by Jennifer Hollie Bowles
New England weather can be brutal on skin with its many changes – often within one day alone! Any exposed skin gets assaulted by the severe weather. Traditional skin care products, however, are usually loaded with chemicals!
Here’s a sample list of chemicals that are found in most skin care products: Dioxin – a component of PEGs (polyethylene glycol) and emulsifiers, classified as environmental pollutants with horrible side-effects such as cancer, miscarriage, reduced immunity, and nervous system disorders. Triclosan – a synthetic antibacterial agent, which is listed by the EPA as a pesticide that is harmful to human health. DMDM Hydantoin & Urea – toxic preservatives that release formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer, depression, chronic fatigue, and chest pains. The effects of just breathing formaldehyde have been widely studied and proven to be harmful! From propylene glycol to FD&C color (synthetic colors made out of coal tar), traditional skin products are unhealthy! In 2013, the Huffington Post published a video about the thousands of toxic ingredients found in beauty products. For a natural alternative to these unhealthy commercial products, take a look at the list below:
- – Coconut Oil: Coconut Oil is a wonder oil. Not only is a great for high-heat cooking (without GMOs,), organic cold-pressed coconut oil can be applied directly into dry skin and even hair. It hydrates, softens, and moisturizes wonderfully. It is easy to find, economical, and carried at most drug stores and markets.
- – Honey: This one is messier, but if you’ve been staying inside too much, you may have gotten dark circles under your eyes. If you gently rub honey around your eyes and let it sit for about thirty minutes, your eye skin will feel fantastic and look brighter immediately! You can also apply a honey mask all over your face to take advantage of the antioxidant and moisturizing properties of this gooey skin gem!
- – Neem Oil: If you have combination or oily skin that doesn’t like the cold weather but is prone to break-out, neem oil is a fantastic choice. It’s used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, and is an amazing hydrating, anti-bacterial oil that will clear-up and heal the most frustrated skin! I have a huge bottle of Neem Oil that I purchased online, but I suspect that the wonderful local Ervanaria Estrela shop in New Bedford will carry it!
- – Exfoliation: When I first moved to New England, my skin was in shock because it was used to Southern living. At 35, my face skin had never been dry, but for the first time in my life, I saw dryness and even flakiness. I discovered that if I exfoliate my face (with a rag and firm strokes) for a couple of minutes every day and then apply the coconut oil, it never gets dry anymore. Don’t underestimate the power of getting rid of dead skin cells!
- – Turmeric Mask: You want to go easy on the turmeric, but this is another trick from India. Mix about four tablespoons of flour with about a teaspoon of turmeric (less if you have very fair skin) and olive, coconut, or almond oil to make a good paste. Apply to your face and either gently scrub and rinse immediately, or leave on for about ten minutes. Be careful, though, as turmeric can stain your bathroom sink and your skin if you use too much or leave on too long. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory wonder herb that is used medicinally for everything from arthritis and kidney disorders to diabetes and chemo-prevention. This homemade trick is sure to brighten and enliven your face!