Blog post by maker of Just the Goods!
Why natural skin care?
Hello! My name is Milena and it’s my pleasure to accept an invitation from Nature Doctors to be a guest blogger on the topic of natural skin care.
Since we haven’t met before, I can introduce myself to you as the person behind Just the Goods, a Winnipeg-based line of handmade natural skin and body care products available at Nature Doctors. I began making natural alternatives to conventional skin care products in 2007 when people I care about started developing allergic reactions to the items they had been using for years. I was already well aware of the significant differences between natural and processed foods through ongoing dialogue with my naturopath, but was suddenly confronted with direct proof that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put into them. I started to research the issue in detail.
Many of us learned growing up that our skin is a protective layer, which is true to some degree, but our skin is more accurately a permeable barrier that serves the additional function of letting things out and in. For example, our skin helps our bodies expunge toxins through the act of sweating, but also helps us absorb vitamin D from sunlight. Being our largest organ, it is covered in pores and thus readily absorbs everything around us from pollutants in the air, to the products we apply, be it moisturizer, shampoo, fragrance, etc.
Petroleum and its many derivatives are products of the oil and gas industry and serve as the primary ingredient in most commercially available skin care preparations. This can be in obvious forms such as petrolatum (i.e. petroleum jelly), which is sold as a moisturizer, or in the less obvious form of detergent, which is a more harsh alternative to natural soap. These are things many of us would never consider ingesting, so it is a wonder they are still promoted by major corporations as reasonable things to rub onto our skin.
Unfortunately, there are many other chemicals found in skin and body care products that are not only suspicious, but prove to have damaging consequences for our health and our environment. Artificial preservatives such as parabens have been linked to the development of cancer, while phthalates are also suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors linked to reproductive disorders. Artificial fragrances can trigger asthma and mimic estrogen increasing chances of breast cancer. Even seemingly health positive inventions such as the antibacterial agent Triclosan has been found to reduce muscle strength in a range of animals and harm the human immune system contributing to increased allergic reactions to a range of other things.
The best way to avoid these and other chemicals is to use products that refuse to include them. There is a tremendous range of natural oils, clays, and salts found in nature capable of offering all the things we look for in products that help us cleanse, moisturize and freshen our bodies, so the truth is that we can easily avoid nasty chemicals in our daily care routines.
Over the coming months I look forward to sharing with you information about various unhealthy chemicals found in mass produced skin care products, and I’ll offer some ideas for homemade alternatives, as well. In the meantime, the best way to get more information about the importance of natural skin and body care is to talk to your naturopath. Although I’m not a medically trained specialist, I’m always more than happy to share the research I’ve undertaken, as well =-)
— Milena Placentile