Editor’s Note: As you know, this blog usually concerns MOMAS’ ongoing efforts to protect our kids from environmental and household toxins. However, caring for ourselves is part of caring for our kids. In this spirit, we bring you this article about how to take care of your skin. If you are pregnant and/or nursing, it is especially important to think about the products you put on your skin since the skin is the largest organ of our body.
By, Laurel Shaffer, the owner and formulator of Sequoia Beauty skin care line.
So every once and a while we get someone who loves our products and our brand, but their skin still isn’t quite where they want it to be. Maybe they have used Balance Serum for a few weeks, but are still experiencing breakouts, or perhaps they don’t understand why they haven’t seen a larger diminish in their fine lines……
Well, let me tell you, EVERY time I dig a little bit deeper into that person’s skin care regime, I always find the same thing: At least one of these 5 ‘Don’ts’!
NO ALCOHOL! Shocking, shocking, shocking. Even the most high-end of skin care lines usually use alcohol, sometimes even as ingredient #2 or #3! Yuck! Look at all your labels, if there’s any form of alcohol near the top of list (especially in your cleansers & toners), its time to find a new use for that product: To clean your kitchen counters. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of wine, but harsh ethanol and its sister ingredients are not welcome on my glowing visage. Even witch hazel is an alcohol! The only way witch hazel is not an alcohol is if it says ‘witch hazel hydrosol’ or witch hazel floral water – ours is a water that we get straight from a farm, not an alcohol.
NO FOAMING CLEANSERS! … really. I say this, and I say this…. no one ever believes me until they actually commit to ‘no foam’. If you have normal to dry skin, you have absolutely no excuse for using a foaming cleanser. Its stripping your oh-so-amazing lipid layer away, and accelerating the aging process. No thank you! And those of you with oily skin, I do understand your hesitation, but trust me that the more you strip that lipid layer & acid mantle away, the more distressed your skin will become, the more rapidly it will over produce that oil by overcompensating. It may take your skin a week or two to adjust to this ‘no foam’ commitment, but in 5 years when you look younger than you did when you were using a foaming cleanser – you will understand what happened.
WAX BASED MAKEUP WITHOUT WASHING YOUR FACE. I’m not a huge fan of wax based makeup to begin with… I usually prefer mineral makeup (Alima Pure is my favorite). (Vapour Organics is one of the few wax based makeups I approve of.) Just make sure you are washing it off at night! When I can go one or two weeks without makeup, my skin is so happy with this choice its obvious. And when I spend 1 solitary night not washing it off because I’m too tired – whoa! I wake up looking like I set myself back by a few years!
DAILY SUNSCREEN WITHOUT WASHING YOUR FACE. Those of you who have ever spoken to me, know I am not a sunscreen fan. I don’t wear them. And my skin couldn’t be happier about this decision. However, I understand aging, skin cancer, sun damage — these are real things. But you have to understand what it is you are putting on your skin and when you need it. Do you really need that 30+SPF as you walk from your house to the car to the office to the car and back to your house? Or could you use 20 minutes of Vitamin D? When you are outside for longer periods of time, and you need a sunscreen, just make sure you wash it off afterwards. The only sunscreens that haven’t been linked to health problems are the ones containing Non-Nano Zinc as their active ingredient. But Non-Nano Zinc sits on the surface of the skin — it doesn’t absorb. Thats the whole point of it being Non-Nano! So wash it off at the end of your day to prevent breakouts, drying out the skin, and further redness or irritation. I recommend Badger for those beach days and hiking treks, and Marie Veronique Organics when your skin needs to be make-up ready.
NO CARCINOGENS. Most of the time when I tell people this, they say ‘oh I only use natural products’, or ‘my stuff doesn’t have parabens’. I beg to differ. I know of about 3 organic skin care lines off the top of my head that do not contain carcinogens. None of them are carried at Whole Foods, or Nordstrom— you have to search for these clean lines; they are underground! It is not easy to make products without carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or toxins; otherwise everyone would be doing it. Are there carcinogens in your products? Read your label. If there’s a word that is not something you could find in a kitchen or a garden, look it up on EWG or PubMed to find out what health studies it may be linked to. Sometimes I hear, ‘I’m willing to put chemicals or carcinogens on my skin, because I need skin care that works’. HUH??? A cancer cell is basically just an abnormal cell. Exposing your skin to carcinogens and chemicals over and over and over will absolutely create abnormal cells. And abnormal cells are damaged DNA — and damaged DNA is AGING. Carcinogens in skin care are accelerating the aging process. The purer the product, the better the long term results on your skin.
As harsh as it may seem, those are 5 things I would never do to my skin. Support your skin, love your skin. Give it all the tools it needs to thrive and be healthy.
For more information, visit these websites:
Laurel Shaffer is the owner and formulator of Sequoia Beauty skin care line. She studied physiology as well as herbal materia medica at the California School of Herbal Studies. Laurel is first and foremost a plant loving herbalist, who also loves all things healing. She loves the spa and resort life, organic farming, beauty products, health, and science. Well… somehow when you add all those things together, that translated into a skin care line!