Simple recipes for homemade skincare products
Curious about homemade skincare products? There are compelling reasons to make your own skincare products. Evidence continues to mount that skincare products are brimming with unsafe ingredients. Even many reputable "natural" brands found in health food stores targeted at infants and adults may harbor harmful ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies, neurotoxicity and fertility problems. Toxic chemicals are used to make the product smell and feel good, to create a good appearance, to extend the shelf-life, and to create a desired texture or consistency – but at what cost? In the case of sunscreen, the chemicals are added to supposedly keep us safe from sun damage, but do they really work and are they safe?
Which chemicals are dangerous?All of these chemicals below are commonly found in commercial skincare products, including those marketed for infants and/or labelled “organic” or “natural”.
PhthalatesPhthalates are industrial chemicals used in plastics as well as skincare products. Studies have should that they can reduce fertility, and inhibit normal sexual development by blocking the action of key hormones. A recent research study by Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington found seven or more phthalates in the urine of eighty-one percent of children under 2.5 years. Reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, the study noted that the use of infant skincare products was associated with increased concentrations.
ParabensThese are a related group of chemicals used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in many products. Studies have shown a link between these chemicals and breast tumours.
1,4-dioxaneThese agents may be indicated on the ingredient label as polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyethylene, polyoxyethylene, oxynol, myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth, the prefix "PEG" or "eth" in ingredient listings. The chemicals are considered carcinogenic (a substance capable of causing cancer) as well as a potential neurotoxin (a substance capable of damaging the brain and nervous system). Scarily, these ingredients are found in many leading “natural” skin care products.
IsothiazolinonesThese agents can be toxic to the respiratory system, cause allergies and negatively affect the immune system. If listed, they can be found on ingredient labels as methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone and other ingredients containing "chloro" or "methyl."
TriclosanResearch has shown these agents to impact on the brain`s neural circuitry, potentially affecting mental development.
What's the alternative?The good news is you have choices, including buying products from highly ethical companies known to avoid these toxins. If you go that route, ensure you do your research and don't assume that products labelled “organic” or “natural” or “free of petra-chemicals and parabens” means they are safe. Your other choice? Making your own homemade skincare products for the whole family. That way you know for sure what is in them and, once you have the necessary components and some experience, you will find that it saves you money and takes up very little time. You can also tweak the formulations for your own particular needs and skin-type. It's like preparing food from scratch. You can avoid ingredients, such as preservatives, that you or your family members are allergic to, and choose the best ingredients in terms of quality, purity and sustainability. Your homemade skincare products can also use things from the fridge, kitchen cupboard or garden and you can also choose the aroma. Best of all, you can have fun experimenting.
Homemade skincare products for the family
SunscreenOne of the worst culprits for using damaging chemicals is sunscreen, but it is considered an essential product in Australia. However, according to a study by Skin Deep, sunscreen products are not offering the protection from the sun they claim and have dangerous ingredients. In fact many experts now argue that commercial sunscreen products (including “natural” ones) are more dangerous that the sun itself. Recent research has shown that there is an increased number of children in recent years who are Vitamin D (an essential vitamin for good health) deficient due to parents overzealous efforts to keep sun off their skin. A more sensible approach, according to many skincare experts, is to expose our bare skin to early morning or late afternoon sun every day for short periods. Burning our skin is not healthy, so if we know we are going to be outside for long periods then we can use our own natural sunscreen (see below), cover-up, and use shade. Recipe for homemade sunscreen:
- 1/8 cup of beeswax granules/pastilles
- 1/4 cup shea butter (2 oz.)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (2 oz.)
- 2 Tbsp. zinc oxide powder (1 oz.)
Recipes for homemade skincare products for Mum
Facial ExfoliatorBuy a bag of cornmeal. Take a tablespoon of that and a tablespoon of olive oil and one drop of lavender. Exfoliate your face. Then use a hot flannel to wipe it off.
Sea Salt Body ScrubBuy a normal jar of sea salt. If it's a bit coarse then grind it down. Add any kind of oil, a drop of lavender and a drop of rose oil. Beforehand dry-skin brush the body, brushing towards the heart.
Facial MoisturiserGet hold of some good-quality coconut oil. Add one drop of jasmine and rose oil (for mature skin) to a tablespoon of the coconut oil. You only need a small dab for the entire face.
Make-up RemoverUse olive oil. Rub it into your face with your hands, over your eye make-up. Then soak a flannel in warm water, add a few drops of lavender oil and just wipe it off twice for a deeper cleanse.
Strawberry and Oat Exfoliating MaskA gentle exfoliating mask to be made fresh and used at once. Strawberries are packed full of antioxidants and cream contains lactic acid, a natural skin brightener. Mix 20g of organic ground oats, three large ripe organic strawberries, 5ml or 1tbsp of organic light cream (or soya cream) and one drop of organic geranium essential oil. Apply to damp skin and leave for five minutes.
Oatmeal and Onion Face Mask for AcneOatmeal clears clogged pores. An anti-inflammatory, onions help heal acne scars. For approximately 8 applications, mix 1 ounce. purified mineral water, 3 tablespoons. plain organic oatmeal and 1 medium onion, peeled. Boil water and pour over oatmeal, letting steep for five minutes. Finely grind onion in a food processor, making a smooth puree. Add to the oatmeal while still warm. If the mask is not thick enough, add some honey or green clay until the mask is thick enough to sit comfortably on your face. The solution will stay fresh for one week in the refrigerator.
Hand and Body Lotion
- ½ cup oil, your choice of almond, sesame, olive, grapeseed, cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado oil, coconut oil
- ½ cup distilled water, boiling or substitute a flower water such as rose water, an herbal infusion, or even tea
- 2 tbsp. beeswax
- 3 Vitamin E oil capsules
Homemade natural skincare recipes for Dad
- 120mls hot water
- optional: up to 4 tablespoons dried herbs (slippery elm, green tea, etc.)
- 120g grated bar soap (good quality, such as goat`s milk soap)
- 3 tablespoons solid oil (such as coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter)
- 10 drops essential oil (bay, tea tree, sage, orange, etc.)
- 120mls organic liquid Castile soap
- up to 90mls hot water
- 3 tablespoons vegetable glycerine
- up to 10 drops essential oils (tea tree, orange, grapefruit, rosemary, etc.)
- optional: 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
Natural skincare recipes for BubWhat you put on your baby and toddler’s skin is especially important as their developing bodies are uniquely vulnerable, but also because their hands and feet often end up in their mouths. They literally eat the products you put on them! Herbs, natural oils and some simple pantry staples can create effective and exquisite formulas that pamper and soothe your baby. Try these recipes for quick and easy better baby lotions and potions.
Moisturising Milk BathMilk is a soothing, moisturizing bath additive that gently cleanses the skin. (If your child is allergic to cow’s milk, use goat’s milk as a substitute.)
- 1 cup dried milk
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 2-3 drops lavender or chamomile essential oils (optional)
Baby’s Bum Powder
- 1 cup arrowroot powder
- 1 tbsp. dried ground chamomile
- 1 tbsp. dried ground lavender
Better Baby OilVegetable oils are far more nourishing, soothing and moisturizing than mineral oils. This makes an excellent after-bath or anytime moisturiser, and also works well to gently loosen and heal cradle cap or eczema. This oil also makes a wonderfully soothing natural massage oil.
- 1 cup grapeseed, almond, sunflower or olive oil
- 2-3 capsules vitamin E
Cradle Cap RemedyCradle cap isn’t pretty, but it won’t hurt your baby. You can help coax the flakes away by rubbing a small amount of herbal baby oil onto your baby’s scalp. Leave the oil on your baby’s scalp for about 15 minutes, then gently comb out the loose flakes with a soft baby brush.
Oatmeal Baby Bath
- 1 cup of whole oats
Homemade Baby Wipes
- basic roll of paper towels (cut in half to make short rolls)
- 1/8-1/4 cup of castile soap
- 1/8-1/4 cup of vegetable oil (e.g. olive, almond, apricot, etc)
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 plastic container that the roll will fit in
ConclusionOur skin is the biggest organ in our body. Not only can it be affected by what we put on it but it is also an agent of absorption, simply meaning that what we put on the outside of our body quickly finds it's way inside, and into our bloodstream. With this knowledge (and a little bit of effort) we can avoid using chemically-laden products on our family member’s precious skin and enjoy the health benefits.
- Please use essential oils only on babies 6 months or older.
- Simply because something is natural does not mean it is safe – natural materials are just usually safe for the general populace. With any product, whether it is organic or homemade, always do a small skin patch test and watch for any reactions. Also watch your child for any more general reactions like sniffles or irritability after trying a new product. Everyone reacts differently.
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