Organic vs Natural
A product can be labeled organic is 100% of the ingredients meet organic standards. A natural product cannot have more than 1% of unnatural ingredients in its formula.
pH balance is a balance of moisture in your skin; keeping the beneficial oil on your face at a level that will protect your skin. A pH level of 7 is optimal to keep our skin from being too oily or too dry.
Preservatives help protect the integrity and effectiveness of ingredients in a product. Products that contain water need a preservative to prolong its shelf life. Water is a breeding ground for bacteria which will eventually breakdown all ingredients and cause a product to be less stable. Ideally, a product's preservative combination, including Phenoxyethanol and EDTA should be at 1% or less.
Parabens are among the commonly used preservatives. In many ingredients list, its most common form include Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Ethylparaben. According to a study conducted by the EPA, parabens have shown estrogenic activity in various tests. This means that parabens have an endocrine-disrupting action by mimicking your body's hormones and wreaking havoc in your system. Also, certain studies done on breast cancer have found a link to this chemical. Its use is ubiquitous - this chemical is widely used as preservative not just in food, but also in cosmetics, deodorants, personal care and pharmaceutical products.
Phthalates are fixatives that make a fragrance last longer and stick to you or your clothing. Phthalates can be found in many artificial fragrances; any item that contains a fragrance, laundry products, air fresheners, hair and nail products, cosmetics, etc. When you read fragrance on an ingredient label it can hide up to 200+ ingredients. These do not need to be listed on the label because it can be considered a trade secret and, therefore, this information is allowed to be kept from you. They affect the reproductive system; are linked to stillbirths and miscarriages and birth defects. They can also damage the liver, kidney and lungs. One way to control the chemicals you ingest in a day is to watch what you inhale. Make sure the fragrances you surround yourself with are organic essential oils or fragrance-free products.
Sulfates are the primary foaming agents in soaps, bath gels, and shampoos. It also increases the permeability of the skin, which is a concern when you considered the ingredients that accompany sulfates in a product. Sulfates can dry your skin and for those with sensitive skin it can cause irritation, rashes and aggravate more serious skin conditions. Most commonly known as Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate (SLS). SLS has been linked to 1,4-dioxane (a known carcinogen) and nitrate contamination.
What Are These?
Cremes/Lotions/Moisturizers work to protect your skin. Not only do they restore moisture to your skin but protect against moisture loss and even pull moisture out of the air to draw into your skin.
Serums are an intense restorative skin product. They are packed with active ingredients and work deep into the layers of your skin for fast results.
Exfoliating keeps our skin renewal process at a regular rate. As we age the rate which our skin cells renew themselves slows down. It is good to exfoliate every 3 to 5 days. This stimulates new skin cell production and regulates this process.
Masques cleanse, nourish, and tighten our skin. They draw out impurities that are deeply embedded into our skin.
Toners rehydrate and refresh your skin. They are also important in balancing the pH balance of your skin. Without this balance, your face can end up being too dry and prone to infections, or too oily leading to breakouts. Dry, combination and mature skin benefit the most from toners.
Astringents are often used with Toners. They strip away the oil and dirt from the skin. Toners are applied afterward to restore the pH balance and keep the skin from getting too dried out from the astringent. Oily and acidic skin benefit the most from astringent.
The Basics For Beautiful Skin
1. Cleanse - Too often people take this step for granted. Remember you are washing away all the contaminants from the day and dead skin cells. Cleansing should be done in the morning and at night, with extra emphasis at night. Our skin cells regenerate while we are at rest, and if it is not working through all the dirt and oil build up from earlier in the day it is going to work better.
2. Tone - Toning keeps the pH balance of your skin intact. If your skin is too dry, it does not have the natural oils from your skin to protect it. If it is too oily, your pores will be clogged by and it will cause breakouts.
3. Hydrate - Moisturize with lotions, cremes, or moisturizers. These protect your skin by keeping moisture in your skin. Dry skin can lead to cracked and chapped skin, which leave you vulnerable to various bacteria.
Extra Steps To Take - But Not Everyday...
4. Exfoliate - Exfoliation rids the skin of dead skin cells and stimulates your skin to produce new skin cells.
5. Masque - A masque once a week draws the dirt and oil out of the deeper layers of your skin. A good masque will also, tighten and nourish your skin.
Going The Extra Mile
These steps are deeply connected so even improvement in one area strengthens the others.
6. Eat Right - Sugars and quick snacks for bursts of energy are no match for the sustained and steady energy you get from eating natural foods. Stay away from prepackaged food and eat what you prepare yourself. It is time-consuming but worth it. Your body functions better with healthy food, and if you are feeling better, it will improve your sleep, thinking, and general well-being. Life takes energy and it starts with the food you choose.
7. Sleep - Lack of sleep affects your body, mind, and emotions. Sleep is connected to food. Studies show that the less you sleep, the more you eat and it is likely to be a sugary snack for the energy boost. When your mind has a chance to rest your body can focus on renewing itself.
8. Reduce your stress - Stress drains you of everything. It affects your health and ages you. It can lead to depression and affects your sleep and eating habits. Stress is a reaction to feeling a lack of control in a situation or circumstance in your life. Through meditation/prayer, one can gain perspective and even insight and regain the control in a situation thought lost.