Women use an average of 12 skin-care products daily. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), those products contain an average of, gulp, 168 chemicals. What’s more, your skin absorbs up to 60 percent of those chemicals. (Men use an average of six products daily, with 85 unique ingredients, according to the EWG.)
It’s good that we’re paying attention to our skin: “It is a living, breathing system, not a mere inert covering that simply holds your bones, muscles and organs together,” says Stephanie Tourles, a licensed holistic aesthetician and author of Pure Skin Care (Storey, 2018). It needs consistent TLC to maintain its smooth texture as you age, but spending an exorbitant amount of money on your skin care doesn’t always pay off, says Tourles, and the chemicals can contribute to premature aging. To head off aging and look your best:
- Use a body brush: Body brushing naturally activates the lymphatic/detox system to promote a youthful, healthy glow. With a medium-soft natural-fiber body brush, begin by brushing your hands, and then work up to your arms, underarms, neck, chest and upper back. Next, brush each leg, beginning with the feet and moving up to the calves, thighs, groin, buttocks, lower back, sides and stomach. Avoid the face, breasts and genitals, and brush toward the heart, without ever scrubbing. Bathe as usual.
- Go au naturel: Avoid chemicals and instead choose products with natural, nourishing ingredients, such as jojoba oil, sunflower oil, olive oil (preferably organic Tuscan, says Tourles), lavender and white cosmetic clay.
- Hydrate (your skin, that is): Fill a 1- to 2-ounce dark-glass bottle with purified water, and, if desired, six drops of your favorite skin-pampering essential oil, such as lavender, rose or chamomile, for each ounce of water. Shake well, and spray a light mist on your face whenever you’re outside, up to every hour, for supple (aka, young-looking) skin.
- Follow a proper skin-care regime: “I see extreme minimalists who use only water on their skin and those who feel the need to use every product available,” says Tourles. Find the balance: First, determine your current skin type: normal, oily, dry or a combination. Then use a cleanser to remove makeup and pollutants; a toner or astringent for deeper cleaning and hydration; a facial oil to promote elasticity and glow; and, finally, if your skin is normal to dry, a moisturizer for your face and a body lotion applied from the shoulders down.
DIY for Your Skin
According to Juliette Goggin, author of Handmade Spa (Jacqui Small, 2018), many commercial skin-care products don’t contain adequate amounts of skin-supporting ingredients. These books show you how to make your own products. It’s easy, really!
Handmade Spa: Natural Treatments to Revive and Restore reminds you that spa treatments for relaxation and longevity have a long, worldwide history, and shows you how to tap into this much-needed restorative practice at home. Recipes for hair, skin and body are elegant and go a few steps beyond beauty, with a Relaxing and Calming Reed Diffuser, Sleepy Herbal Tea Infusion, Incense Cones, and Lavender and Hops Pillow Mist.
Pure Skin Care: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Skin & Natural Beauty is full of information about the skin and how to care for it, providing you a solid foundation before you even get to the kitchen to start mixing. Recipes run the gamut, from balms and cleansers to toners and moisturizers, as well as much-needed recipes you may not think of, like After-Sun Aloe Spray and No More Calluses Foot Soak.