Essential oils offer various benefits for your skin and their aromas also affect your overall wellbeing and mood. Facial oils do come in small amounts but these small amounts will last you a few months as you only need two or three drops each time your massage the oil into your face.
# Using organic oils for the treatment of acne/oily skin.
The more you try to get rid of the oil on your face with harsh cleansers, creams and treatments that strip your skin of its natural oils, the more your skin works to replace them. That’s when your face turns into an extra greasy inflamed mess because it overcompensates for that lost oil. Facial oils can actually restore and, if used regularly, maintain the natural balance of oil on your skin. Facial oils actually do just the opposite of what you might expect. They reduce oiliness and breakouts, while leaving your skin with a healthy glow. Some people advocate the oil cleansing method, using olive oil, sunflower seed oil, argan, avocado, jojoba and coconut oils. It may work to clear up acne; it is done by massaging the oil into your skin and using a warm steamy face cloth to wipe your face clean.
# Oils for your health and wellbeing.
Healthy oils and fats we need to eat in moderation to keep our bodies functioning optimally. These supply essential fatty acids important for brain and nerve function, cardiovascular health and clear, radiant skin. Tasty items like nuts, avocado, olive oil and coconut into our diet. I have a salad dressing with a mixture of extra virgin sesame oil with apple cider vinegar and mixed herbs. I also take krill oil (not vegan) as a supplement every day, chai seeds and linseeds are also great healthy oils.
Many customers associate alcohol with skin dryness, itching and irritation, but contrary to the popular belief, not all alcohols are created equal. In fact, some of them are actually good for the skin. Alcohols are organic ingredients which contain C-OH or hydroxyl group in their molecular structure. There are many varieties of alcohols with vastly different properties.
Alcohols to avoid.
Below is a list of alcohols, they are generally good solvents with antibacterial, antiseptic and astringent properties. They quickly evaporate from the skin’s surface, robbing it of water, which may lead to skin dryness and irritation. The purpose of these are to inhibit microbial growths and extend shelf life . . . even though there are known allergic and toxic effects and even though these chemicals are suspected of being hormone disruptors.
– SD alcohol or super denaturated alcohol
– Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol
– Isopropyl Alcohol- Isopropanol is derivative of petroleum and is used in antifreeze as well as a host of other consumer products such as paint thinners and household cleaning products and disinfectants. It is easily absorbed through the skin and is twice as toxic as ethanol. The vapour is also dangerous. The side effects of inhalation of isopropanol include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, and even narcosis and coma.
– Amyl alcohol
– Alcohol denat or Denatured alcohol
– Methanol or methyl alcohol.
– Propyl alcohol,
Isopropyl Alcohol or Isopropanol is extensively used in surgical swabs where it acts as an antiseptic. Ethanol can be found in hand sanitisers and a variety of skin care products, particularly perfumes, toners, aftershaves, some sunscreens and less often, in creams and lotions. It is usually listed on the label as Ethanol or Ethyl Alcohol or SD Alcohol or Alcohol denat. If these ingredients are found at the top of the ingredients list on the label, it is very likely that the product will be extremely drying on the skin.
Note on Benzyl alcohol.
Benzyl alcohol is an aromatic alcohol that occurs naturally in e.g. Strawberries and essential oils and is often an ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. Benzyl alcohol kills or inhibits the growth of a broad spectrum of bacteria, yeasts and mould and can be used for conservation of all water-containing products. This alcohol is usually found at the end of an ingredient list.
Alcohols That Are Good
There are cosmetic alcohols that are actually very beneficial for the skin. Also known as fatty alcohols, they help skin care formulations to act as efficient skin care products. Fatty alcohols may function as emollients or humectants to moisturize skin. They may also possess cleansing properties and may be added to formulations to thicken them. Examples of good alcohols are Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol and Behenyl Alcohol. They are waxy oil-soluble ingredients mainly derived from coconut oil.
Another example is vitamin based alcohols, such as Retinol (Vitamin A), Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Panthenol (Vitamin B5). These are “good” alcohols to have in your skin care products, although some people may experience sensitivity to them. These are skin moisturisers.
Certified organic skincare ranges that contain good alcohols use alcohol ingredients that are sourced from natural plant sources and are not synthetic.
Note on Lanolin alcohol=Lanolin alcohol is obtained by processing wool fat. It helps to create stable oil in water emulsion, soften and nourish the skin.
Note on Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virgiana) – improves skin tone, helps restore circulation, soothes inflamed skin and fights broken capillaries. Witch hazel works as an astringent and anti-inflammatory and is great for tried, sluggish, oily, dry, and infected skin.
Whether you have dry, normal or oily hair, there are some key ways you can look after your hair.
# You are what you eat
We’ve heard it all before, but nutrition is key when it comes to healthy, shiny hair. Why? Because hair not only depends on a constant supply of blood and oxygen, but also nutrients, and a deficiency in these nutrients will show up on your skin, hair and nails. Brittle, dry or dull hair that easily breaks is therefore a tell-tale sign of poor nutrition. Eating protein three to five times a week will help maintain hair colour and texture, while keeping a close check on sugar levels will also help – high sugar consumption creates a higher demand for B group vitamins, which can also affect your locks. On top of this, an imbalance between good and bad fat consumption can either lead to an overly dry and flaky scalp and dry hair or excessive oil production. Correcting the imbalance will help to normalise the health of the scalp and the relative dryness or oiliness of the hair.
# It’s all in the suds
The type of surfactant in your shampoos may also be wrecking havoc with your locks – those containing sodium or ammonium lauryl sulphate contribute to irritated and dry scalp and hair issues. Softer surfactants such as decyl glucoside and coco glucoside or coco betaine are better choices.
# Simple styling
Try to avoid conditioners and stying products containing added silica as this will build up on the hair shaft and create ‘artificially’ shiny and silky hair. These products also increase the need to wash hair, which in turn dries the hair out, creating a cycle of poor hair management and ultimately poor hair health.
Blow-drying or straightening your hair, if done excessively, can also cause damage, weakening the hair shaft. The less you dry and straighten, the better the hair condition will be. In conventional styling products synthetic plastics such as PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone polymer), acrylic copolymers, VA (vinyl acetate), polymer and acrylamide polymer are used as holding agents, all of which are synthetic petroleum-based plastics. While these may not be specifically damaging to your hair, they are not environmentally friendly and are easily absorbed through the scalp, contributing to the total toxic load your body has to deal with. Instead look for natural products containing beeswax or coconut oil and sugar biopolymer-based products instead of hair spray or mousse. The natural wax products will also help to keep the hair shaft moisturised.
# Wash less often
Most people wash their hair too often, stripping back the protective oils from the scalp and hair. If your scalp is dry or itchy try waiting an extra day before washing, allowing the sebum to protect the scalp for longer. Washing twice weekly for normal to dry hair is a good benchmark – obviously oily hair needs to be washed more frequently.
Acne is a skin disorder common to many teenagers living in the Western World and in the last 20 years, an increasing number of adults. An inflammatory disease of the skin, the most common symptoms of acne include pimples, comedones, whiteheads blackheads, pustules, cysts and scars.
The development of acne is multifactorial with a number of causes and exacerbating factors contributing to the onset and persistence of the condition.
Sex Hormones – High androgen production is one of the key reasons acne tends to flare up at puberty or with the menstrual cycle. Androgens stimulate the production of sebum in the skin’s oil glands. Oil glands that are blocked by dead skin cells build up sebum creating swelling. Sebum production can also be stimulated by sweat and humidity.
Bacteria – A bacteria species Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is commonly found in the pores of the skin. Under normal circumstances P. acnes is in balance with the skin environment however when stimulated by factors such as excess sebum and pore congestion the environment is ideal for bacterial growth. Overgrowth of P. acnes triggers an inflammatory response, leading to pustules.
Cosmetics and medications – Contact with oily substances such as mineral oil, rich creams or make up and petroleum based products can trigger or exacerbate acne. Cosmetics can also cause skin irritation which may flare-up acne. Certain medication such as steroids can also stimulate acne production.
Stress – There is some indication that stress can exacerbate acne by disrupting hormone levels and suppressing the immune system.
Dietary Factors – There are a number of links between diet and acne. Diets high in trans fats, simple carbohydrates and sugars promote inflammation in the body, which aggravates acne. A high glycemic index (GI) diet is also associated with insulin resistance and increased production of androgens.
Insulin levels – High insulin levels occur when the cells that usually take glucose up from the blood become resistant to its effects. The pancreas responds by producing more insulin creating a cycle that can lead to an increase in acne, as well as weight gain and hormone imbalances.
Nutritional Deficiencies – Zinc, Essential Fatty Acids and vitamin A are important skin nutrients. Deficiencies in any one of these can lead to skin problems. Skin that is dry and inflamed or congested with whiteheads or blackheads may be deficient in EFAs. Skin deficient in zinc can scar very easily which is often the case in chronic acne. Adequate levels of zinc in the skin will help with skin repair and reduce ongoing scarring. Acne and rough or thick skin are also possible signs of a vitamin A deficiency.
Conventional treatment for acne ranges from medicated washes to medications such as Roaccutane. Ingredients found in over the counter medications are either aimed at reducing P. acnes, degreasing the skin or reducing skin shedding. While they may be effective in some cases, many of these treatments have potential side effects such as skin dryness and are only treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the condition.
Skin Hygiene & Topical Treatments
Skin hygiene is paramount when it comes to managing acne. Frequent touching the site of acne can lead to P. acne being transferred to other sites on the face or body. Picking or squeezing blemishes or blackheads can lead to scarring. Good hygiene practices help to minimise irritation, scarring and bacterial transfer. Some useful skin-care suggestions to help minimise acne include:
Wash your face once or twice a day.
- Washing at night helps to remove environmental grime, oil secretions, creams and make up. Washing in the morning removes debris and dead skin cells produced during the night.
- Use a mild natural soap or foaming cleanser that won’t dry the skin out. If your skin feels tight or dry after washing it is an indication that the skin’s protective barrier has been significantly disrupted. This can lead to over production of sebum (oiliness).
Wash your hands before touching your skin to reduce the chance of infection.
Don’t pick or squeeze pimples as it can spread bacteria under the skin and cause skin damage, increasing the likelihood of scarring.
If you have oily hair or pimples around your hairline, wash your hair daily.
Avoid make up or face creams that are greasy or oily.
- Look for light or gel products that support skin healing. Natural ingredients such as Aloe vera, Calendula, Lavender, Chamomile, Rose geranium & Cedarwood essential oils and Manuka honey can assist with skin healing, reduce sebum production and inflammation.
- Facial products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate, socetyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate,sodium chloride and parabens may increase irritation, dryness and contribute to acne.
- Mineral Make Up is ideal to cover up the redness and irritation associated with acne as they don’t sink into and clog the pores.
A recent Australian trial conducted at RMIT University, Melbourne, has shown that a low glycaemic index (GI), high protein dietimproved symptoms of acne including the number of facial lesions. It also reduced the causative factors associated with acne such as high androgen levels and insulin resistance. The diet consisted of 25% of energy from protein and 45% of energy from low GI carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses.
Interestingly acne is seen as a condition associated with Western diets that are generally higher in saturated and trans-fats, high in simple carbohydrates and sugars and lower in healthy protein sources. Acne vulgaris is seen in up to 79-95% of the adolescent population in Westernised countries. Non-Western diets, which are traditionally high in low glycaemic foods, do not have the same association.
Dietary recommendations that will support skin health, help to normalise hormone balance and reduce sebum production include:
Consume Fish regularly: Fish is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids. Protein is important for skin healing. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) help to keep skin flexible and hydrated as well as promoting skin healing. Deep Sea fish are the best source of EFAs including tuna, salmon, anchovies and sardines. A fish oil supplement may be a good idea if fish intake is less thank twice a week.
Eat Lean Animal Protein: Lean red meat and organic chicken are good sources of valuable protein that is essential for skin healing and repair.
A palm size serve of animal protein 2-3 times a week will help support skin health.
Eat plenty of Fresh Vegetables: Vegetables are low GI and full of antioxidants and trace nutrients that help to heal and repair the skin. Betacarotene (a precursor to vitamin A) is found in vegetables including carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, green leafy vegetables and red capsicum. Regular fruit consumption is also important.
Purified Water: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Water promotes healthy digestive habits and helps to flush toxins out of your body. Water is also essential to keep your skin well hydrated.
Go for Whole Grains & Legumes: Whole grains are rich in fibre, low GI and nutrients. This promotes sustained release energy and reduces inflammation. Zinc, important for skin healing, is found in whole grains along with sunflower & pumpkin seeds, beef, egg yolks, ginger and lamb.
Foods to Avoid
Processed Foods & Sugar: Foods high in sugar increase the body’s production of insulin, promote inflammation and can cause or exacerbate acne. Ensure that the following foods make up no more than 10% of the diet: cakes, lollies, processed flour products, white bread, white rice (with the exception of Basmati), fruit juices, baked goods, and trans or hydrogenated fats.
Soft drinks & diet soft drinks: Soft drinks are full of sugar and often caffeine. The phosphorus and sodium in soft drinks can lead to skin drying and the carbonate can cause digestive disorders. Drink water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices instead.
Dairy: There is some research that suggests that a high consumption of milk and dairy products may be linked with acne. One study reported in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology showed that milk was positively associated with acne in teenage girls. Suitable milk substitutes may include soymilk, rice milk, almond milk and fresh goat’s milk.