Since we addressed some skin supportive nutrients you can eat in Part 1, it’s time to talk about the kinds of the natural ingredients that you can actually put on your skin that will give you great results without the toxic chemicals found in most store-bought beauty products.
Skin is a semi-permeable membrane! That means, a lot of what goes ON the skin goes IN the skin. There are a ton of nasty chemicals in those fancy creams and washes cleverly marketed to convince you you’re worth it, which are proven to be carcinogenic and endocrine disruptive. When you think about the fact that you’re probably using various creams, washes and lotions on a daily basis, all those chemicals really do add up.
Like all things, I don’t believe in an all or nothing approach. If you have a cupboard FULL of store brand beauty products, don’t feel the need to immediately throw everything away. Just start gradually shifting over to more natural/chemical-free products as you run out. It may take a while, but eventually you’ll have a whole new beauty regime that reduces your toxic exposure.
When choosing beauty and personal care products, I’ve learned to buy products that are free from those crappy chemicals and often just use what I have in my kitchen cupboard.
There are so many natural options out there, but this is short-list of some of my personal faves that are easily sourced at your local grocer or health food shop. Plant oils are great great great for the skin, so let’s start there.
Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
These two oils should come in dark bottles and have a rich colour. Avocado oil will be tinted green and olive oil should be a deep gold or greenish colour. When the oils are still fresh, they are packed with antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats that really work well to moisturize the skin. These oils absorb faster than coconut oil, but a little longer than the lightweight store-bought products, but the wait is worth it!
NOTE: You can use any natural oil to wipe your makeup off too. Just apply all over the face and wipe clean with a cotton swab or clean facecloth.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I use ACV in my salad dressings, soups and sauces all the time. I also knock a capful back when I’m having indigestion. Works like a charm! But, it also makes a great skin toner and cleanser. In fact, I used it daily during a bout of dermatitis and it worked really well. ACV is a fermented food so it’s packed with good bacteria and acids that will help balance your skin’s pH as well as combat bacterial acne. Make sure to get the raw, organic unfiltered and unpasteurized kind. Shake it well before use and mix with equal amounts of water when first starting out. Don’t worry, the smell goes away in seconds.
Like ACV, lemon juice has natural acids, which help to exfoliate and tone your skin. It’s also a natural antibacterial so will work great for pimples are other skin infections. Lemon juice can also help to brighten skin and reduce the look of dark spots. But, like anything acidic, be sure to dilute with water or, if leaving it on overnight, rinse off in the morning.
This do-it-all oil is not only great for high heat cooking and a flavourful addition to smoothies, it’s great on the skin. Coconut oil contains caprylic acid, which is antimicrobial so it acts as a disinfectant as well as a strong moisturizer. I will use this mostly at night because it does take a little while to fully absorb into the skin. It’s also great as a leave in hair mask or to tame fly-aways.
Exfoliate with Sugar and Salt
If you’re looking for more of a physical exfoliation, you don’t need to look further than your cupboard. Using any of the oils mentioned above (or your own personal favourite), and just add a bit of coconut sugar or sea salt until it forms a paste. Use on your face and rinse with warm water or hop in the shower to wet your skin and then rub your homemade exfoliant all over in circles for a few minutes before rinsing for smooth and silky, chemical-free skin!
I know I said this was an ingredient list, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention some other key lifestyle factors that will undoubtedly improve your skin.
Exercise – good for just about everything including skin. Increased blood flow helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your skin and, if you break a sweat, you’ll be releasing toxins. Plus, more toned muscles provide a firmer backdrop for the skin.
Sweat – this can be achieved through exercise or through a sauna or steam room. Sweating is the skin’s own way to detox as it eliminates toxins through sweat droplets, also increase sweat flushes away debris that may clog pores and cause pimples.
Dry Skin Brush – this simple and inexpensive technique has, thankfully, been gaining a lot of attention these days. Not only does it remove dead skin cells, it’s a fantastic way to stimulate the detox pathways of your lymphatic system. Try incorporating this invigorating skin routine before you hop into the shower!
Smile! – Smiling has been proven to increase your feel-good hormones and reduce stress which undoubtedly has a positive effect on your overall health. Good health supports good skin. Plus, everyone looks better when they’re smiling 🙂