I attended a seminar yesterday talking about herbal solutions for skin problems. We all get (well I know I do) overwhelmed and confused by the information about the “bad” ingredients in shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, hand creams, washing powders, detergent, etc etc etc.
One thing is sure and that is that there are a huge amount of ingredients in most products that can cause skin irritation, particularly eczema; or aggravate existing skin complaints.
Many existing skin complaints could be lessened or even disappear if certain products were discontinued.
Anything that foams has ingredients that can be especially aggravating for people with skin sensitivity or skin ailments. Hence using these products as little as possible is recommended.
These foaming products contain surfactants and two of the main ones are sodium laurel and laureth sulfate.
Of course there are a whole lot more and like I said anything that foams will have them in it. One of the things that they do is strip all the water from the skin and it can take 7 days to get back in to balance. How often do we wash our hair or the dishes. Then we apply commercial moisturisers to our skin which contain another different set of nasties. Again it feels good for a little while but they also dry out and irritate our skin long-term.
There are in truth hundreds more reasons (ingredients) not to use any of these products but what do we use instead.
WHAT TO USE INSTEAD
BALMS and OINTMENTS. That is why I started making my balms all those years ago, they are simple and pure and require no preservatives. What you see is what you get. The beeswax and oil base carries the organic herbal extracts,? as well as the Olive oil? enhancing the absorbtion of the active ingredients. Synergistic on every level.
‘NATURAL’ CREAMS. This really is a tricky one as I have discovered since making our own range of creams. Part of what makes a cream a cream is the water content. Bacteria and mould love water and without fail they will grow in any cream unless it has some form of preservative. Most of the commercial creams and lotions contain preservatives that release formaldehyde, which is recognised as very powerful skin irritant.
The preservative (Geogard Ultra) which we use has been ecocertified for use in certified organic products. It does utilise a different process of preservation, rather than killing the microbes, it makes the environment less amenable to microbe growth and proliferation. Because of these factors these types of products do have a shorter shelf life. That is one of the seeming comprimises that we make when we choose a more nature-based way of living.
VEGETABLE OILS When my son was a baby (30 years ago) I had no desire to use on him soaps, talcs, or shampoo. I had a natural instinct that his skin was in balance and all of those man-made products were drying and irritating. What I used to do after his occasional bath was grease him up with extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil and give him a baby massage.? He loved it and I loved it. His skin and hair were beautiful and he has never had any skin problems to date.
Coconut oil is another fantastic oil to use, all those ethnic cultures can’t be wrong. Pacific Islanders have traditionally used oil on their skin and hair. Indian people use oil on their hair as well.
VINEGAR FINAL HAIR RINSE. This is another thing I subjected to my kids to as well. After washing and conditioning your hair (if that’s what you do) Do a final rinse with a dilution of apple cider vinegar 1 part to 10 of water. Leave it in and the smell will soon disappear. The vinegar? re-establishes the PH balance, and that has got to be good. Another natural conditioner is to steep some rosemary in boiling water and strain off for the final rinse.
This is only touching the surface of so many possibilties of everyday things you can use for personal and health-care. And it is fun too. Saves money and brings us back in touch with the earth, the plants and trees.
Plant a rosemary bush, buy some apple cider vinegar, start throwing out a few of your yukkies and just replace them one at a time with something that is kinder to you and our planet.