What We Are Told
Almost daily we are bombarded with a new skin care product and are told that if we use this product, our skin will look younger, smoother, more attractive and so on. We are presented with pictures of young, attractive women who have probably never used the products their faces are associated with and probably never will.
We are lead to believe that 'the active ingredient' in these products are a new discovery (usually they also get some sort of pseuo-scientific name) and if we use the product that has this 'magical' ingredient we will end up with 20 year young skin - Sure !
The Truth About Skin Care
Skin care is just that - taking care of one's skin, nothing more, nothing less. How you do this can depend on many things. The health of your skin, money, time, knowledge and probably a number of other factors will determine how much care you give to your skin.
Let's review what your skin does for a moment. Firstly, it protects the inside of you body from the outside. That is, the skin forms a barrier between our external environment and our body's insides. It is water proof and at the same time acts as a defence from pollution, microbes and other potentially harmful factors. In addition, it is partly responsible for eliminating toxins from our body in the form of perspiration, and your skin assists the body in temperature regulation. These and other functions are preformed by our skin on a continuous basis.
So how do we take care of our skin, to ensure that it can continue to perform at its optimal level?
Back-to-Basics of Skin Care
There are 3 basic principles that come together in good skin care.
- Drinking enough water on a daily basis to keep the skin well hydrated. This involves drinking at least 2 litres of water each and every day, because the body's metabolism will require this amount of water to function properly. More water is required if we engage in strenuous physical activity or work in a physically demanding environment. You can use the most expensive moisturisers you like, if you don't drink enough water, your skin will become dehydrated and no moisturiser or beauty treatment will stop this in the long term.
- Eating good quality, unprocessed foods such as fruits, grains, vegetables, some dairy and lean meat, will help you to provide the skin with the nutrients it requires to keep performing its vital functions. Your skin needs vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, etc., to function properly and while some natural skin care products do provide many of these nutrients, there is no substitute for nutrients gained from high quality food.
- A daily skin care regime that will unclog pores, remove dirt and dead skin cells, as well as provide nourishment to the underlying, living skin cells, is an essential step to good skin care. Now this regime can be quite simple or more involved.
At its most basic, skin care can involve as little as using a loofah on a daily basis when showering or bathing, to remove the dead cells from your body's outermost layer of skin. Using a loofah not only removes the dead skin cells, but also promotes blood circulation to the outer layers of your skin, providing it with nutrients and oxygen.
In addition, use a mild, natural, pH-balanced (slightly acidic) soap to keep your skin clean and you're done.
Let's face it, many people don't even use a loofah, and couldn't care less about what sort of soap they use to wash their face and body with. However, more concerned folk, who have an interest in maintaining the health and look of their skin for as long as possible, may be prepared to go a few steps further than that by implementing a good, daily skin care regime utilising natural skin care products.
Implementing a Good Skin Care Regime
A sound, basic skin care regime is more than enough for most people. Using a loofah for their body's skin, a cleanser, toner and moisturiser for the face, plus an all-over body moisturiser is all that's required most of the time. In addition, using a clay mask once or twice a week will help to remove dead skin cells and deeply imbedded dirt from the facial skin and pores. An exfoliant can also be used, probably 2-3 times a week, if you're not using a loofah.
Increasingly, consumers are becoming aware of the potential health risks presented by artificial and other non-natural ingredients in beauty products. We all, well most of us, avoid foods and beverages which contain artificial preservatives, flavours, emulsifiers, etc., for sound health reasons. These days, we've extended this concern to other areas of products we use on our body and in our home.
Making use of natural skin care products that contain as many organically grown ingredients such as essential oils, herbal extracts, cosmetic butters and the like, are a preferred option for discerning customers. There are positive health benefits associated with using holistic natural ingredients rather than isolated active compounds, because the body is able to better utilise natural substances and the chance of negative side-effects is reduced.
Choosing the right skin care system for your skin type is the final aspect to good skin care. Most people have two different facial skin types, for example, the forehead, nose and sometimes chin may be slightly oily, while the remaining areas of the face and neck may be slightly dry. It is important to identify your skin type before buying your skin care products, because the ingredients in the products should benefit the skin type you are trying to normalise. You may need to purchase two different skin care systems to accommodate your different skin types, however, more often than not, especially if the skin types differ only marginally from 'normal', you may be able to just aim between the two skin types for your choice of toner, and buy a second cleanser and moisturiser to accommodate the two skin types.
Let me give you an example. Let's stick to the example above, where you may have an oily T-zone with otherwise dry facial skin.
If you have a close look at Wildcrafted's systems for oily and normal skin types, you'll discover, that the two systems only differ in one product - that is, the facial clay mask for the oily system is our Green Earth Medicine Facial Clay, while the Yellow Clay Mask is used in the system for Normal skin. Now, the system for dry skin, is somewhat different and there are actually two systems - one for primarily dry skin, the other for dry and sensitive skin.
The key here is to identify whether the oily or dry facial skin is the primary problem. That is, which is giving you more trouble? If it's the oily part of your skin, than use the system for oily skin and use the Papaya day cream on the dry areas of the face rather than the Avocado cream, although, the Avocado Day Crème is okay to use even on slightly dry skin. If on the other hand the dry facial skin is more problematic and there are areas where your facial skin is not just dry but also sensitive, use the Hydrating Cleanser and Rose Day Cream to cleanse and moisturise instead of the Lemon Cleanser and Avocado Day Crème. Choose the Green Clay mask for the T-Zone and the Red Clay mask for the dry and sensitive areas of your skin.
By mixing and matching the different products you can 'make' a system that will suit your skin types and you do not have to purchase two entirely different systems, which of course is another option and you don't have to think about it too much.
Back-to-Basics of skin care is really about applying common sense, a little knowledge and making the right choice of products. By providing your body with sufficient amounts of water, quality, unprocessed food, and using natural skin care products you can't go wrong and the health of your skin is likely to stay with you a lot longer.