Why do some natural skin care products cause inflammation and allergic reactions for those of us who have sensitive skin? Do natural products really help sensitive skin?
For those of us who have sensitive skin, our bodies are reacting with inflammation to the substances we are putting on our skin.
We learn through sometimes painful experience, that we need to be more careful about what we put on our bodies.
Those of us with sensitive skin may find that we have bad reactions to skin care products with toxic ingredients, but we may also find our skin breaking out from using natural skin care products too! Why is this?
Our bodies actually absorb many of the ingredients we put onto our skin. If you are not sure about this, you can try my famous 'garlic experiment' to illustrate.
I had an earache once and was out of my herbal eardrops, and I heard that putting a clove of garlic, gently in the ear canal, would help. ( You need to have a large enough piece that it won't get stuck in your inner ear!)
Well my earache went away, but within a half an hour my breath was, well, VERY garlicky! I could even taste the garlic which was emanating from my entire body!
Because our bodies absorb our cosmetics and skin creams, we want to use pure, clean ingredients that will support our health rather than cause irritation.
Sensitive skin is easily irritated by all kinds of things, not only toxic ingredients but also natural ones! Why is this?
One of the huge problems we face in dealing with sensitive skin is that many cosmetic and skin care ingredients have been demonstrated by research to be irritating or even downright harmful to health!
In the United States there is no legal standard for organic or natural personal care products.
Many skin care and personal care products contain artificial fragrance which is considered a trade secret and therefore is not required to be disclosed on ingredient lists.
These fragrances contain many synthetic chemical compounds which can cause allergies, sensitivities, and in some cases have even been shown to be toxic to the brain. That is just one example. For more information please visit our Safe Cosmetics section.
Although there is more publicity now about the harmful toxins in most skin care and personal care products, there is another, little known source of irritation and inflammation for sensitive skin from a source you'd never believe.
Your natural skincare products!!
Why is this? The reason is that many herbs, essential oils and botanical ingredients have potent medicinal properties.
This is not a bad thing, but it IS important to be aware of when you are putting natural products on your skin.
These healing properties can be useful if we are sick, but they may also cause irritation or other kinds of imbalance to our sensitive bodies.
If we are already taking herbs or medicines for health purposes, the botanicals in our skin care products could cause cross reactions.
For some people with sensitive skin, herbs, essential oils and botanical ingredients can cause allergic reactions too.
I've had this experience SO many times. Just recently, when testing out a new VERY nice natural skincare product line, made by people I love and trust.
The herbs were SO potent that my lips broke out!!
For example, green tea is a commonly used ingredient in many organic skin care products. Green tea is an amazing gift from Mother Nature that has a huge list of medicinal and healing properties.
Green tea is a stimulant, an antioxidant, has anti-viral properties, is a digestive aid, a diuretic, an expectorant, an analgesic (helps to relieve pain), is astringent, caridiotonic (good for the heart), a nervine (good for the nervous system), and more.
Whew! It sounds great, doesn't it!
I adore green tea, I used to love to drink it, but recently I find it gives me a headache. I also discovered when I use SOME skin care products with green tea, my skin breaks out!
Now, not EVERY natural herb or essential oil will cause your sensitive skin to break out, but it IS important that you develop a good relationship with your own body to learn what YOUR skin likes and does not like.
There are foods and herbs that contain natural anti-inflammatories called salicylates. This is the same substance found in aspirin.
Some people have a sensitivity to salicylates and to aspirin and they experience a whole host of allergic symptoms anytime they are exposed to them.
Salicylates are contained in many foods, personal care products, and medicines. Like any potent natural substance, when you have sensitive skin it is wise to use moderation, and to get your natural salicylates from your food, rather than from your personal care products.
Salicylate sensitivity is not yet well known, but is another concern when using natural skin care products that you may not have considered.
Also, think about this. Many natural substances spoil easily and can go rancid at room temperature in just a few days!
Companies that use botanicals, herbs and natural products in their skin care products must use preservatives in order to keep them from spoiling.
These are not always required to be listed on the label as long as the plant has been soaked in the preservative and not added separately.
Right now there is no FDA labeling regulation for disclosing all the ingredients used in personal care and cosmetic products.
Recently there has been more consumer demand for safer skin care products, and an organization called the Natural Products Association has created a Natural Certification Standard for personal care products.
This organization is basing their standards on several key areas.
This is a promising development and the organization plans to review their standards again in 2010.
Some of the best, truly all natural skin care treatments out there consist of ingredients you can find in your kitchen!
Though a little less convenient that simply opening a jar, these kinds of natural beauty recipes are inexpensive and can provide healthy and natural support to sensitive skin, especially during times when it seems that you are reacting to almost everything!
Even better, you can make them up fresh so you don't need preservatives!
Oatmeal, yogurt, salt, coconut oil, vinegar, lemon, and even chocolate and coffee offer many healing benefits for skin.
When you make your own natural skin care products, it's easier to control the ingredients and to test different combinations to see what works best for YOUR sensitive skin care.
My friend Sue has created a really fantastic collection of natural skincare recipes which are simple, VERY affordable, and they really work! In fact, you may never need to buy another skincare product once you see all the different products you can create yourself!
Now, like anything, you CAN have a reaction even to very simple foods, so it is important to do a skin test with EVERYTHING you use on your skin, even if it is a natural skincare recipe, to see how your body reacts to it.
You can get some great ideas for creating your own natural skin care recipes here at our Skin Care Tips section.
Natural skin care is not just for your face! By taking care of your whole body, your natural inner beauty and radiance will shine through!
Unfortunately almost every single brand of hypoallergenic products I've researched that is botanical free, does carry other kinds of ingredients that are hazardous such Propylene Glycol, mineral oil, petroleum products, Ceteareth, BHT, Polyethylene and more.
So far I've only found one company that makes safe hypoallergenic products that are free of botanicals AND free of toxic ingredients. You can read my skin care product review of their products which are excellent and very affordable.
To learn more about natural skin care for sensitive skin, please request our free eBook Clear ANY Skin Problem Naturally.
This course will show you how to discover whether your skin care and personal care products are chemically safe, and how to rejuvenate your skin and repair skin damage using holistic and natural methods.