I stay busy enough trying to be consistent with good nutrition habits, but I don’t spare time looking for good quality skincare products. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and because it is porous, it can absorb the products you put on it. Therefore, you should put as much thought into what you’re using on your skin as you put into what you’re ingesting in your body.
One ingredient that must be considered when talking about skincare products is paraben,aka methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Paraben is a synthetic additive used in many skincare products to lengthen shelf life. There is a lot of debate about whether paraben is carcinogenic. The studies which conclude that it is find that it has the ability to mimic estrogen and other hormones causing disruption to the endocrine system. The endocrine system releases hormones in the bloodstream to execute functions for reproduction, metabolism, waste elimination and digestion. With that said, it is obvious why we would not want anything disrupting that system. Moreover, we don’t want artificial products entering our body through our skin anymore than we want unhealthy foods entering our body.
When I first learned about paraben I was very annoyed that it implicated so many products of daily consumption – soaps, lotions, deodorants, makeup etc. However, consistent with my principle of focusing on doing better rather than being perfect, I switched over to natural alternatives for skincare products that stay on my skin, like lotions and deodorants versus ones that are washed off like face cleansers. In other words, I don’t believe it is necessary to overwhelm yourself by scrutinizing every single skincare product. I used to be that extreme and it is paralyzing and discouraging. Instead, just focus on the products that would have the most negative impact on you like the ones you use all over your body and stay on your skin all day. Eventually, you might find alternatives to replace additional products with natural alternatives.
So, with all of the above in mind my skincare regime is as follows:
- Cleansers. I still use my favorite skin cleansing products because they are washed off right away.
- Makeup. I significantly reduce my consumption of makeup, as in, not for everyday wear. I know there are some natural makeup alternatives out there but have no experience with them. If makeup if a must have daily consumption product for you then I would encourage you to experiment with some of these natural alternatives.
- Fragrance. I only spray perfume fragrances on my clothes and don’t use them at all if I am wearing something they can’t be sprayed on.
- Exfoliate. I exfoliate twice per week, using the same products that I use for cleansing, but applying them with a bath brush and face exfoliating sponge, instead of just with a washrag or my hands. Exfoliating sloughs away dead skin cells allowing the vibrancy of your skin to come through. It also stimulates circulation and unclogs pores that might be filled with the products that you’re using on your skin daily. By unclogging your pores, breakouts are less likely to happen. If you think your face is clean after only washing it with a cleanser, use a white-colored face sponge to exfoliate and you’ll see all the additional buildup that comes off on it. Although the benefits of exfoliation might not be new to most of us, I don’t think we put it into practice enough. However, this is just another example of something that can be improved with conscious effort.
- Moisturize. This where I go completely natural, because as discussed above, a moisturizer is a product that stays on your body all day and therefore has a higher likelihood of being absorbed into your body. My favorite moisturizer is a true all-in-one product, and that is raw Shea butter. When I say “raw” I mean unrefined, organic, grade A and unprocessed. Shea butter is from the Shea plant. It has vitamins A, E, and F, and essential fatty acids and nutrients helpful for collagen production. I use raw shea butter as a face and body moisturizer, lip balm, hair onditioner and eye cream. I also rub it into scars to hasten the healing process. It is very soothing and effective for sunburnt and dry skin.
- Deodorant. Finding a natural deodorant alternative was not as easy as finding a natural moisturizer. However, I put a lot of effort into it because like a body moisturizer, deodorant is usually on your body 24/7. Also, most deodorants have aluminum, which is bad for much of the same reasons as paraben. After going through about 7 different options, I settled on Schmidt’s. I encourage you to also experiment with which natural alternative product in this department works best for you.