The average woman applies over 500 chemicals to her skin every day. YIKES. Your liver has to neutralize and detox all these chemicals, which end up stored in fatty tissue if they become too numerous to detoxify. The build-up of toxins in the system can adversely affect your hormones and fertility and contribute to weight gain. Add to that the assault of chemicals we get from pollution, our food supply, and household chemicals, and you have a recipe for tired, dull skin and an overload of toxins. Not good.
Years ago I dumped all my toxic skincare products for more natural, chemical-free versions to reduce my total toxic load. I used to love the scented lotions and face creams with ingredient lists a mile long that promised youthful eternity. Many of these products irritated my sensitive skin, but I just assumed that was all part of the anti-aging process. So I purged and simplified, often just using coconut oil alone for a moisturizer (now I use my DIY anti-aging skin butter). My clients inquire about natural skin care, so I’d like to share my pared down routine with you. My skin has never looked better! BONUS: I’m saving tons of money since I no longer drop $50 on an ounce of moisturizer.
I’m prone to dry skin, and my skin is pretty sensitive, so this routine is best for dry, sensitive, combination, or normal skin.
Natural Skin Care Routine
NOTE: this routine changes based on the season, new products I find, and how my skin is feeling.
testimonial from reader: I started using the face care regimen (including DIY skin cream) on your blog 2 days ago, and today someone asked me if I’m my husband’s daughter 😉 He’s only 3 years older.
Here’s the first kicker: I don’t wash my face with cleansers or soap. Cleansers (even the gentle ones) strip the skin of natural oils needed for elasticity and a dewy glow. There, I just saved you $30. I will occasionally use Pacifica sea foam face wash, but not daily. Their products are great!
First thing in the morning, I splash my face with cool water and spritz with rose water, ($10) which acts as an anti-inflammatory, soothing irritated skin. It can help strengthen skin cells and regenerate skin tissue, and it’s moisturizing. If you’re prone to redness or rosacea, try refrigerating it and spritz to soothe irritated skin as needed. I’ll then have a smoothie and some green tea, which is great for skin because of the antioxidants it provides (and, incidentally, makes an excellent toner for acne prone skin). I’ll get some work done, then exercise with the dogs. Studies have shown exercise is great for your skin and can reverse signs of aging.
Then it’s time to shower. I use the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub, ($9) a gentle exfoliator that contains sea kelp, green clay, and argan stem cells. It really leaves you with a nice glow. I also like Avalon organics lavender luminosity enzyme scrub ($10). Both of these exfoliators are super inexpensive, gentle, and don’t strip your skin.
Post shower, I apply my homemade whipped coconut oil body butter with frankincense and myrrh to my face, neck, arms, and chest. Click here to learn how to make it. I also use the homemade serum I describe in this post. You can add whatever essential oils are right for your skin. Or I’ll use my every day moisturizing and anti-aging oil that I share in this post. Again, super inexpensive to make; a batch lasts forever; and it’s moisturizing, soothing, prevents wrinkles, and provides some sun protection (coconut oil has a natural SPF of about 2). I also apply it to my lips, which tend to chap easily (frankincense is excellent for chapped skin).
At night before bed, I’ll splash with cool water again. I don’t wear much makeup, but if I have makeup on, I’ll use coconut oil or micellar water to remove it. Then I apply Egyptian Magic, an awesome all-purpose skin cream which contains healing propolis and olive oil. Over that I apply a few drops of frankincense to prevent wrinkles and nourish skin. Or I may use an oil blend of rosehip, essential oils, and jojoba oil (described here), then it’s off to bed.
I love a good face mask. Often I’ll just mix up bentonite clay with a little water and olive oil. It helps detox the skin and clear any blemishes. You can also add it to a detox bath. I use the Purification essential oil blend from Young Living for spot treating zits. Works great! It contains tea tree oil, which works great for zits and oily skin. I also make face masks from honey, egg yolks, and/or avocado. There are tons of quick and easy homemade face mask recipes out there. I’ll also just make a simple yogurt face mask. The fats and acids in yogurt make your skin super smooth.
Obviously, diet plays a roll in healthy skin, too. Certain foods, like dairy, for example, contribute to acne or problem skin. Eating plenty of antioxidants (think berries, brightly colored fruits & veggies, spirulina, and green tea) and good fats are keys to healthy skin. Kick the sugar, dairy, and gluten. I always get a zit after I eat dairy or gluten, boo. A liver detox program twice yearly is great for skin. Toxins that have accumulated in the body contribute to poor health and poor skin health. Click here for my recommended detox program.
So there you have it. Here’s a makeup free picture I took today as a testimonial for healthy, glowing, natural skin!
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Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.