How to Safely Use All Natural Skincare Products
You may not realize it, but your skin is the largest organ in your body. Since your skin protects and supports you, it's important to care for your skin. Your skin can absorb a variety of oil-based and water-based chemicals. These chemicals can then spread throughout your body so you should research what skincare products you put on your skin. Unfortunately, just because a skincare product is sold in stores doesn't mean it's safe or has been tested.
Making Natural Skincare Products
Find high-quality ingredients.Search for retailers that specialize in the items you're looking for. You're more likely to get a purer product. For example, if you're looking for essential oils, contact a company that primarily produces essential oils. Always read labels which should tell you the name of the product, where it came from, how it was produced, when it expires, and whether it's organic or certified.
- If you're having trouble finding what you need, look online.
- Many online retailers also sell containers, tins, and bottles specifically for skincare products.
Consider any potential side effects.Many homemade skincare products contain herbs, oils, or other natural ingredients that can cause side effects in some people. Anytime you make your own skincare products, be on the lookout for any symptoms. If you notice symptoms, stop using your product and see a doctor if it doesn't quickly clear up. Side effects of natural skincare products include:
- Redness or blotchy skin
- Itchy scaling skin
- Chemical burns
Avoid natural products that can cause allergies.If you know you're allergic to certain products in conventional skincare products, avoid using them even if you prepare them in natural skincare products. For example, if you're allergic to tea tree oil toner, avoid making any skincare products with tea tree essential oil.
- Other natural ingredients that commonly cause allergies in people include: tea tree oil, feverfew, lavender, and jasmine.
Store your skincare products correctly.Since homemade skincare products don't contain preservatives, you'll probably need to refrigerate some of them or toss them after a few days. This is especially important if the product is based on a food item because it could begin growing fungus, bacteria, or yeast.
- If your product is water or food based, you should refrigerate it and use it within three days.
Make simple natural substitutions.If making your own skincare products using recipes seems intimidating, you can easily swap out natural items for skincare products you'd normally purchase. For example, try using:
- Pure coconut oil instead of lotion
- Diluted apple cider vinegar instead of facial toner
- Olive oil instead of mascara remover
Purchasing All-Natural Skincare Products
Research unfamiliar ingredients.Just because a product claims that it's natural doesn't necessarily make it good for you. On the other hand, just because a product sounds unnatural doesn't make it bad for you. It's important to research the ingredients in your skincare products, especially if you don't know what it is or what it does.
- For example, vitamin E is also known as tocopherol and vitamin D is also known as cholecalciferol.
Avoid fragrances and plastic packaging.Many fragrances (listed as "parfum") contain chemicals (phthalates) which are associated with possible birth defects, cancer, allergic skin reactions and other health problems. You should also avoid plastic packaging since it can release chemicals into your skincare product. Choose products in packaging like PET (with recycling code #1) and HDPE (#2) since these are considered to be the safest plastics.
- Avoid polycarbonate (#7) which contains the endocrine disruptor bisphenol-A (BPA) and avoid PVC (#3) which contains a variety of heavy metals, phthalates and chemicals.
- Essential oils are a better natural way to add fragrance to a product since they don't contain phthalates.
Research the skincare company.Since skincare products are not heavily regulated, research the company to find out their specific policies. Some companies have signed a Compact for Safe Cosmetics which voluntarily pledges to remove any known or potentially harmful chemicals from their ingredients. You might want to find out:
- If a company tests on animals
- The company's mission statement
- Whether or not the company is an environmentally conscious company
Choose organic as often as you can.Although organic products can still contain emollients, preservatives, and emulsifiers, they usually use the natural versions instead of harmful synthetic versions. Try to buy organic skincare products when you can and look for the USDA National Organic Program seal. This means that the product has been through a certification program.
- Biodynamic certification is an even higher standard for skincare products. Just look for for a biodynamic or Demeter seal of approval.
Test the product on your skin.You'll probably see that many products claim to be hypoallergenic (at a low risk of causing allergies). This term is unregulated so there's no research to support this claim. Instead, test a product by applying a coin-sized amount to the skin on your elbow crease. Do this in the morning and at night for up to a week to see if it irritates your skin. If it doesn't, you can use the product. If you see signs of irritation, avoid the product. Signs of irritation include:
- Small bumps
- Burning sensation
Avoid products with parabens.You might be surprised to see products that claim to be natural might contain parabens. Parabens are chemicals used to prevent the growth of microorganisms in cosmetics. Parabens have been associated with cancer so check the label for any ingredients that list paraben as part of the name. For example, avoid methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.
- You should also avoid other toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and petroleum products (including petroleum jelly, petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin.)
Following Safe Skincare Habits
Replace expired products.While many manufactured skincare products contain preservatives, the products do have a shelf life. Expired skincare products may not be as effective and may grow bacteria so it's important to toss your old skincare products. In general, throw out:
- Swipe-on pads after 2 months or when they dry out
- Peels and masks after 3 months
- Acne products after 4 months (consider refrigerating them)
- Retinoid creams after 9 to 11 months
- Sunscreens after one or two years
- Moisturizing creams after 1 year
- Grainy scrubs after 2 years
Avoid some products if you're pregnant or nursing.Pregnancy is a sensitive time for your growing baby. While your baby is developing, exposure to chemicals from skincare products could cause health problems. This is why it's even more important to make or find natural skincare products. Try to cut back on wearing skincare products or cosmetics during pregnancy and avoid products that contain hormone disrupting chemicals if you're nursing.
- Common hormone disrupting chemicals include triclosan (found in hand sanitizers), parabens (found in skincare and cosmetic products), BPA, lead, and mercury.
Simplify your skincare routine.Use as few products with as few ingredients as possible. This way, if your skin reacts to something in a product, you'll easily be able to determine what ingredient caused the reaction. Also, the more ingredients in a product, the greater the chance that they may interact and cause health problems.
- Teens use 17 products on average and adults use an average of 12 products a day. This can mean an average use of almost 170 different ingredients.
Reduce the amount of product you use on your babies or children.Since babies and children are still developing, they're more sensitive to ingredients in skincare products. Try to cut back on the number of products you use on your babies or children since these have never been tested for safety in babies and children.
- Choose products with no fragrance since fragrances (parfum) can cause irritation or allergies in small children.
- Minimize product use, but be sure to protect your kids. For example, apply sunblock, but remember to cover your child's head with a hat when you're all out in the sun.
QuestionI use Neutrogena Deep Clean Oil Free cleansing wipes, are these okay? Are parabens safe?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are many different schools of thought on the use of parabens in cosmetics. Parabens are preservatives that prevent bacteria growth and prolong the shelf life of a product. Parabens are considered xenoestrogens and at very high levels may disrupt estrogen levels in the body. Many claim that they can cause cancer, however, there is no scientific evidence directly linking parabens to any form of cancer. Be mindful of parabens, but there is no need to change the products that you use if they are working for you.Thanks!
Video: My Natural skincare routine| Amy maxine
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