What you put on your body matters just as much as what you put in your body.
For some reason, we often forget this huge point. We think – every product on the market is safe. I mean, it’s been tested for safety, right?
The truth is there are many health and beauty products with questionable safety profiles. My good friend Heather Vitone posted about this back in October – you can read that here.
Today my guest post is by Dr. Anne Kennard, an Integrative Medicine and OB/GYN physician who also holds the credentials as a yoga instructor, herbalist and nutritionist and cook. She has a new cookbook that was just released that blends these worlds into one easy to follow, hand-held guide. You can check it out here.
Today’s post highlights key things to look for in healthy skin and beauty products. Plus it includes 2 home recipes to get your started on your healthy skin journey. Enjoy!
Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.Renee Rouleau
Personal Care Products
For the sake of our coral reefs and human health, avoid chemical suscreens made with oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate and the worst, (and most pervasive), oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has a direct hormonal effect as a weak estrogen and potent anti-androgen and is absorbed readily through the skin. Once discontinued, blood levels of the chemical drop dramatically.
What should you use? Choose mineral sunscreen consisting of zinc and titanium and use sunscreen as a last resort. Favor UPF clothes to cover skin, avoiding sun during peak times of 10 am to 2 pm, find shade and wear sunglasses.
Choose non-aluminum products and avoid “antiperspirants.” Perspiring is a healthy way to regulate temperature and shed toxins. Better to keep an extra shirt on hand, than to avoid sweating. I prefer Lume deodorant, Schmidts, Native or homemade deodorant.
Cosmetics and Body Products
What to Avoid:
- Avoid “long last” lipsticks and chemical sunscreens in cosmetic products.
- Avoid any added “fragrance” as these often contain phthalates.
- Avoid sulfates in shampoos when possible.
- Avoid parabens in facial soaps and lotions.
- Avoid any soap that is advertised as “antibacterial”
- Avoid triclosan as an ingredient, which is associated with hormonal disruption.
What to Look For:
- Choose mineral products whenever possible. Not only do these have fewer toxins. This includes mineral-based sunscreen as well.
- Use non-chemical moisturizers such as coconut oil and shea butter
- Look for essential oils that have natural antibacterial properties, like lavender used in the recipe below. Check out this link for a list of 10 antibacterial essential oils.
Check the database at www.ewg.org/skindeep for specific product recommendations.
SKIN LOVE SALVE RECIPE
Dr. Anne Kennard
This salve is wonderful for soothing, calming inflammation, and providing barrier protection for diaper rash, eczema, and other skin irritations. It is safe for use on sensitive skin, including for infants and the elderly. The sunflower oil absorbs well and acts as natural barrier protection along with the beeswax, and the shea butter is wonderfully nourishing. The lavender is anti-inflammatory and relaxing, and the Vitamin E is an antioxidant and nourishes the skin.
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 oz beeswax, grated
- 1 oz shea butter
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp Vitamin E oil
In a double boiler, gently heat the sunflower oil. Add the shea butter and beeswax, stirring until melted. Take a spoonful and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to harden, to test the consistency. If too soft, add more beeswax, 1-2 Tablespoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Easy Lotion Bars Recipe
I personally have made these numerous times and LOVE them! I keep a bar by every sink in my house because Colorado winters are DRY DRY DRY!
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup shea butter, cocoa butter, or mango butter (or a mix of all three)
- 1 cup beeswax
- optional: essential oils of choice
- optional: 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- Combine all ingredients (except essential oils if using) in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it. UPDATE: Low maintenance approach: Combine ingredients in a quart-size glass mason jar and place jar in a small saucepan of water until melted. This will save your bowl and you can just designate this jar for these type of projects and not even need to wash it out!
- Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat, let cool a bit, and add any desired essential oils and/or vitamin E.
- Gently stir by hand until essential oils are incorporated.
- Carefully pour into molds or whatever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden in (ideas below). I used silicone baking cups for easy removal, though any mold would work.
- Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds. These could be made in different shaped molds for different holiday gifts (hearts for Valentine’s Day, flowers for Mother’s Day, etc.) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.
What do you think? Are you ready to make 1 change in your skin and beauty routine for better health? Leave yours below!
Dr. Anne Kennard Dr. Anne Kennard, DO, FACOG, is a Board Certified OB/GYN and Fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine through the University of Arizona with Dr. Andrew Weil. She is a certified yoga and meditation instructor, with a specialization in prenatal and pelvic floor yoga, studied herbal medicine with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Here website can be found here and her book here.