Natural skin care may bring to mind dubious mud treatments or green, plant-based concoctions. But natural skin care is more than hippie inspired treatments or earthy packaging. There are many natural skin care tips that we would all do well to follow, especially if we care about the ingredients going into our body and on our skin. Below we go over a few of the best natural skin care tips to make your daily routine a little simpler and a little cleaner.
Pay attention to what goes in your body
The truth is that natural skin care is about what you put into your body as much as it is about what you put on it. Eating a balanced diet with loads of veggies, a healthy dose of fruits and plenty of good fats may not sound very exciting but it is the best and most fundamental way to take care of your skin. It also means you need to avoid processed and harmful ingredients.
One of the most damaging substances for your skin is sugar. Sugar is known to cause inflammation in the body, which can dehydrate skin and cause premature aging. Equally important to what you eat is what you drink. Hydrate with plenty of water to keep your body and digestion running smoothly. Two things which are intimately linked to skin health.
Sweat the bad stuff out
Another not-so-fun natural beauty tip is, you guessed it, exercise. When you sweat, you get rid of toxins in your body such as alcohol, cholesterol and salt. Not to mention exercise keeps your body in prime condition and tones your muscles, things which can only make your skin look great. Some studies even show that sweating helps protect skin from bacteria by secreting a natural antibiotic called dermcidin.
The key thing to remember about skin care and exercise though is that the very impurities sweating helps remove can also cause breakouts if you allow the sweat to sit on your skin for too long. So after a workout, remember to cleanse your skin or use a face wipe to remove the built-up sweat from your face.
Avoid harsh & toxic ingredients
Most skin care products have a long list of ingredients with barely pronounceable names. While not all chemicals are bad, and many are, in fact, highly beneficial to your skin, there are also many you should avoid. The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit helping people sort out the bad from the good. Backed up by extensive research, their Skin Deep database rates ingredients in personal care products. They also list the ingredients that should be avoided.
For shopping, here’s a handy guide of how to know if a product is safe for your skin.
Start at the end, with preservatives. Avoid:
- Words ending in “paraben”
- oDMDM hydantoin
- oImidazolidinyl urea
- oTriethanolamine (or “TEA”)
· Check the beginning of the ingredients lists, where soaps, surfactants, and lubricants show up. Try to avoid ingredients that start with “PEG” or have an “-eth” in the middle (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
· Read the ingredients in the middle. Look for these words: “FRAGRANCE,” “FD&C,” or “D&C.”
Other ingredients to steer clear from:
· Boric acid and Sodium borate
· Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine)
· Formaldehyde releasers – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15
· Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Benzisothiazolinone
· Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens)
· PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds
· Petroleum distillates
· Triclosan & Triclocarban
· Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinol)
Exfoliate & Moisturize
Your body is constantly shedding skin cells. These cells end up building up on your skin and can cause breakouts and dullness. That’s why exfoliating and dry brushing your skin regularly is essential. Exfoliation scrubs off the old skin, leaving fresh, renewed skin underneath. Read more on the practice of dry brushing and consider adding exfoliation to your facial regimen two to three times a week.
After cleansing and exfoliating, your skin is in need of some moisture. Keeping your skin moisturized is one of the best things you can do to keep it looking young and supple. Choose a moisturizer that is ideal for your skin type, ensuring that it is free of toxic ingredients. For people with non-oily skin, natural oils and fats like olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter, can be a great natural option for giving your skin the hydration it needs.
Try some homemade treatments
While you definitely don’t need to make all of your own beauty treatments to get a more natural skin care routine, it doesn’t hurt to try some natural concoctions every once a while, especially when you probably already have many of the ingredients in your kitchen. In this guide to a few easy homemade beauty treatments, you can try a honey and coconut oil facial cleanser or a tea toner and relax a little while they soak in knowing exactly what’s going onto your face. Oh, and don’t forget to keep tabs on your skin health in general.