The Best Natural Facial Treatment for Tired or Neglected Skin!
Wash face with 2 T. oatmeal mixed with just enough water to make it moist. Rub oatmeal into face and scrub lightly. Allow it to dry and brush it off lightly with your fingers.
Stir together: 2 T. soft goat cheese or feta; 10 drops seabuckthorn berrybotanical oil; 5 drops purerose essential oil; 5 drops carrot seed essential oil. Spread this blend around your face using upward and outward strokes. Pay special attention to under eye area. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes, then gently brush off any residue. You may rinse with pure water and lightly pat dry, or allow it to dry naturally.
Boil 12 ounces of pure water with 1 T. astragalus root. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Strain and add 20 drops lemon, sweet orange, or blood orange essential oil. Place in a spray bottle and spray over face and neck. This toner can be made ahead of time, and will keep for several weeks. It will tighten your skin and diminish wrinkles and sagging, giving skin a youthful appearance.
Repeat this natural facial treatment 2 to 3 times a week. After the first three treatments, you will begin to see and feel a difference in your skin, rather like turning back the clock on the aging process! This is a very simple and time-honored recipe from a grandmother from India who shared it with me. I hope you will love it as much as I do.
Thirteen Changes You Can Make to Raise Your Frequency and Change Your Life
Eat more greens! Most of us do not eat anywhere near the amount of greens that our bodies need to thrive. Organically grown greens are loaded with minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Salads are okay, but will not give us all the minerals that we need, even if our digestive systems are in PRIME health! It is wise to eat plenty of cooked, simmered, or steamed greens, at least 2 cups a day. Good greens for regenerating the body are: Dandelion leaf, spinach, watercress, kale, cabbage, chard, lamb’s quarter, collards, beet greens, leaf lettuces, cilantro, broad leaf parsley, nettles, sorrel, arugula, etc. Avoid iceberg lettuce–it is devoid of the rich nutrients that deep green colored leaves provide. If you have trouble eating greens, try adding green mixes to your smoothies–our free Green Nutrient recipe is here.
Drink caffeine–free herbal tea daily! The greatest support for replacing the nutrients that are missing from our foods today, is herbs. Make a tea using any or all of the following ingredients. Drink 1 cup to 1 quart every day. These are tonic herbs that can be used long term with no adverse effects. The herbs for making this tea include: Nettles leaf; dandelion leaf; passion flower leaf and flower; damiana leaf; sarsaparilla root; red clover leaf and flower; alfalfa leaf; oat straw; Fo-ti root; blessed thistle leaf; chickweed leaf; yellow dock root; roasted chicory root. Replace your adrenal–depleting morning coffee with these health enhancing herbal teas. Add berries, stevia, dates, or maple syrup to improve the flavor. These herbs are available in bulk in most health food stores; and if you can not find them, you can grow them in pots or in your garden. Contact Richter’s for seeds and starts. Thirteen changes can make a difference!
Drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices! Fresh juice is much more nutritious, for a degenerated system, than whole vegetables and fruits. With much of the fiber removed, the intense nutritional value of juice is available with very little energy required to digest and assimilate. You don’t need to spend a lot to get started. You can find juicers or Vita-mixes on EBay; or pick up a high speed blender at your local second hand store. Drink 8 ounces of fresh juice every day and watch your energy level rise. Smoothies also fall into this category, check out our free smoothie book download here.
Limit your dairy food consumption to plain, live culture yogurt or kefir. Don’t purchase the popular brand name ones, that contain sugar, dextrose, gelatin, artificial colors, (even propylene glycol!). The best yogurt is one that you make yourself from fresh cow’s or goat’s milk. A close second is available in health food stores, Horizon brand or Mountain High brand. Another good brand is Nancy’s, and it is quite sour tasting–for those who like it sour. Plain yogurt with live cultures feeds the flora in the digestive tract that is destroyed by antibiotics, over use of alcohol, coffee, yeasted refined breads, and refined sugars. Regular homogenized milk and processed cheeses are some of the hardest foods for many people to digest; and contain fats that change the way our liver processes fats–creating havoc in our systems. And while you are at it, replace refined sugar with honey, maple syrup, or maple sprinkles–(which contain more absorbable calcium than cow’s milk!).
Limit your meat and animal protein consumption to 15% of your total diet! For anyone who doubts the necessity of this, please read a great book by T. Colin Campbell titled, The China Study. The overwhelming scientific evidence presented in this book, along with the author’s personal experience, are enough to convince even the greatest sceptic. Most people wonder what they will eat, in place of all the meat they are eating, and how will they ever get enough protein? It is important to realize that protein is in everything from whole grains–quinoa, wheat, oats, etc.–to potatoes, to lentils, beans, and legumes. You can still eat meat every day; the answer is to eat it in very small amounts, like a garnish (no more 1 lb. steaks, or buckets of chicken!). And eat it with rice, potatoes, vegetables, and salad greens. Replace store bought poultry and meat with organically grown, farm raised beef, chicken, buffalo, or wild game meats. Animals that are fed foods that they would naturally eat, and who live in a more natural environment, have a healthier body chemistry than those that are grown in giant industrial barns and fed chemically derived, hormone laced feed processed from plants (and animals!) that they would never eat naturally.
Avoid store bought bread! The single strains of yeast that make bread rise high and create that fluffy texture, are a contributory cause of the massive candida imbalances that are rampant in our culture today. Before the 1930’s, most bread was made at home, from whole grains and sourdough culture, which contains many of the hundreds of varieties of yeast just floating in the air around us. When specific yeasts were isolated and marketed to make bread rise higher, we went to consuming 50 or more strains of yeast to just one or two strains. The flora in our digestive systems no longer had a healthy diversity, and candida went way out of balance–contributing to many symptoms and health conditions.
Change your fats! Avoid eating margarine, vegetable oils, butter*, processed cheeses, Crisco, lard, partially hydrogenated oils, and animal fat. Replace them with more raw whole seeds and nuts; organic whole nut and seed butters; cold-pressed olive oil; coconut oil; and cold-pressed flax seed oil. These oils will reverse the aging effects of short chain fatty acids contained in the foods above. They will actually clean out arteries over time and reverse plaque in the circulatory system. Use at least 2 tablespoons of cold-pressed oil daily, on vegetables, grain dishes, in smoothies, and salads. *The only butter that our bodies can actually benefit from would be butter produced fro grass fed cows, which can be beneficial in small amounts.
Eat fermented foods! Fermented foods feed the flora in our digestive systems. Without the right flora (bacteria) living in the digestive system, we can not get the nutrients our bodies need to maintain vibrant health. When we don’t get those nutrients over time, the body often goes into a famine response, storing fat and holding on to everything it can. This makes it nearly impossible to lose weight, no matter how little we eat. When the body believes that it can not get the nutrients it needs, it can not let go. Fermented foods include Bubbies brand pickles and sauerkraut; many brands of Kim chee and fermented vegetables, available in health food stores; live cultured yogurt or kefir; and real whole grain sourdough pancakes and breads (not commercial ones). Thirteen changes are all it takes to change to change your life.
Limit or eliminate tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs and pharmaceutical drugs! These are all contributors to liver damage, lung and kidney degeneration, and can make it nearly impossible to recover your health and vitality. Pharmaceutical drugs often need to be weaned carefully from the system; find a doctor or health care practitioner who specializes in getting people off drugs, and get support to do it, especially if you are taking drugs for a serious condition. Your life will be better without these artificial substances in your body. (If you are taking drugs for a serious condition, get advice from a medical professional before trying to get off them).
Walk every week! Walk; even just for 5 minutes every other day. Start somewhere that is fairly easy to sustain, then gradually work up to 2 or 3 hours a week. If walking is difficult, try getting a rebounder and bouncing; or take a beginner’s yoga class or Qi gong class. Any exercise will do wonders, if you have not been doing any regular exercise at all. Your body needs movement to sustain its vitality and health. Stop suppressing! Suppression is the “emotional cause” behind many physical diseases and conditions. We all grew up in a culture that values suppression and does not teach us to express our emotions, thoughts, and feelings in order to keep our minds clear. Every night, look into your own eyes in the mirror and tell yourself the truth about what you felt, thought, and perceived over the past day. Let your feelings become okay, and give yourself space to feel them. Buy Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life; and use it to dig up the buried emotional patterns that are making you sick.
Stop suppressing! Suppression is the “emotional cause” behind many physical diseases and conditions. We all grew up in a culture that values suppression and does not teach us to express our emotions, thoughts, and feelings in order to keep our minds clear. Every night, look into your own eyes in the mirror and tell yourself the truth about what you felt, thought, and perceived over the past day. Let your feelings become okay, and give yourself space to feel them. Buy Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life; and use it to dig up the buried emotional patterns that are making you sick.
Learn to forgive! Make a practice of forgiveness every day. Buried resentments lead to cancer, heart attacks, organ damage, headaches, and many conditions and symptoms. Read the book, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, by Karol Truman. Use the script, and forgive those who have hurt you in the past. This will go miles in helping your body recover from cancer, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and any degenerative disease or condition.
Find your true spiritual expression and create a fulfilling spiritual life! Everyone is different; some of us are born into a religion that fits like a glove, and we develop a fulfilling relationship with God or a higher power (as we each perceive it). It is important to find what fits for you, and to develop a relationship with a higher power that feels authentic to YOU. If you were not born into the right one, be brave enough to let go of what does not fit for you, and start searching. Ask the divine power for help in finding your own “spiritual home”. Learn to live with integrity; read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and begin living it. Thirteen changes make the shortest path to fulfillment and vitality.
These are simple changes, but not always easy to make! Try focussing on one change at a time, and wait until it has become an easy new habit before trying another. Save the hardest ones for later, and begin with the easy ones.
Once you have made a number of these changes, you will look and feel different than you did before. Your body will be vibrating at a higher (cohesive and life enhancing), your immune system will be stronger, and your chronic symptoms will begin to fade. Your mind will get clearer and attunement to the environment around you will become stronger.
Notice: If you have been diagnosed with a disease or are taking pharmaceutical medications, find a medical practitioner that can guide you BEFORE trying to make changes that could impact your body’s health. Some medicines must be removed very slowly and gradually, to avoid upsetting or life threatening symptoms.
I have been working on this recipe for several years, with a desire to combine mud-type hair treatments with a more cleansing but still natural shampoo. I have finally reached the stage where I am ready to share this fantastic recipe with the world! (The rest of the element recipes that compliment this shampoo will be offered in a downloadable booklet on home made shampoo. Check back with us here for updates on the availability).
This shampoo is for normal to dry hair and scalp. Sea vegetables like seaweed and spirulina hydrate the hair and scalp, repairing brittle strands and reducing breakage.
Michael and I have both been using this shampoo (along with the other 4 elements) for several months now, and we have both become so attached to these recipes! We have more body and shine in our hair, and the hair feels hydrated and stays clean longer. It even seems to have nourished a lot of new hairs that are growing in, both for Michael and me. I would love to hear from you after 3 months of using this shampoo, if you decide to make it.
This is not an easy recipe, and will require three steps of preparation before you are actually ready to put together the final shampoo product. But the end result is really worth it. So give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Mud / Water Element Shampoo Recipe
For Normal to Dry Hair & Scalp
Note: This recipe requires the use of a hand held stick blender.
Begin by preparing. First make an essential oil blend of:
Essential Oil Blend (that you made at the beginning) 22 drops
Stir gently until all is emulsified. Pour into a plastic bottle for use. Test your shampoo with a ph test strip. Shampoo should test between 5.5 and 7 on the litmus scale. If the results are too low, add a tiny bit more salt or baking soda. If it tests too high, add a little more citric acid or acetic acid.
The discoloration of the skin also known as liver spots or hyperpigmentation, occurs as a result of the aging process. I am personally experienced in using aromatherapy for age spots, as I spend much of my time in the high desert sun, working outdoors. Causal factors of this condition include sun exposure, dietary choices, and our personal constitutional profile. To treat it successfully, one must become aware of certain health habits, and be willing to apply focused attention over time.
That said, it is a simple process (though not always easy) to achieve great improvement in a short time, without resorting to drastic skin treatments.
Hyperpigmentation is characterized by flat, round, non-carcinogenic brown or reddish brown spots that develop on the hands, arms, face, shoulders, feet and legs. This usually occurs with increasing age.
Hyperpigmentation is the result of melanin accumulation in the epidermal or dermal layer of the skin. Causal factors include advancing age, sun exposure, pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone therapy, injury, chicken pox, shingles, acne scars and hereditary factors.
Chloasma gravidarum (pregnancy mask) is a brownish pigmentation on the face and neck, due to hormonal shifts and sun sensitivity.
Age spots or liver spots (lentigines) are usually caused by accumulated sun damage, and customarily appear after age 30.
Sun freckles are hereditary and usually disappear when there is no excessive exposure to the sun.
To prevent the formation of liver spots, avoid over-exposure to sun, detoxify the liver, and eat foods that promote liver and skin health (including drinking plenty of water).
Avoiding the sun: Our bodies need the sun light to stay healthy! Vitamin D is deficient in a huge percentage of people in the USA. So it makes sense to question our heavy reliance on commercial sunscreen as the best route to take. I am not telling you to throw it away, especially if your doctor has recommended it to you. However, I am encouraging you to explore other options, do some research, and try other methods, using sunscreen as a last resort.
Most sunscreen products on the market contain Oxybenzone (a hormone disruptor) and other known cancer causing ingredients. A great article that reflects my own opinion about sunscreen is here, on Wellness Mama. It also offers a simple recipe for home made sunscreen, that contains none of the chemicals in question.
Detoxifying the Liver: I have become very familiar with numerous liver cleanses over my 63 years of living with a constitutionally delicate liver. I can assure you that dietary and lifestyle changes can make all the difference in your skin, with liver detoxification being the most important one.
Before using any kind of cleanse, if you are on medications or have chronic health issues, check with your doctor first. There are many people who should not cleanse at all in this category—make sure you get your doctor’s approval.
If you have never cleansed before, or it has been a long time; or if you believe your body is moderately toxic, begin with this light and easy liver cleanse. You can use it for just a few days, or the full 10 days to 2 weeks suggested, depending on how you feel as you go through it. You can repeat it again in a couple of months if needed.
After liver cleansing, it is imperative to support the liver in regenerating to a higher level of health. Consider using a daily tea containing dandelion, milk thistle, bupleurum, schisandra berry, artichoke leaf, and pau d’arco, for 8 to 10 weeks for this purpose. Following the dietary guidelines for liver health will restore the liver and maintain a greater level of health. Not only will your skin get clearer, but you will notice other benefits as well.
Dietary Guidelines for Evenly Glowing Skin
Eat more green salads! Greens are the liver’s natural medicine. Lettuces, mustard greens, beet greens, chard, spinach, kale, onions, garlic, watercress, asparagus, cabbage, etc. Add more vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, beets, taro root, water chestnuts, artichokes, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and all kinds of sprouts. Eat herbs such as turmeric, basil, mint, horseradish, pepper, cardamon, cumin, fennel, dill, parsley, ginger; and fruits such as berries, kumquats, tangerines, lemon, and grapefruit. Drinks include lemon water, fresh juices (especially carrot and celery), and fruit smoothies.
Just as important as what you eat, is what you avoid. Avoid foods that tax the liver and hinder its ability to heal; such as refined grains and carbohydrates, alcohol, coffee, refined snack foods (replace them with raw nuts or seeds), artificial sweeteners, added sugars, soft drinks, fatty foods such as margarine, mayonnaise, refined oils, bacon, sausages. Limit red meat, opting for fish or poultry in moderate amounts; and limit dairy food consumption (plain probiotic unpasteurized yogurt is beneficial in moderation).
Now that you know how to clear up age spots and prevent them in the future, we can look at some great recipes for fading spots that already exist on the surface.
Several mask options are listed here. Experiment and find which ones work best on your skin!
Aromatherapy for age spots and uneven complexion, involves a three step process of daily skin maintenance, and a weekly (or more often) extra step. Every day, use this regimen to help restore glowing spot free skin.
Step 1: Remove make up using a cleanser or aloe vera and cotton pads.
Step 2: Rinse face with pure water and lightly pat dry.
Use this regimen morning and night. If you are applying make-up, use a cotton pad to blot excess oil after allowing it to sit for at least 5 minutes. If you are going to bed afterward, leave the serum on overnight.
Once or twice each week, apply a mask to fade the spots. Use one of the recipes below, apply the mask to cover spotty or discolored areas, and allow it to set or dry. After 15 minutes or longer, rinse the mask off and apply the serum or facial oil.
My Favorite Super Easy Age Spot Mask Recipe
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp grated potato
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix all ingredients. Apply to the spotted areas and allow it to dry. After 10 to 15 minutes, wash it off and apply a facial serum or oil such as Kalahari melon, jojoba, macadamia, or raspberry seed oil. Store remainder in the fridge for later. Apply every other day until you reach desired skin tone.
Green Papaya Mask
Green papaya grated or mashed
This is used to even out the skin tone and fade brown spots. Apply before retiring for the night. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off. Apply a serum or oil before bedtime.
Age Spot Cranberry Mask
Apply the juice of crushed fresh cranberries to age spots, and let them dry overnight. Wash off in the morning and note the lighter skin tone.
I WANT IT GONE NOW Spot Treatment
I have not tried this one, as it seems a bit harsh to put baking soda on my face. But others tell me that it works great! Be sure to put it only on the spots directly, unlike a mask that can be spread over the entire area.
Mix a little bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) with a 50:50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, to form a gritty paste. Dab onto age spots, allow to dry, then rinse off and pat skin dry. Be sure to use a moisturizing oil or serum after this treatment.
Macadamia facial serum recipes are made with macadamia nut oil, which has been shown to slow the signs of aging. It contains Palmitoleic acid (Omega 7) which declines in our skin as we grow older. The Omega 7 in macadamia nut oil increases the skin’s youthful appearance, soothing wrinkles and lines. This makes it an excellent oil for maintaining glowing youthful skin!
It also has been used to improve the appearance of scars, sunburn, and other minor skin irritations. The following recipes are excellent for moisturizing skin, helping to even out skin tone. and fading scars and patches. For more moisturizing facial serum recipes, go here. For hydrating facial serum recipes, go here. To read about the difference between hydration and moisturizing, go here.
Cilantro for detoxification? Yes! This amazing essential oil detoxifier is great for removing heavy metals from the body. It is a natural chelation herb, like chlorella and garlic. It is known to help the body expel toxins, especially heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and aluminum. Heavy metal toxicity is a hidden cause of depression, allergies, mental and learning issues, and all kinds of immune system issues.
How to Use Cilantro for Detoxification
Chelation, removing heavy metals from the body’s tissues, can be a dangerous process. If one cleanses too rigorously, it is possible to draw heavy metals out of the tissues where they are stored, and into the blood stream. If this occurs too quickly, and the toxicity is not eliminated quickly enough, it can cause all kinds of heavy metal toxicity symptoms, and possibly do more damage to organs and tissues.
The best way to accomplish this may be the slow way, using cilantro essential oil. Here is a really easy and effective way to remove heavy metal toxicity a little at a time from the body.
Let your feet soak until the water becomes luke warm.
Remove your feet and dry with the towel.
You can use this detoxification process several times weekly. It is comfortable, feels great on your feet, is energizing, and will gradually help you release heavy metals from your system.
If you are using straight Pascalite, you may even see small black specks in the bottom of the tub as you pour out the water. Remember–the water is toxic once you have used it. If you use Drawing Paste, you will not be able to see the specks, because the color is already dark. But the Drawing Paste may draw more toxicity out of the tissues than Pascalite alone.
What Else Can I Do to Detoxify?
You can help the detox process by doing a few things, such as getting daily exercise; drinking celery, cilantro, and carrot juices; taking chlorella; avoiding fried foods, excess sugar and artificial sweeteners; and eating a diet rich in whole fruits & vegetables and their juices. Weekly colonics are also extremely helpful if you are detoxifying. We suggest this book, to understand what is possible; and for those who are willing to do their own colon cleanses at home, check out our FDA registered Colenz Colon Cleanse Package.
These productsare not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This information is anecdotal, and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as medical advice. See a health care professional for medical advice.
Serums can be moisturizing or hydrating. To learn more about the difference between them, see this link. For moisturizing serum recipes, go here.
Natural hydrating serums must contain hydrating ingredients such as honey, or Hyaluronic acid, and/or other water based ingredients such as hydrosols or aloe vera juice in an emulsion.
Hydrating serum recipes are often a bit more complex to make than moisturizing ones. Moisturizing serums contain only oil based ingredients, which will seal moisture in the skin. They make wonderful overnight skin treatments, and work well for daily applications.
When using a multi step skin program, you will want to apply hydrating serums right after washing your face, and right before applying an emollient oil such as Kalahari seed oil or Raspberry seed oil, or an occlusive such as shea butter or cocoa butter.
After some years in Arizona’s high desert north of Grand Canyon, I found that moisturizing oils alone were no longer doing the job for my skin. I began using this serum recipe, and immediately (I mean right after the first application!) I noticed that my skin looked younger, smoother, and less leathery. I was sold.
You will need a stick blender to make the emulsion combining watery and oily ingredients. I like this one, but I am sure that many others would work too. It is a bit more complex, but so very worth it to know how clean and pure this serum is. No hidden ingredients, no “filler” ingredients, no missing ingredients, just the ones that you put in!
2 drops Leucidal(a natural preservative made from fermented radishes, approved by Eco-cert and approved for use in Whole Foods products)
2 drops Linatural (a combination of 3 ingredients, made from non-GMO corn, also approved by Eco-cert as a natural preservative)
1/8 tsp. ascorbic acid
Once the serum is complete, and since this is a recipe (and not a formula measured in grams), I always test for the best ph and adjust if necessary. If the ph is too high, you can add a bit more citric or ascorbic acid. If it is too low, you can add a tiny amount of natural sea salt, (only 1/32nd of a teaspoon to start with), or sodium lactate. The final ph should register at 4 to 6 for most serums. Vitamin C serums (with ascorbic acid or citric acid) should measure between 3 to 4.5. To easily test ph values of your home made products, get these!
Add all ingredients into the stick blender cup. Blend until smooth and well mixed. Place in light blocking bottles and store unused portion in the refrigerator.
Even though Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that is also made by the human body, it should be used with awareness. Do not use it for children or infants, or during pregnancy, unless approved by a health care professional.
Disclaimer: None of our products are recognized or approved by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This information is anecdotal, and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as medical advice. See a health care professional for medical advice.
You might think hydration is something that only people with dry or dehydrated skin need to worry about. But hydrating your skin is just like hydrating your body. Your body needs hydration to look and feel its best. And no matter what skin type you have, so does your skin.
With so many different products claiming to give you the hydrated skin you desire, including oils, serums, creams and gels, how do you choose one that actually gives your skin the right dose of moisture it needs?
Hydrator vs. Moisturizer: What’s the difference?
“Moisturizer” is an umbrella term for various types of moisturizing ingredients such as Emollients (includes fats and oils), Squalene (an olive oil extract), Humectants, and Occlusives.
But in the world of marketing, the terminology is not the same. “Hydrator” and “Moisturizer” are marketing terms which can be defined by the branding companies in almost any way that they want. Even though there is no standard for what defines a hydrator and a moisturizer, for the most part, the industry uses these terms to differentiate how your skin gets the moisture it needs.
How About Water?
Water alone will not keep your skin moisturized from the outside. It is likely that, once applied, it has evaporated away by the time you leave the bathroom. And it has taken along with it, much of your skin’s natural oil (sebum).
In fact, the more you wash your skin without applying a moisturizer or hydrator, the more likely your skin will dry out, as the acid mantle and sebum are washed away, leaving your skin with no protection against dryness.
What are Some Other Moisturizers?
Occlusive agents, (such as petrolatum or mineral oil—both of which I can not recommend that you put on your skin!) are substances that create a water and air tight barrier. This does a good job of keeping the moisture in your skin. The most common occlusive agents that you will find in skin products include petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil. They are inexpensive and do the job intended. But the large size of their molecules means that they are difficult to penetrate the skin, and tend to build up in the skin’s outer layer.
Over many months or even years, this build-up will inhibit the skin’s natural respiration. I have seen evidence of this myself when working with people who, for chronic health issues, are doing intense herbal cleanses. At a certain point in the cleansing process, people who have applied mineral products over a long period of time, will have a few days of greasy yellowish discharge coming out of their skin, as the body releases this build-up. If you have ever seen it, you will avoid these ingredients like the plague in all of your skin and cosmetic products!
Some of the natural occlusive ingredients that are plant based and do not build up in the skin, are cocoa butter, jojoba (a plant wax), andshea butter.
Emollients (such as plant oils) also work by creating a lighter seal on the surface of skin which prevents water from escaping. They make the skin feel smoother and less dry. Generally they do not inhibit the respiration of the skin. And since their molecules are smaller than occlusives, they do not build up in the outer layer of the skin, but are absorbed and removed over time.
Hydrators are also called humectants. These ingredients absorb water from the atmosphere or from deeper layers of your skin, and hold it on the surface of your skin. They make your skin feel smooth and moist—but beware! They are also pulling water out of the deeper layers of your skin, sort of robbing Peter to pay Paul. They can easily contribute to further dehydration of the skin. They do insure that you will need to apply more and more skin lotion, as the dehydration leads to the need for more moisturizer. Sounds like product security to me!
These ingredients include glycerine, lactic acid, citric acid, and hyaluronic acid. A very small amount of these ingredients in some products may be okay for certain skin types, especially in the case of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the eyes, skin, joints, and connective tissue of the human body.
Natural hydrators that are less likely to draw out moisture, include raw honey and aloe vera. These hydrators have a more gentle action, and don’t tend to create the same level of dehydration of the deeper skin layers.
It’s important to recognize that these ingredients work very differently from each other. The success you have in getting to your goal of better skin hydration depends on your selection of ingredients based on your skin type.
What is Best for Your Skin Type?
There are a lot of different products on the market, including balms, oils, creams, gels, ointments, salves, and hydrators. Most skin lotions and other moisturizing products will contain occlusive and emollient ingredients, as well as humectant ingredients.
The best way to find out what works for you is to read the ingredients of your skin products and experiment. Your skin might do better with only a moisturizer or hydrator, not both. By learning exactly how your skin likes to drink, you maximize your way to hydrated skin.
Dry Skin Types Respond to a Thick Emollient or Occlusive
If your skin is naturally dry year-round and tends to flake or peel, it is likely not weather-related dehydration that’s causing your dryness. Your skin just has a hard time retaining moisture.
You will need to moisturize to create a protective seal on the surface to lock in moisture. A thick, emollient moisturizer will help prevent water from leaving your skin. Natural choices include shea butter and cocoa butter. Nut oils like coconut oil, and jojoba are other ingredients to try.
Dehydrated Skin Types Respond to a Hydrating Serum
If your skin is dehydrated, you need to actively add water back into the skin. Look for a hydrating serum with ingredients such as honey,aloe vera, or hyaluronic acid, (which retains 1,000 times its weight in water). Your goal is to add a healthy dose of hydration back into the skin.
Hydrate From the Inside Out
The state of the skin is an indicator for the rest of the body. If your skin is dehydrated, one of the most important pieces of the solution is to regularly drink plenty of water. A good goal is at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, shoot for 75 ounces of water per day.
But water is often not enough. In my own experience, I was drinking substantially more than that of pure water every day, yet I still had dehydrated skin, and other symptoms of mild dehydration. I felt like my body was simply not absorbing water as it should, and water was going through me but not making its way into my cells and tissues. After trying different types and brands of water with no substantial improvement, I began to drink fresh fruit & vegetable juices daily. The nutrients, minerals, and enzymes in the fresh juices regenerated the tissues and cells of my body. In just a few weeks of regular juicing, my skin was beginning to look smoother, younger, and more hydrated.
Adding water rich foods such as watermelon, strawberries, and cucumber, makes a difference. These can help give the skin and body the hydration they need to look and feel their best. Also eliminating carbonated drinks, drinks containing alcohol, artificial sweeteners, or sugar, which all contribute to dehydration; and replacing them with water and fresh juices, will begin to change the health of your body on a cellular level, and improve hydration very quickly. This will all benefit the hydration of your skin.
Oily Skin Types Respond to Hydrators and Moisturizers
If you have an oily skin type, it type doesn’t mean your skin isn’t dehydrated. If your skin is dehydrated, it can actually exacerbate excess oil issues.
People with oily skin often have compromised barrier function, which makes it hard for their skin to retain moisture. As moisture leaves the skin, it becomes dehydrated, causing the skin to produce more oil.
This becomes a vicious cycle, and the only way to break it is to give skin the proper hydration and moisture it needs. Look for water-based, non-comedogenic hydrators and moisturizers. Water-based products will feel lighter on the skin and won’t clog your pores.
Many natural ingredients are on this list, including Almond oil, Avocado oil, Beeswax, Coconut oil, Flaxseed oil, Grape seed oil, Olive oil, Sesame oil, Wheat germ oil, to name a few. And just one comedogenic ingredient in a blend can cause more break-outs, so it is important to check your formulas against this list.
Sunflower, safflower, jojoba, and all essential oils are acne-safe. While most oils are comedogenic, these were all found to be non-comedogenic.
Formulating Your Own Natural Skin Products
It is helpful to use both a moisturizer and hydrator in many formulas. If you are using a multi-step process, use hydrating products containing aloe vera, honey, or hyaluronic acid first, then follow up with an occlusive like shea butter or plant oils to lock it in.
Or, if you want to keep things simple, look for a product that contains both types of ingredients.
If you want a healthy , hydrated complexion all year round, you may need to change your formulas with changing conditions and seasons. For some conditions, like the winter season, you are likely to need to hydrate and moisturize. If you move from a dry climate to an area of high humidity, you may find that your skin does better with oil based products containing only moisturizers rather than hydrators.