I am always amazed by the products that are put into skin care lotions and potions that are advertised as natural and we are expected to believe are good for our skin. Many of the products that I have tried from supposedly pure skin care brands are way too strong and/or highly scented (with ‘natural’ oils) for my skin. Essential oils are a particular bug bear of mine because they are very intense medicinal quality products and truly not good for regular use (or at all?) on our skin and yet so many people persist in believing they will do wonders if used on our skin every day. I find them too strong, drying and irritating to my skin and nose.
Lavender oil, for example, is bad for skin and yet it is in so many products and its presence is advertised as a selling point! The Paula’s Choice website which is a site devoted to providing information on the effects of various substances that go into skin care products states that lavender oil can have a damaging effect on the skin in as little a concentration as 0.25%. Cancer patients on the Gerson Diet treatment are warned to stay away from all skin care products giving rosewater a special mention because of the essential rose oil in it. They consider it a toxin and their patients need to reduce as much toxicity in their body as possible to enable healing to take place.
I always look for products that are unscented, with no essential oils, and have little to no chemicals added. This has usually led me to oil based products with ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, etc. Recently I found out to my great disappointment that coconut oil is not actually good for our skin because it is comedogenic meaning that it tends to clog pores. Coconut oil used to be my one product does it all product and it felt great to radically simplify my skin care routine. But I had begun to notice that my skin didn’t always feel great with just coconut oil.
This made me begin to question what, if anything, is truly good for our skin. I began to wonder why, if refined oils are toxic to eat, do we put them on our skin? I also began to wonder if hydration is the key to skin care rather than moisturization. My basic understanding of the difference is that hydration is about adding water to our skin and moisturization is about creating a barrier to seal in the water. Both are working on making sure our skin has enough water, but a barrier to the skin doesn’t sound good to me so surely the focus should be on hydration.
If moisturization is removed from the process then we are left with either letting nature (i.e. not using any products) and a water rich diet do its thing and hydrate us from within or switching to the cleanest most pure hydrating products we can find (plus the water rich diet of course!).
There seems to be some support for my theory. Even a quick search online led me to the following article where a leading dermatologist says that moisturizers are completely unnecessary and that they actually hinder our skin’s natural ability to hydrate:
I am going to embark on an experiment and give up oil based moisturizers and see where it leads me…wish me luck or better yet join me and let me know how it goes!