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Skin Care Tips: Common and Effective Natural Ingredients
 
 

Skin Care Tips: Common and Effective Natural Ingredients

SHEA NUTS



Article Overview

In this article, you will learn the amazing range of benefits of natural skin care ingredients, as well as the most common natural ingredients you will see in many commercial products.

We will also explore natural oils and butters that are beneficial to the skin, as well as common plants and fruits that can increase your skin's health. Finally, we'll touch on the importance of natural exfoliates and just how easy they are to make and use.

Section 1. Benefits of Natural Ingredients


There are so many benefits to using natural products for your skin. Not only are they better for the environment and reduce health problems, natural ingredients can deliver amazing results. Below are just a few:
  • Natural oils and butters sink deep into the skin and moisturize, instead of leaving a deceptive, but non-nourishing coating like most synthetic products.

  • Ingredients from the earth are much less likely to irritate your skin, although people with specific allergies should always use caution.

  • Natural oils, such as sweet almond oil are very similar to the natural oil secreted by your skin.

  • Fruit and other natural exfoliants gently remove dead skin, without the painful burning and peeling associated with chemical products.

  • Many plant based formulations are healing and have the ability to reduce the appearance of burns, wounds, and stretch marks.

  • Natural products can help you to gently reduce acne and blemishes.

Section 2. Natural Oils and Butters
Nature contains many natural moisturizers that are very nourishing and healing to your skin. Natural oils and butters are pressed from the pits and seeds of various fruits. The oil is separated from the pulp and then minimally processed into a usable moisturizer.
Some of the most common and beneficial natural moisturizers are:
Olive oil is pressed from the olive pit and is one of the most versatile and beneficial oils. Not only used for cooking, olive oil is excellent as a skin and hair moisturizer. Olive oil is heavier than some other oils, but is filled with nutrients. Olive oil is very beneficial for those with dry skin, to use in exfoliating scrubs and to soften elbows and feet.
Sweet almond oil is one of the most absorbent oils, as it is almost identical in makeup to your body's natural oil (sebum). It is light and has a slightly nutty aroma. This oil is usually well tolerated even for people with oily skin.
Apricot kernel oil is a medium density oil that is frequently used in skin care preparations, or as a carrier oil for essentials oils (to dilute them). Apricot kernel oil is also beneficial used on its own, and is similar in scent to sweet almond oil.
Avocado oil is a thick (but not greasy) and pulpy feeling oil from the moisture-rich avocado pit. It contains many moisturizing agents and plumps up the skin. For this reason, avocado oil is often used in face scrubs and facial moisturizers.
Want to learn more? Take an online course in Natural Skin Care.
Shea butter is one of the most popular natural moisturizers and is a thick yellow or white butter that is solid at room temperature. However, it melts at body temperature when rubbing it between your palms, or on your skin. Shea butter has amazing moisturizing benefits and also helps to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Many people with thick hair also use Shea butter to lock in moisture and shine.
Cocoa butter is another solid butter and has long been popular as a moisturizer for the lips and body. The cocoa like aroma is intoxicating, and the butter is often used to help fade dark marks and reduce the appearance of scars. Cocoa butter is often mixed with shea butter and other oils in skin care formulations.
Jojoba oil is a heavier oil and you only need a little to get a lot of moisture. Jojoba is great for soothing an irritated scalp, hair growth and to sooth the itchiness of eczema and psoriasis. Because of its thickness, Jojoba oil is often mixed with a thinner oil for a lighter consistency.
Argan oil comes from Morocco and has been used for centuries as a natural beauty aid. The supple oil helps to smooth and prevent wrinkles and to increase collagen and elastin production. Argan is one of the more expensive natural oils, but well worth the price.

Coconut oil is a very versatile oil and can be used for cooking, eaten by the spoonful for health, and used as a natural moisturizer. Coconut oil is a staple in Polynesian cultures and is revered for its beauty and anti-aging benefits.

Section 3. The Benefits of Plants and Fruits in Skin Care
Mother Nature contains an abundance of restorative and beauty enhancing botanicals. There are many common plants and fruits that are of benefit to the skin, including:
Aloe Vera is one of the most universally renowned plants for healing burns and wounds, as well as providing moisture to the skin when applied topically. Aloe vera juice and gel can also be ingested to improve bowel function and overall health.
Lemons are an excellent source of alpha hydroxy acids, which help to remove dull, dead skin. They are also rich in antioxidants, which combat free-radical damage. Lemons are also great for cleansing the skin and reducing hyper-pigmentation.
Oranges contain Vitamin C, which helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles. Being from the citrus family, oranges are also rich in alpha hydroxy acids and are very beneficial for exfoliation.

Avocado is a wonder fruit for the skin. Not only does avocado impart moisture and have anti-aging benefits, it also helps to reduce the appearance of sunburn and age spots. An avocado mashed up with honey makes an excellent moisturizing face mask.

Section 4. Natural Exfoliates

Exfoliation is a very important part of a healthy skin care routine. Your skin cells regenerate roughly every 29 days. If the dead skin is not removed, this leads to build up and a dull, ashen complexion.

There are many natural substances that provide thorough, yet gentle exfoliation. You can mix these with honey, aloe, glycerin, or natural oils to make a decadent and invigorating exfoliating scrub. Some of the best natural exfoliates are:

  • White Sugar

  • Brown Sugar

  • Ground Coffee

  • Salt

These items not only gently remove dead skin, they have other benefits as well. Coffee has antioxidant properties and also helps to tighten the skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite. Sugar adds moisture to the skin as it exfoliates, and helps to reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation. Also, salt is detoxifying and draws out impurities from the skin. Using natural exfoliates is a gentle and healing addition to any skin care routine.

Food for Thought

Were you aware of any of the benefits of the natural ingredients listed? Which of the items have you tried before? What might you like to add to your routine?

Conclusion

There are numerous natural ingredients to choose from that are both effective and pampering. Natural ingredients have a range of benefits, including wrinkle reduction, exfoliation, and moisturizing and are much less toxic than traditional products.
Healing With Natural Skin Care
Objectives

In this section, you will learn which natural ingredients and techniques are effective in healing common skin issues, including burns, eczema, and stretch marks.

Section 1. The Nature of Skin

Your skin is resilient, but at the same time very fragile. As your largest organ, your skin can sustain a lot of wear and tear over time, but can easily repair itself if well supported.

For centuries, people around the world have used herbs, plants, and oils to heal any number of skin ailments. Indigenous cultures such as the Native Americans, East Indians, and Africans are especially reverent of the power nature possesses to beautify and heal. To be effective in healing skin problems, a working knowledge of the anatomy of skin is beneficial.

Your skin is made up of three layers:
  • The Epidermis – The topmost, visible layer of skin that is most affected by sun exposure, cuts, and burns. This layer is the easiest to damage and the effects are clearly visible. The epidermis is actually made up of five layers of skin, and the top two are slick dead skin cells that needs to be exfoliated regularly.

  • The Dermis- The second layer of skin contains the skin's stores of collagen and elastin -- which give it that plump and firm appearance. Most commercial chemical skin care products do not penetrate to this level, so they are minimally effective. The dermis also houses the skin's oil and sweat glands, as well as blood vessels.

  • The Hypodermis is the lowest and supporting layer of skin that is largely made up of fat and connective tissue. Large blood vessels course through this layer and provide oxygen and nutrients.

Each layer of skin has its specific functions and requirements. If you are looking to nourish your skin and provide deep penetrating moisture, natural products are much better than synthetic chemical concoctions. In fact, your skin has to work harder to filter out the harsh chemicals and often cannot get rid of them all. This often leads to toxicity and allergic skin rashes.

Section 2. Healing Cuts, Burns, and Stings

The body has the miraculous ability to heal and nature contains many elements that aid in the healing process. Natural skin care oils and plant essences can speed healing time, reduce scar tissue and marks and reduce itch. Below are some easy and natural ways to aid healing.

Emu oil, which is a natural oil derived from the fat of the emu bird, has been used by Aboriginal Australians for centuries. It has many properties, among them being that it is very healing and able to penetrate all three layers of the skin. It has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, so it is beneficial for keeping wounds and burns from getting infected as they heal. In fact, surgeons have recently experimented with using emu oil on scars post-surgery and observed faster healing and a much lighter scar than usual.

Aloe vera is one of the best salves to place on a burn. Many people keep a plant growing in their kitchen and break off a leaf as needed to sooth burns while cooking. When using aloe vera, the prickly leaf is split open and the cool soothing gel applied to the burn. It absorbs the heat and imparts healing and moisture to the affected area.

Essential oils(concentrated plant oils) such as tea tree oil, lavender, and chamomile reduce the itching from bug bites. Also, clove, eucalyptus, and patchouli oils can be an effective insect repellent. Essential oils are very potent, so always dilute in a carrier oil (sweet almond, apricot kernel, etc.) before applying to skin.

Natural clay, such as Rhassoul, Bentonite, or French clay can be applied as a poultice or pack to help heal cuts, burns, and stings. As it dries, the clay draws toxins from the skin. Clay packs are also beneficial as facials to draw out excess oil and blackheads.

Section 3. Healing Eczema, Psoriasis, and Other Skin Irritations

Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are often caused by an allergy or imbalance inside of the body. They can also be caused by a strong reaction to harsh shampoo, artificial perfumes, and many other synthetic and environmental factors. These issues should be investigated and treated; however in the meantime, there are natural ingredients that can be applied to the skin to help sooth the itch and heal the often dry and cracked skin.

Emu oil is once again one of the best treatments for eczema and psoriasis. This is because it is anti-inflammatory and helps to sooth cracked and oozing skin. In addition, it helps the area stay clean and allows optimal healing due to its antibacterial properties. The fact that Emu oil can penetrate so deeply also provides relief for dry parched skin.

Chamomile cream is very effective for reducing the severity of the redness and itchy skin associated with eczema. In a recent study, researchers found that it outperformed normally-prescribed hydrocortisone cream.

Virgin Coconut oil can be rubbed on the skin and also eaten to help heal eczema. Coconut oil contains essential fatty acids, which help to heal skin and reduce inflammation. Coconut oil softens the skin and reduces cracks and blisters.

Castor oil and shea butter are both thick oils that can coat and sooth painfully itchy patches of eczema, especially for children. These oils can be a godsend for severe eczema that becomes so inflamed that it can cause you to draw blood from scratching so much.

Section 4. Fading Dark Spots and Stretch Marks

The number of products on the market claiming to reduce dark marks, whiten skin, and reduce stretch marks is astronomical. Unfortunately, most of the ingredients that are used in these products can be irritating to the skin and some of them are extremely dangerous. Many of these ingredients have been banned for use in the United States, but products containing harmful fading agents continue to make their way into the country.

Two of the more harmful ingredients include:

Hydroquinone- an extremely toxic ingredient often found in fade creams and facial moisturizers. This ingredient has been shown to cause cancer, interfere with developmental and reproductive health, as well as cause allergies and impair the immune system.

Some products with the highest levels of Hydroquinone include "Palmer's Skin Success Fade Milk Lotion" and the entire Skin Success product line. Also, "Esoterica" fade products, "Ambi" fade creams and "Physician's Complex" 6 percent bleaching cream.

Mercury- is an ingredient that has been banned for use in skin ingredients in most Western countries because it is extremely toxic. Mercury blocks the body's ability to produce melanin (skin pigment), so it can be effective in reducing dark marks, but at a great cost.

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin which can cause memory problems, dizziness, and body tremors, among other things. Mercury can also cause severe birth defects and developmental delays. Although its use is banned, fade creams containing mercury are manufactured in countries such as China, India, and Mexico. These products are illegally sold in the U.S. and have had a devastating affect on many people. In fact the FDA and the New York City Department of Health are focusing on illegal sales of mercury-containing fade creams.

Safe Natural Alternatives to Fade Creams
The harmful fade creams are sold in such large numbers because people are looking for instant gratification and unnatural results. There are however, many natural products that can be used to achieve the desired affects, but in some cases they may not be as dramatic or quick. This is ok, because in essence, changes that are too dramatic usually look unnatural and forced.

Some natural alternatives to fade creams include:

  • Lemon juice

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Orange juice and yogurt facial mask

  • Honey, milk and lemon facial pack

  • Shea Butter

  • Emu Oil

Food for Thought

Is there anyone in your family or circle of friends who uses natural plants and oils to treat their skin? Have you or any of your friends experimented with lightening creams? What were your results? What are your thoughts now that you are aware of the toxic chemicals they contain?

Conclusion

Your skin is a strong, yet at the same time delicate organ. In the desperation to correct perceived skin problems, many women are subjecting their bodies to very harmful chemicals. There are natural alternatives available that can work effectively, without the harmful side effects.
 
 
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