I’m not really altering my skin care routine at all. I have very good skin. I didn’t always, I used to have very bad acne. It changed when a read a book called The Truth About Beauty, by Kat James, when I was 21. The thing that changed it? I followed her advice and stopped using acne products. My acne was gone within a week.
In fact, it was my quest to rid myself of acne that led me to the world of holistic health and environmentally friendly personal care products. Now I spend less on skin care than ever in my life, my skin care products are totally organic, and my skin looks better than it ever has before. Let me share my routine with you.
Diet – Luckily, everything I’m doing to lose weight, also makes your skin look fantastic. The best thing you can do for your skin is eat a lot of fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are jam packed with anti oxidants, vitamins and minerals that make your skin glow and slow down the aging process. They also have lots of water in them, which helps your skin to stay firm, moist and glowing. They also have lots of fiber, which helps to sweep toxins out of your diet. It’s also important for the health of your skin (and your brain function, and weight loss) to eat healthy fats. Not a TON of healthy fats, but throw in an avocado from time to time, some fatty fish like salmon or tuna, a dash of olive oil, even a little butter here and there (bonus points if it comes from grass fed cows or goats). It makes food taste better and its good for you.
Washing – I wash my face once or twice a day with a washcloth and warm water. The warm water cleans dirt, makeup and oil off my skin. The washcloth exfoliates. Now, I know some of you are saying right now, “What? No Soap?”. I never use soap on my face. Unless I have something really crazy on it (say, face paint from a Halloween costume), I never put soap on my face. The skin on my face is too delicate for the harsh chemicals that are soap. Even the most natural soap in the world is a harsh chemical. It’s the very nature of soaponofied fats (which is what produces the sudsy effect of soap). It’s a very harsh chemical. Its fat (traditionally, lard) mixed with lye. Remember that scene in Fight Club where they were making soap? Yeah, on a miniture level, that is what soap is doing to your skin.
I used to think I had really oily skin. Now I know it’s the soap that made my skin oily. When the soap stripped my skin of all it’s oil, beneficial bacteria, the acid mantle, etc., my skin would protect and heal its self by coating itself in more oil. When I stopped using soap on my face, eventually my skin stopped the cycle of producing more and more oil to protect itself. Now my skin is soft and shine free. After a water wash, it’s even a little dry.
I do use soap on my body where I’m prone to have BO. I also use it instead of shaving cream (because soap is cheap and I think provides a better shave, if you’re moisturizing afterward, there’s no need for an expensive cream).
Moisturizing – If you thought not using soap is crazy, you’re really going to think this step is crazy. I moisturize my face (and all my body) with food grade oils. My personal favorite is coconut oil, but castor oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter also make it into the rounds frequently. Coconut oil is a potent anti microbial, and it’s very light and absorbs very quickly. It also has a subtle SPF that I’ve found is enough for day to day sun protection. Castor oil is very good for cleaning out pores (the stuff that clogs pores are made out of oil and dirt, so water has a hard time breaking it down, oil dissolves it because it’s what the clogs are made out of). Shea butter (the pure stuff) is great on rough spots like your heels, elbows, knees and ankles. I moisturize every time I get out of the shower (or at least I should, I’m working at getting better at this), and most every time I wash my face. My favorite home made facial moisturizer: one part castor oil to five parts coconut oil.
You can go for a lotion if you want, but a good, clean lotion that doesn’t have any hormone altering chemicals which can interfere with weight loss and your reproductive system, not to mention cause cancer and other diseases, is significantly more expensive than oil is. When you stop to think that lotion is just oil emulsified with water (it’s watered down oil!), it’s just a big rip off! But a good, high quality lotion is just as good for your skin as oil is, if the oil idea freaks you out too much. Read ingredients, and make sure that your lotion doesn’t have parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, or fragrance (unless it tells you specifically what natural source the fragrance comes from, such as essential oils). All of those chemicals will be bad for your skin, and they may cause hormonal issues, reproductive issues, headaches (which is usually a sign of allergic reaction), weight problems, etc.
Sun – I don’t worry about the sun much, considering how burn prone I am as a fair skinned red head. Actually, I find when I’m eating healthy and I’m well hydrated, I’m less likely to burn. And, as I said before, my moisturizer has mild SPF properties. Its important to get some sun exposure, because it helps your body to produce vitamin D, which may play roles in weight loss, preventing cancer and cognitive function, and it definitely plays a role in bone health. But if you’re getting burned or over tanned, then you’re crossing the line from healthy sun exposure to dangerous sun exposure. The sun is like healthy fats. A little bit is very, very good for you. Essential, in fact. Too much can be deadly. If you’re going to be in direct sun light for long periods of time, use a sunscreen. Preferably one that follows the same safety rules I mentioned about lotion.
Makeup – I don’t wear makeup every day. I don’t really feel the need most days, because most days I’m either at school, schlepping around my toddler son, working in the garden or kitchen or on some craft, covered in dirt or flour or paint or whatever. I don’t do these things to look pretty. But, to be honest, back when I had bad acne, I wore make up every day. Lots of it. Since I have started taking good care of my skin and solved my acne problem, I really just don’t feel like I need makeup. I do wear it on occasion, to church, date nights with my fiance, etc., but on those occasions, I don’t wear much. I also use a mineral makeup that is super expensive, but since I use it so rarely, it lasts me years. Since it’s dry, it doesn’t go rancid and harbor bacteria the way liquid makeups do. The only makeup I replace regularly is my mascara. So what if my foundation costs me $29 bucks a pop. One little jar of that foundation lasted me five years. That breaks down to a little less than six dollars a year. Seeing as how you should replace liquid makeup every three months, that comes out to less than two dollars every three months on my make up. The last time I bought drug store liquid makeup, I spent 9 dollars for a bottle of foundation. I use Larenim mineral makeup.
The Oil Cleanse Method – every now and then, I want to give my skin an extra special treatment. This is my treatment of choice. It really cleans out my pores and leaves my skin super soft. The website describes it better than I ever could, so check it out.
Apple Cider Vinegar – I use apple cider vinegar on occasion as a toner. Its great for the few occasions when I do get a zit (it’s not very often, but no one is totally zit immune). My Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies instructor raves about drinking ACV to clear up skin. He says it’s the only thing that keeps his skin acne free. He’s a good looking guy with good skin, so it’s worth a shot if you want to try it. ACV is the best beauty secret in the world, I think. I use Braggs brand, it’s the best out there.
Yogurt mask – another good facial treatment is a yogurt mask. Get plain yogurt and spread it on your face. Leave it for five to ten minutes, then rinse off with warm water. This is cooling and can help reduce puffiness. It also restores beneficial bacteria (the kind that prevents zits) to your face. The acid in the fermented milk helps to restore the acid mantle and exfoliate skin. The fat in the yogurt (if you use full fat) helps to moisturize skin. You can also add honey to the yogurt for further moisturizing, emulsifying and some mild lightening effect (good if you, like me, have a million freckles on your face).
Avocado mask – this one is super moisturizing. Mash an avocado. Spread it on your face. Leave it there for five to ten minutes then rinse it off.
Cucumbers on the eyes – this one actually feels fantastic! Try it, it’s super relaxing. It also reduces puffiness.
You can probably look up lots of other home facial ideas, these are just my favorites. Books I love on natural skin care include
- The Truth About Beauty by Kat James
- The Perricone Prescription
- Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox
- The Coconut Oil Miracle
Also, everyone should check out the Cosmetic Safety Database to find out how safe your cosmetics and personal care items are.