Thursday, February 21, 2013
Skin Care: Methods of Cleansing + Solutions
My skin is not my favorite organ.
There are people who have perfect, beautiful skin. One of my friends? She always forgets to wash her face before bed, often falling asleep with makeup still on. I have no idea when the last time my husband paid any attention to his skin was. I remember him briefly using Cetaphil back when we were dating 5 or 6 years ago. Both of them have perfect skin.
I can't even talk about it. I have dutifully cared for my skin since the age of 12, and yet it hates me. The amount of oil my face produces is ridiculous- and comical- considering how dry my skin is in other places.
I've been hearing a lot about alternate skin care methods, some of which even suggest that the amount of care my skin gets is the reason it hates me so much. I have a few friends now with skin troubles that totally cleared up after they *stopped washing their faces*. Ahhh. Such bravery. I can't even comprehend. Today's post is dedicated to doing what we can to improve skin, and hopefully using alternative methods.
Let's start with cleansing. If you're looking for an alternative to soap, here are three methods.
1. Oil Cleansing Method: I put this up a few months ago on my FACEBOOK page and you guys went wild. There was a mixed response, but in general it had more positive that negative reviews. Here's a great link to explain it all, but basically extra virgin olive oil is massaged into skin and then rubbed off to remove makeup and cleanse skin instead of soap. The idea is that oil dissolves oil, removing hard, clogged plugs from pores and adding in tons of moisture.
2. The Soapless Method: Cleansing grains are a great way to go if you want to wash your face, but you don't want to use harsh soaps or have very sensitive skin. I tried this for a few months using some grains from CRUNCHY BETTY, it didn't work well for me, but that doesn't mean it won't work well for you! Now I use a natural gel from DERMA E in the mornings. It has glycolic acid and while it doesn't lather up my skin, I do feel like it cleans it well. I apply it before getting in the shower and then wash it off right before getting out so that the product has time to work.
3. The No-Wash Method: Some people find that their skin is much better when they don't wash it at all. You may use a cloth like THIS ONE combined with water to rinse your face in the morning or at night, or you may do nothing at all. If you're a brave soul, give it a whirl and see how it goes for you! As I mentioned above, I know a lot of people who have stopped washing their face, and their skin has improved greatly.
Let's talk about solutions.
Do you have bad skin? Does nothing seem to help? People don't realize that skin is our largest organ and often directly reflects the state of our internal health. If as an adult (post puberty and hormonal changes) you're still breaking out early and often, it's time to do some investigation. Don't just take an antibiotic and assume it will get better, in some cases antibiotics can do more harm to your skin than help! I remember being in high school when a lot of my friends started taking antibiotics to fight breakouts. In those days and the many years following, I've known very few people who didn't have their skin troubles come right back after getting off of the medication, sometimes within a few months.
I suggest that if you have bad skin, and regular care doesn't help, it's time to find the root cause. Sometimes it can be digestive issues, diet (too much sugar, intolerance to gluten or dairy) or even diabetes! And a regular dermatologist won't help you. The goal of most doctors is to treat the symptom, not to go to the root of the problem. That means pills + topical creams. In some cases, with extreme issues- you may need an antibiotic. But I don't think that is necessarily the best route for all skin.
One thing to consider is whether or not you may actually have a YEAST OVERGROWTH. The link is to a balanced article about Candida and how it possibly causes acne/skin conditions. In a situation like that, taking antibiotics would kill off the "good" bacteria that keep yeast in check and actually make skin worse.
Lastly, sometimes sensitive skin is to blame. The chemicals and products in our makeup can cause lots of problems for people with sensitive skin. A great brand for this is Ella Rose Minerals. She's a scientist who started making makeup just because of her own battle. She explains a lot of the chemicals in conventional makeup and how they directly cause breakouts.
There are lots of things you can do to help your skin get better from the inside out.
1. Water. I know, everyone hears this over and over again... but it should be your mantra. Water will flush toxins out of your system AND keep your skin nice and hydrated.
2. Lemon. Lemon is naturally bleaching, so if you have discoloration from the sun or old scars, rubbing a slice of lemon on the areas and letting it set in for an hour/overnight can really help. Remember to use sunscreen, as the lemon juice makes your skin more sensitive. And wash it off if you experience a lot of burning! People with sensitive skin should mix 50% juice with 50% water and apply using a cotton ball.
Drinking fresh lemon juice is also extremely beneficial. It's a natural antibiotic and antifungal, so it does damage from the inside out. Lemon also detoxes and helps clear out your liver. This is the single biggest help for my skin, and there's a big difference when I get lazy and stop.
3. Vitamins. I have a friend (Nadia!) who swears by prenatal vitamins for skin clarity and brilliance. I tried it and didn't have huge success, but I also only stuck with it for a few weeks. Vitamins like zinc, niacin and biotin are great for the skin, you can pick up a supplement that contains those three and more and is specifically targeted to skin, too.
4. Omega 3. We don't get enough Omega 3 in our western diet, unfortunately. This fatty acid is great at cutting down inflammation in the skin.
5. Aloe. Topically applied aloe is a great softener and is also another natural bacteria killer. I like to lay slices directly on my skin after the whole CHEM PEEL disaster. You can also scrape the goo off and apply it to your face.
6. Oatmeal + honey. Combine these two for a wonderfully softening, gently exfoliating and pimple clearing mask!
A few more tips before we wrap this up...
1. Wash your hands. Before you clean your face, wash your hands. Don't touch the dirty handle to turn water on/off and then touch your face. Why bother washing your face if you're going to rub dirty hands all over it!
2. Don't touch your face. Going hand in hand with the above, don't touch your face. Every time you do, you introduce new bacteria to your skin. And the pressure pushes it down into your skin!
3. Clean your phone. Wipe your phone down with alcohol pads often, every day or so, to keep the bacteria count down. Think of how often we touch our phones and what they come in contact with- and then they touch our faces! Use a headset/earbuds if you can. Clean your glasses, too.
4. Wash your pillow cases. If you're a side or stomach sleeper, use a new pillow case every single night.
5. Wash your brushes. I never use a makeup brush more than once without washing it. You can wash it with a gentle shampoo OR you can soak it in 50/50 water to vinegar mix for a few hours.
Skin is interesting. Unless yours is frustrating, like most issues, I'm sure you never think about it. But for people who struggle with their skin, it can be very time consuming and discouraging. Remember that stress really does effect your body, and your skin. So if you're worried about your epidermis, you may want to work on letting that worry and anxiety go. Learn to appreciate how incredible your skin is, research all it does for you and your body; love and appreciate it even if it isn't perfect. You're most likely your own worst critic! The blemish that you're certain is all another person can focus on is probably invisible to anyone but you. We don't do a good job of promoting self-love and acceptance of our image in this culture of photoshopped, unreachable perfection, that's for sure. But it's a huge step to wellness, and certainly happiness. So go ahead, 'love the skin you're in' ... with or without an airbrushed finish ;)
I recently made the comment section much easier to use- if you have a favorite tip or trick that has worked for you, please leave it below!
All the best, and as always, thanks for reading!
(image granted for free from free digital photos dot net)