4 natural DIY remedies for beautiful skin
Despite purporting to lift the health of your skin and give it a vibrant lustre, many commercial moisturisers and skincare products contain harmful chemicals that often negatively affect the functioning of your skin, cause it long term-harm and ultimately promote both poor skin and compromised wellbeing.
Fortunately, nature has provided us with many beautiful, natural moisturisers that keep the skin soft, supple and well hydrated while also keeping it resilient and protected. Indeed, using products made from 100 per cent natural ingredients also gives you peace of mind that your overall health is not being sacrificed for only superficial or temporary ends.
Harmful chemicals to avoid
Moisturisers and other skincare products commonly contain toxic chemicals, and medical research shows that significant amounts of such ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and pass directly into the bloodstream. Researchers from the Herb Research Foundation in the US have found that the skin absorbs up to 60 per cent of the chemicals found in skin products.
These synthetic chemicals, circulating around in your blood, can cause damage to your body’s cells. This is why you must be careful what you put on your skin — it ends up in your body. What you put on your outside should be seen as just as important as what you put in your mouth, so if a product isn’t safe to eat, you should think twice about putting it on your skin.
In many cases, the long-term effects of many of the chemical additives in our beauty-care products are still unknown. However, some chemical additives have been found to be carcinogenic. Chemicals to watch out for include parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben), DEA (diethanolamine), sodium laureth sulfate, para-dioxane (1,4-dioxane) and polyethylene glycol (PEG).
Other toxic chemicals to avoid include DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea, methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone, triclosan and triethanolamine (TEA).
Be cautious of skincare products that list “fragrance” in their ingredients. The problem with perfumes and products containing fragrances is they can contain hundreds of different chemicals, some of which may be derived from petroleum or may contain neurotoxins.
As a rule of thumb, if you can’t spell or pronounce an ingredient, you can be pretty sure it isn’t natural.
Mineral oils are petroleum-based ingredients found in many moisturisers. Nearly all products for dry skin contain this cheap, manufactured oil. Mineral oils are not recommended as they lock in moisture by coating the skin, inhibiting the skin’s ability to breathe and absorb moisture or nutrients. Mineral oil makes the skin think it’s moisturised, which in turn slows down its natural production of body oils. Once the mineral oil has worn off, the skin becomes dry and irritated and unable to moisturise itself naturally, so you end up becoming reliant on these products to keep your skin feeling moisturised. The result of slowing down skin function in this way is reduced cell regeneration and premature ageing.
Mineral oils also have the effect of disrupting the skin’s protective immune barrier — something you don’t want, as your skin plays a major role in protecting you from germs. Mineral oils will also prevent the skin from being able to release toxins and commonly causes blocked pores and pimples.
As a rule of thumb, if you can’t spell or pronounce an ingredient, you can be pretty sure it isn’t natural. Don’t be fooled by labels that say “natural”, “dermatologically tested” or “organic” — this is not proof that the products are good for you or your skin. To be safe, always choose natural moisturisers made from 100 per cent natural, organic ingredients.
Here are some of the best natural moisturisers you can use to nourish and protect the health of your skin.
Shea butter is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, also known as the karate tree, meaning the “tree of life”, due to its exceptional healing properties.
Shea butter is rich and creamy and very hydrating and soothing. It easily melts in the hands and penetrates quickly into the skin. Shea butter is a superb moisturiser. It is beautifully rich and nourishing for the skin and is most commonly used in body butters and creams. It is beneficial for anyone with dry or inflamed skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, improves cracked skin, sunburn and fine lines and wrinkles, and is recommended for pregnant women as it helps to prevent stretch marks.
Shea butter contains antioxidants including vitamin E and A, which give shea its anti-inflammatory, skin-rejuvenating and anti-ageing properties.
Shea works well on all skin types; however, people with oily skin who are prone to breakouts should avoid using it on their faces regularly as it could promote breakouts.
Unrefined, organic shea butter is best.
Lavender & Mint Moisturising Body Melts
Make these gorgeous little melts, which are solid at room temperature but, when you rub them into your skin, melt and can be easily applied, leaving you feeling beautifully moisturised and nourished.
Cocoa is also named theobroma, which means the “food of the gods”. Cocoa butter is the cream-coloured fat made from cocoa beans that has been used for centuries in Africa for its moisturising and healing properties. Cocoa butter is used in creams, cosmetics, soaps and chocolate. If it’s good enough to eat, you can feel sure it’s safe to put on your skin.
Cocoa butter has a gorgeous, delicate, chocolaty scent and can be used interchangeably with shea butter in recipes.
Cocoa butter is considered one of the ultimate moisturisers, as it helps keep the skin super soft and supple.
Cocoa butter is considered one of the ultimate moisturisers as it helps keep the skin super soft and supple. A highly concentrated natural fat, cocoa butter melts at body temperature and is easily absorbed. It creates a lipid barrier on the skin that helps prevent water loss and improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Cocoa butter is beneficial for dry, itchy and sun-damaged skin and is gentle enough to be used by people with eczema. It is also popular with pregnant women to help prevent stretch marks.
Cocoa butter is naturally rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps soothe and hydrate the skin and helps prevent wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Oleic acid is the primary mono-unsaturated fat in cocoa butter, and it benefits the skin by dampening inflammation and enhancing skin regeneration and moisture content.
Anti-Ageing Face Cream
This highly moisturising face cream is ideal for mature and dry skin, to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and promote soft, supple skin.
Mango butter, which is extracted from the shelled kernels of the mango tree, is a lovely, soft butter with a delightful, sweet smell. Indigenous people of the rainforest have been using this gorgeous fruit for centuries to improve the health of their hair and skin.
Mango butter has a very similar consistency to that of shea and cocoa butters and can be used interchangeably in recipes. However, it contains higher concentrations of fatty acids, which makes it even more moisturising. Mango butter has exceptional emollient qualities, which helps keep the skin soft, smooth and hydrated. It’s ideal for dry and mature skin, and also provides relief from eczema and psoriasis.
Mango butter is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and E, which helps protect the skin from UV radiation and improves the appearance of wrinkles and other visible signs of ageing.
Whipped Mango & Citrus Body Butter
This super-light and creamy body butter is good enough to eat. Suitable for all skin types.
Coconut oil is a fabulous moisturiser for the face and body that’s easily absorbed into the skin. Coconut oil is recommended for all skin types but is particularly nourishing for dry skin. According to a study published in the journal Dermatitis in 2004, when coconut oil is applied topically it improves the moisture and lipid content of dry skin.
Coconut oil has abundant vitamin E, which helps promote healthy skin by ensuring proper functioning of sebum glands.
Cold pressed, organic, unrefined coconut oil is the best.
Sweet almond oil
Almond oil is made from dried almonds through a process called cold pressing. Sweet almond oil is easily absorbed into the skin and is highly moisturising and nourishing without leaving the skin feeling greasy. This lovely, light oil is recommended for oily and combination skin types, however it can be used for any skin.
Almonds oil is rich in skin-loving nutrients, including high levels of mono-unsaturated oleic acid and polyunsaturated linoleic acid, which help soften and smooth the skin.
Traditionally, almond oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Apricot kernel oil
Apricot kernel oil is made from cold-pressed dried apricot seeds. It’s very similar to almond oil as it has a light texture and a faint nutty aroma. This lovely oil is moisturising for the skin without leaving a greasy after-feel or clogging the pores. It makes an excellent carrier oil and addition to creams, lotions and face serums.
Apricot kernel oil is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Because of its light texture it can be used on oily and combination skins.
Apricot kernel oil is also beneficial for people with dry or inflamed skin. It contains two important skin-nourishing fatty acids: gamma linoleic acid (GLA) and oleic acid. These healthy fats help the skin maintain its moisture balance, keeping skin hydrated, soft and smooth.
Grapeseed oil is a light-textured oil extracted from the seeds of grapes, usually wine grapes. It has wonderful emollient properties to help soften and soothe the skin, is easily absorbed and won’t leave a greasy residue. Grapeseed oil can be used on any skin, including sensitive, oily and dry skin types. It’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or promote breakouts.
Grapeseed oil is naturally rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, vitamins E and C and OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes), making it the perfect addition to your anti-ageing Beauty regime to support collagen production and maintain healthy skin.
Rose Face Moisturiser
This beautiful moisturiser is highly nourishing and beneficial for all skin types.
Rose hip oil
Rose hip oil, made from the fruit of the rose bush, is widely found in anti-ageing beauty products. Rose hips are a very rich source of vitamin C, important for collagen production and for restoring the skin. This healing oil is abundant in beta-carotene, which has strong antioxidant activity and is needed to promote skin regeneration.
Rose hip oil is popular in skincare products because it rehydrates and moisturises the skin. This hydrating oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, oleic and linoleic acid, which helps keep skin soft and supple and is important for maintaining skin cell health.
Using rose hip oil daily will help replenish moisture lost from your skin and slow or reduce the signs of ageing. Rose hip oil is ideal for preventing lines and wrinkles around the eyes and makes an excellent face serum for mature skin. Apply a few drops to freshly cleansed skin for a soft, hydrated beautiful complexion.