Thursday, 30 April 2015

My Skincare Routine

If you have met me you may be wondering why people might be interested in learning my skincare routine, I'll be honest, my skin doesn't look great, it's not especially smooth (I am 31, there are wrinkles) and I get the odd spot.  But the reason I wanted to share it with you is because for years I suffered with terrible eczema, particularly through my teenage years, it's sensitive, flare-ups of eczema still happen from time to time, but I know how to deal with them now without a load of toxic chemicals and I wanted to share my routine and the products that I use so that if you, or your child has a tendency towards eczema you can have some ideas of how to treat it without the use of prescription medicines.

It all began a few years ago when I read a book called Skin Deep by Pat Thomas.  Until then I had been using Nivea soft as my main moisturiser and rather shockingly (but at the time I didn't think that much of it) after applying it my skin would burn (why did I think this was ok?!)

After reading the book I realised the damage I was causing to my skin and body by slathering it with chemicals, and not just my moisturiser but also toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo.  I immediately switched to using natural oils on my skin and gradually changed all my other toiletries to more natural products too.  There was definitely a transition period with my skin where it felt dreadful, it lasted about a week but once I got through that, I haven't looked back.  


Commercial skin care products contain many ingredients that can be harmful to the body.  One of the most commonly occurring being mineral oils such as paraffin oil.  According to Pat Thomas mineral oils can "Impede the skin's ability to breathe, attract moisture and detoxify.  It can also slow down cell renewal and promote premature aging".  This is just the tip of the iceberg, and moisturises that claim to access deep layers of skin contain chemicals that drive the moisturisers further into the skin which therefore drives the nasty, sometimes carcinogenic chemicals further into the skin (and the body) too.  And that's before we even start to talk about ingredients like perfumes, preservatives such as parabens and foaming agents like Sodium Lauryl Sulphates which can all be harmful to the body.

So I began by using natural oils on my face initially olive oil, then wheatgerm and jojoba oil.  I found a fantastic website called Akamuti that sold natural oils and moisturisers made from natural oils that suited my skin perfectly. I also found you could buy some natural oils in bulk such as shea butter (which is fairly traded with Ghanaian women)  and coconut oil.



Before I shower in the evening I do a quick bit of body brushing, it exfoliates, gets the lymphatic system moving, it improves circulation and releases stress.  I wash with just water and a bit of organic soap where I need it.  I wash my hair about every other night.  I have had about as many problems with an itchy scalp as I have with eczema and have tried many many shampoos.  At the moment I am using Avelon organics scalp normalizing shampoo and conditioner, and inbetween I am treating my scalp to an overnight coconut oil mask which also includes a few drops of lavender oil, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil.  All of which have anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.  I wash it off in the morning with the shampoo.  It has really helped a lot, though I don't feel like my scalp is totally normal it is much better.



Sometimes I have a detoxifying bath using pink himalayan salt (or epsom salts if I am out of the pink stuff), bicarbonate of soda and fullers earth clay.  This treatments is really good for drawing out toxins and heavy metals and soothing irritated skin.  It's also really relaxing and just feels like such a treat.


After my shower I use the Akamuti Avocado Night Cream on my face and coconut oil on my chest where I also get dry skin from time to time, which I buy from a website called Real Foods. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser because it is the most similar to the skins natural sebum, the small molecular structure of coconut oil allows it to be absorbed easily into the skin.  I also use Shea butter on particularly dry areas such as my heels and lips.  Shea butter is a rich, creamy, hard moisturizer when unrefined and melts into a smooth oil on the skin, is rich in vitamins A, E and essential fatty acids.


I begin my day using Akamuti Evening Primrose Day Cream on my face.  If my skin is going through a bad patch I might use some of their Replenishing Rose Face Cream or another natural oil such as Pomegranate Seed Oil. I also use some organic unrefined coconut oil as a moisturiser on my chest.


As for deodorant, I stopped using them years ago in favor of a deodorising crystal.  Weirdly I don't get too much body odor now, compared to when I was teaching anyway.  I think I am a bit like a skunk; if I am put in a particularly stressful situation my body reacts like a skunk does in the presence of a predator and releases a ghastly odor from my arm pits to scare off the predator.  I don't face the same stresses as a fulltime-mother as I did a teacher (still stressful but different types of stress) so I find I don't even need to use the crystal deodoriser.  I do use some coconut oil and if it's a special occasion I might use a dab of essential oil such as lavender. I also use a bit of coconut oil on my armpits in the evening before bed.

Millions of plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill every year here in the UK, so my teeth are now brushed with natural bristles held a bamboo tooth brush (I bought this one) and I brush with a non-foaming (slight phobia of bubbles) fluoride free toothpaste called Sarakan which I also buy from Real Foods.


So there you have it.  That's how I roll as far as my skin goes, it's working for me at the moment, and I feel good about the fact that I am not using nasty chemicals, which are harmful to me and the environment, they are also all vegan.  I highly recommend switching over to more natural skincare products, many of which can be made at home which also minimises packaging. Check out Trash is for Tossers' home made tooth paste and whipped body lotion.  By the way I am not affiliated with any if these products. I just genuinely love them.






2 comments:

  1. Wow! I'd meet have known you'd had problems with eczema your skin looks great!
    I remember using products that burnt my skin as a teenager and thinking it must be normal. Now my shampoo is probably the worst thing that touches my skin and that's Avalon brand. Some great suggestions for things for me to try in here. Thank you! Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha thanks, I don't feel like my skin looks so great now, but I think it's mostly cos I don't get enough sleep! I do really love Akamuti products, but if I was on a reeeeeally tight budget I could probably live on just the coconut oil and shea butter.

      Delete