Skin care is not a topic of recent times; it has been in practice since ancient times, when herbal skin care was probably the only way to take care of skin. However, skin care has transformed in a big way. Herbal skin care routines have been replaced by synthetic/chemical-based skin care routines. The herbal skin care recipes which once used to be common place are not so popular today (and even unknown to a large population). This transformation from herbal skin care to synthetic, can probably be attributed to two things – our laziness (or just the fast pace of lives) and the commercialisation of skin care. Even herbal skin care products have been commercialised. These commercial herbal skin care products have to be mixed with preservatives in order to increase their shelf-life, hence making them less effective than the fresh ones made at home. However, it seems that things are changing fast and more people are now opting for natural and herbal skin care routines. But still, none want to make them at home and hence the commercial market of herbal skin care products is on the rise.
So what are these herbs or herbal skin care mechanisms?
Aloe vera, which is an extract from Aloe plant, is one of the best examples of herbal skin care product. Freshly extracted aloe vera is a natural hydrant that helps in soothing skin. It also helps in healing cuts and treating sun burns.
A number of herbs are known to possess cleansing properties. Dandelion, chamomile, lime flowers and rosemary herbs, are a few examples of such cleansers. Their herbal skin care properties get invoked when they are combined with other herbs like tea.
Antiseptics are another important part of Herbal skin care. Lavender, marigold, thyme and fennel are good examples of herbs that are known to possess antiseptic properties. Lavender water and rose water also form good toners.
Tea plays an important part in herbal skin care. Tea extracts are used for treatment of skin that has been damaged by UV radiation.
Oils prepared from herbal extracts present another means of herbal skin care. Tea tree oil, Lavender oil, borage oil and primrose oil are some popular oils used in herbal skin care. Some fruit oils (e.g. extracts from fruits like banana, apple and melon) find use in shower gels (as a hydrating mix)
Homeopathic treatments and aromatherapies also come under the umbrella of herbal skin care remedies.
Herbal skin care is good not only for the routine nourishing of skin but also for treatment of skin disorders like eczema and psorasis. Most herbal skin care products don’t have any side effects (the most important reason for preferring them over synthetic products) Moreover, herbal skin care products can be easily made at home, hence making them even more attractive. So, herbal skin care is the way to go. However, this does not mean that you totally discard the synthetic products. Some people go to the extent of debating with their dermatologist, if he/she suggests a synthetic product. You should accept the fact that some skin orders might need usage of clinically proven non-herbal skin care products.
Vitamin C is often regarded as a wrinkle fighter or an anti-aging agent. The main objective of ‘Vitamin C skin care’, in scientific terms, is to increase the synthesis of collagen (a structural protein that is found in skin). The additional benefit of ‘Vitamin C skin care’ is related to its capability of countering free radicals which cause damage to the skin.
Vitamin C skin care, however, faces a major challenge today. This is related to the oxidation tendency of Vitamin C skin care products. On coming in contact with any oxidising agent (e.g. air), the Vitamin C in the Vitamin C skin care products, gets oxidised; thus making the Vitamin C skin care product useless (in fact counter-effective). The oxidised Vitamin C imparts a yellowish-brown colour to the Vitamin C skin care product. This is something that you need to check before buying a Vitamin C skin care product. Even after you buy a Vitamin C skin care product, you need to store it properly and keep checking that it’s still good to use (i.e. it hasn’t attained a yellowish-brown texture).
The manufacturers of Vitamin C skin care products have tried to deal with this (oxidation) problem in multiple ways (and research on Vitamin C skin care products is on the top of their list). One such method of retaining effectiveness of Vitamin C skin care products for a long term is to keep a high concentration (say 10%) of Vitamin C. However, this makes the Vitamin C skin care products even more expensive. The Vitamin C skin care products are already pretty inexpensive and making them even more expensive will throw the product manufacturers out of business. The other way is to use Vitamin C derivatives (like ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). These are not only more stable but also inexpensive. Even though the derivatives based products are not as effective as the Vitamin C skin care products, their stability against oxidation is a very desirable feature that makes them very attractive. Moreover, these are known to be less irritating too.
Talking of effectiveness of Vitamin C skin care products, it’s important to mention that not everyone responds to Vitamin C treatments. So it’s not a magic potion in any way. If you don’t see a noticeable difference in your skin, it might be because of your skin not responding to Vitamin C treatment (and the Vitamin C skin care products might not be at fault, at all).
As more research goes on, one can only keep our fingers crossed and wait for a complete solution to the challenges faced by ‘Vitamin C skin care’ today.
Essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil before they are massaged into the skin.
The basic recipe should be:
For body massage:
15 drops essential oil
60 ml carrier oil
Face / foot massage:
5 drops essential oil
30 ml carrier oil
Stick to these recipes as it is best to mix only as much as you need each time so that the vital ingredients stay fresh and uncontaminated. If you make more than you need, store any leftovers out of direct sunlight in a tightly stoppered dark glass bottle.
As to as how much oil is enough for each massage, you need to apply enough to make your hands slip but not slide. Start with a small amount of warm oil and spread it on skin with smooth, flowing, rhythmic strokes, adding more to your hands as they start to drag over skin.
The best carrier oils to give enough slip for massage are sweet almond, sunflower or safflower. These are ideal for either body or face, but if you want to treat a particular type of complexion or skin problem as you massage, use one of the carrier oils specifically for facial skin care.
When preparing your oils, first measure out the carrier than add the essential oil, drop by drop, and shake or stir to blend. In general, you should use no more than three essential oils at a time for massage as any more will only mean the individual aromas fight each other rather than blending together.
The Soothing Foot Massage
The feet take more abuse than any other part of the body.
Reward them with a gentle, soothing massage, to spread pleasure throughout your body.
3 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Geranium
30 ml Sunflower oil
For Aching Feet
3 drops of Eucalyptus
2 drops of Chamomile
30 ml Sunflower oil
For Excessive Sweating
5 drops of Lemongrass
30 ml Sunflower oil
For Fungal Infections
3 drops of Tea-tree
2 drops of Geranium
30 ml Sunflower oil
The skin is the interface between the outside world and the inside world of our bodies and therefore is subject to influences from both. It is the first line of defence against invasion by micro-organisms from the outside world; partly because it represents a tough physical barrier and partly because our first line of defence against the outside world, i.e. the immune system, pain, sense of touch, heat and cold act in the skin first and warn us when we are running into trouble.
The skin reacts to adverse events with inflammation. Just seeing inflammation, therefore, does not tell us why there is inflammation, but it tells us there is some sort of noxious event either trying to get in through the skin, or get out through the skin. Thus, eczema may be an allergic reaction to foods, with the antigen coming out of the skin, or to chemicals coming out as part of a detox reaction, as in a drug reaction.
Skin is responsible for making vitamin D through the action of sunshine on the skin. We can use skin to detox using far infrared radiation or as a result of exercise. Skin is also vital for recognition of others.
Almost all skin problems will benefit from minerals and vitamins in creams. A coconut based cream will supply medium chain triglycerides which are the perfect fuel for friendly bacteria on the skin, adding ascorbic acid reduces free radical damage and magnesium stabilises mast cells to make them less irritable. This makes the skin more tolerant of allergens. Using minerals salts will hold water in the skin so hydrating it and again increasing the skin barrier to infections and allergens. Indeed there is good evidence that all these factors will slow the ageing of skin.
Currently people treat synthetic skin care products as being harmful to the skin. For that reason they have become very fussy about there skin and turned to a natural skin care treatment.
Having a skin disorder can mean that you sometimes have to use a synthetic skin care product because you can’t find a natural one to treat your skin disorder. Yet should we banish them? Are they really that damaging to our skin?
These questions have different answers due to the fact that we all have our own point of view. Yet it is proven to be very difficult to find a 100% natural skin care product due to the presence of synthetics preservatives. Some natural skin care products have natural preservatives yet the manufacturers of natural skin care products are not very keen on these because of the shorter shelf life and the costs are really unfavorable.
A natural skin care product can still cause an allergic reaction just as the synthetic ones, although people seem to believe that that’s not the case. They forget that the suitability of a skin care product is not based on whether it is synthetic or natural.
Follow these 3 tips so you know how to choose the best natural skin care product for you:
* The skin type. Do you have an oily, normal, sensitive skin or maybe a mixture?
* In what kind of climate you will use your product e.g. hot and humid condition would warranty the use of oil-free natural skin care products.
* How you use your skin care product. All products are useless if not used in the proper way.
If you don’t mind that your skin care product has a shorter shelf life you could always make your own natural skin care product. That way you are in complete control about the ingredients that goes in your natural skin care product. There are many recipes available on the internet and good books about making these yourself.
When you use a natural skin care product you still need to follow the other aspects of skin care because the natural skin care products are like supplements. The healthy eating habits, drinking water, regular exercise and cleanliness are still necessary to have a complete natural skin care treatment that will help you maintain a healthy, beautiful skin for a long time.
Treating a sensitive skin is done by using some basic rules. Yet we need to be aware of what exactly a sensitive skin is, to fully understand the importance of sensitive skin care treatment. Having a sensitive skin means that the skin can’t endure bad environmental conditions and contact with foreign material which includes skin care products. To make sure you get the right products they are therefore labelled as sensitive skin care products. Because every person is different, the degree of sensitivity will also differ from person to person. That is also the reason why you have different sensitive skin care treatments.
As a rule all skin types will react negatively to detergents and other chemical based products. Though when the tolerance level is crossed that’s where the real damage start. This level is very low for sensitive skin types which is the cause that the skin will get damaged very easily and quickly. By keeping the potential irritants at a very low concentration or avoiding them will mean that these sensitive skin care products will help people with this skin type.
Here are some tips for sensitive skin care:
* Use sensitive skin care products only (i.e. the products that are marked for sensitive skin care). Also, check the instructions/notes on the product to see if there are specific restrictions or warnings associated with the product).
* Even within the range of sensitive skin care products, choose the one that has minimum preservatives, colourings and other additives
* Do not use toners. Most of them are alcohol based and are not recommended for sensitive skin.
* Wear protective gloves when doing laundry or other chemical based cleaning. If you are allergic to rubber, you can wear cotton gloves below the rubber ones.
* Another important tip for ‘sensitive skin care’ is to avoid excessive exposure to sun.
* Avoiding exposure to dust and other pollutants is also important for sensitive skin care. So, cover yourself adequately before going out.
* When you can’t find a sensitive skin moisturizer than use a hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic moisturizer.
* Use soap-free and alcohol free cleansers. Cleanse your face whenever you return from spending time out doors.
* Do not scrub or exfoliate too hard. It can cause redness in the face and even inflammation.
* Do not leave the make-up on for too long. Use hypoallergenic make-up removers.
Having a sensitive skin is very different from the normal skin care and is all about being careful with your skin especially using skin care products and protecting it against environments atrocities.
We all know the importance of ‘personal skin care’. The opinion on how-to (for personal skin care) differs from person to person. Some people believe that going to beauty parlours every other day is personal skin care. Others believe that personal skin care is just a matter of applying some cream or lotion on your skin, every now and then. Then there are people who think that personal skin care is an event that happens once a month or once a year. Still others busy themselves with ‘personal skin care’ all the time. However, personal skin care is not that complicated and neither is it that expensive (considering how beneficial it is). Personal skin care is following a routine or a procedure for attending to the needs of your skin.
Even before you start with a routine, you need to determine your skin-type (oily, dry, sensitive, normal etc) and select the personal skin care products suitable for it (you might have to experiment with a few personal skin care products). Here is a routine that should work for most people with normal skin.
The first thing on personal skin care routine is ‘Cleansing’. The three main ingredients of a cleanser are oil, water and surfactants (wetting agents). Oil and surfactants extract dirt and oil from your skin and water then flushes it out, thus making your skin clean. You might have to try a couple of cleansers before you find the one that suits you the best. However, you should always use soap-free cleansers. Also, you should use Luke warm water for cleansing (hot and cold water, both, cause damage to your skin). Take care that you don’t over-cleanse your skin and end up damaging your skin in the process.
The second thing on the personal skin care routine is exfoliation. Skin follows a natural maintenance process wherein it removes the dead cells and replaces them with new skin cells. Exfoliation is just a way to facilitate the skin in this process. Dead skin cells are not capable of responding to personal skin care products but still consume these products, hence preventing them from reaching the new skin cells. Thus removing dead skin cells is important in order to increase the effectiveness of all personal skin care products. Generally, exfoliation takes it place just after cleansing. As with any personal skin care procedure, it’s important that you understand how much exfoliation you need. Exfoliate 4-5 times per week for oily/normal skin and 1-2 times per week for dry/sensitive skin. Exfoliate a couple of times more in hot and humid weather.
Next thing on personal skin care routine is moisturizers. This is one of the most important things in personal skin care. Even people with oily skin need moisturisers. Moisturisers not only seal the moisture in your skin cells, but also attract moisture (from air) whenever needed. Use of too much moisturiser can however clog skin pores and end up harming your skin. The amount of moisturiser needed by your skin will become apparent to you within one week of you using the moisturiser. Also, applying the moisturiser is best when your skin is still damp.
The last thing on personal skin care routine is sunscreen. A lot of moisturizers (day-time creams/moisturisers) come with UV protection – so you can get double benefits from them. Such moisturisers are recommended for all days (irrespective of whether it is sunny or cloudy).
Again, experiment with various personal skin care products and also with the amount you need to apply. What gives you best results is the best personal skin care recipe for you.
All about Facial skin care
‘Facial skin care’ is more a matter of discipline than anything else. A facial skin care routine is what you need (and you need to follow the facial skin care routine with complete seriousness). So let’s check what comprises an effective facial skin care routine. Well, very simply, a facial skin care routine can follow the following 4 steps:
Cleansing is the first thing in facial skin care routine. Cleansing helps in removing dust, pollutants, grease and extra oil from your skin, thereby preventing damage to your skin. Just spot your face and neck with a good cleansing lotion or cream and gently massage it into your skin using upward strokes. Use a soft face tissue or cotton wool to wipe your face in a gentle patting fashion (do not rub). Cleansing should be done at least twice a day i.e. morning (as part of complete facial skin care routine) and evening (on a standalone basis). Water soluble cleansers are the best for inclusion in your facial skin care routine.
Toning is the next in a facial skin care routine. However, this is the optional part of the facial skin care routine. Mostly, proper cleansing can compensate for toning. Toning helps remove all traces of dirt, grease and excess cleanser. Instead of making it part of your daily facial skin care routine, you can using toning occasionally i.e. when you have been exposed to particularly harsh environment/pollution.
Exfoliation is again, kind of, optional step in everyday routine for facial skin care. However, exfoliation is necessary at least once a week (or twice, depending on the skin type and the environmental conditions). Exfoliation finds its place in facial skin care routine because of the natural tendency of skin to replenish the skin cells every 3 or 4 weeks. As a facial skin care technique, exfoliation helps in removing the dead skin cells that block the pores, thus assisting the skin in the natural process. However, excessive or harsh exfoliation can cause damage to your skin; so you need to balance it out.
The next thing in facial skin care is moisturising. In fact, moisturising is the most important part of facial skin care routine. Moisturisers prevent your skin from getting dry. Dry skin is really undesirable since it cause the upper layer skin to break, leading to dead skin cells. Again, use light upward strokes to make the moisturiser more effective. Moisturisers work the best when applied on warm and damp skin. So do not try to remove all the moisture in the previous steps of facial skin care routine.
Besides the normal facial skin care routine, you should also exercise the following for facial skin care:
* Use proper make-up remover instead of just washing it away
* Pay heed to your skin type and the environment, when choosing facial skin care products.
* Before you start using a new facial skin care product, test it by applying it on a short patch of skin e.g. ear lobes.
* Never rub your skin too hard.
* Use sunscreen lotions for protection against sun.
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