Misty Blue Farm Blog » Skin Care Advice from Ben
So, you're nervous now after reading the label on your legacy-brand skin cream - there's a lot of ingredients on there that sound scary, and you're determined for a change. Or perhaps you've had a recent health scare and you realized that your current luxury skin care brand isn't as clean as you'd like and may have been actually contributing to your skin concerns all along. Either way, these products from the skincare industrial complex are doing your health and well-being no favors. Well, bravo to you for seeking out alternatives! It's never too late to detoxify your skin and green up your skin care rituals with truly handcrafted, luxurious products. Let me explain....
It can be a bit daunting to detoxify your life. One must be a veritable bio-chemist such as myself to wade through the mounds of information and research to determine what's safe and what's not, what's toxic and what's not, what's carcinogenic and what's not. We know you don't have time for that, and large skin care manufacturers also count on you not having time to do the research.
It's enough to drive one mad, and it makes for a skin care routine potentially fraught with fear. It strips the joy out of these small snippets of the day we take for our self-care, and we certainly don't want that to happen. Your daily skin care rituals are vitally important time you need to spend with yourself, so let me guide you away from fearmongering.
There are but a few simple tenets you need as a guide to navigate the purchase of natural luxury skin care products and restore the joy in your daily skin care rituals:
1. More is not more. Less is really more. Yes, this old adage still holds true. Does what you are using have 15 ingredients or less? Are each one of those ingredients there for a very specific purpose or are they there simply for marketing "puffery" or to fill up the bottle? You seriously need to question whether you need to be putting more than 15 different ingredients on your face and skin every time you use a skin cream.
2. Some common skincare ingredients have been shown to be potentially bad for your health. For example, parabens are an effective class of skin care preservatives, but there is evidence to suggest propylparaben and butylparaben particularly may have negative health effects. Phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde are some other ingredients that may potentially be questionable for your health. Until fuller scientific studies are done, it is perhaps best to avoid these ingredients when possible. There are others to worry about, as well, but the above ingredients are found in many non-green skin care formulations. However, they are thankfully easier to avoid than ever nowadays with the plethora of new green skin care brands that formulate without these ingredients.
3. A preservative is essential for any skin care product containing water. Now, while some traditional preservatives are known to be potentially unhealthy for you (see parabens above), not all preservatives are bad, and there are quite a few that are actually Eco-Cert approved for natural skincare products. If the product contains water (including hydrosols, floral waters, aloe vera juice, witch hazel, etc.) it needs a preservative to keep it fresh and free from mold, bacteria and yeast. There is no debate on this. If your water-based product does not have a preservative or preservative system listed on the ingredients and/or the manufacturer cannot explain to you how the formula is effectively protected against microbial contamination, you should be concerned that you might be purchasing an unsafe product.
4. Some ingredients may not be bad for you necessarily, but they might be bad for the environment. This would include silicone-based ingredients such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which get rinsed off and end up getting washed into rivers, lakes and our groundwater. Petroleum-based products such as mineral oil and petroleum jelly are byproducts of the refining industry, and as such are not good for the environment. They are considered cheap fillers and should never appear in any luxury skin care formulation.
5. Avoid micas. Yes, they are naturally-derived, but mica is mined by children in some of the poorest regions of the world, and no one knows what the long-term health effects of this mining has on those children, so it is best to avoid micas entirely. And since mica is heavily processed to get it into a state in which it can be used in skincare products, it really does not resemble the naturally-occurring mineral it once was by the time it gets into your makeup and skin care.
6. Avoid palm oil or palm kernel oil unless it is organic and responsibly sourced. The world's demand for palm oil has created an ecological disaster in places such as the islands of Indonesia. Yes, palm oil is a wonderful natural skin care ingredient, but the environmental costs of harvesting it are too great to bear. If a product contains palm oil, make sure it is sourced from West Africa, where it is sustainably grown.
7. And finally, purchase from a brand you trust. Eco-Cert and Leaping Bunny certificates are all well and good, but they are marketing tools nonetheless. Companies can buy them even when their company practices are less than perfectly green. So, don't just look at labels or beautiful magazine spreads. Dig a little deeper. Reading a company's "About us" page and blog posts and customer reviews will give you a far better idea of who you are buying from than a short snippet in a glossy magazine or a beautiful ad.
Now you're ready and armed with some knowledge! Go ahead and feel good about taking control of your skin health and banish the fear. Are you ready to take the next step and glide into the world of luxurious handcrafted green skincare? We here at Misty Blue Farm Botanicals would be pleased to assist you on your skin care journey and help you discover the benefits of our collection of American grown skin care. Please visit our "About Us" page to continue the conversation or email our client concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an inquiry.
Here at the Farm Formulary we have invested much time and effort in creating a collection of naturally efficacious products. We'd also like to share with you the foundational scientific tenets behind our product collection, so you have a deeper understanding of why our products work and why they are good for you . Our entire skin care philosophy and the rituals that surround our product use are based in what we like to call "natural science".
We craft our skin care range using ingredients found in nature or that can be easily transformed through simple and natural processes into something greater than their original incarnation. For example, bamboo is transformed through the natural process of fire into activated bamboo charcoal; oils and butters are transformed via the process of saponification into pure soap; fresh flowers and herbs are transformed through the simple process of steam distillation into aromatic waters and essential oils.
From the very beginning of this journey, I have stressed the need for proper skin cleansing as the foundation of our skin care rituals. Like an invisible shield, your skin creates a fine exterior layer secreted by your sebaceous and sweat glands that coats your entire body in a film at a pH of between 4.5 -6.5. This is your acid mantle, and it helps protect your skin from a host of not-so-nice things like germs, bacteria and other contaminants.
However, like most functions of our body, the acid mantle must be used and challenged on a regular basis in order to keep your skin healthy and provide your body with its' full protection. Modern ph-neutral chemical laden surfactants do not challenge the skin's acid mantle properly, which we believe results in dryness and a host of other skin ailments. These detergent surfactants are known allergens and can leave behind traces on your skin that may cause further damage.
The foundation of our skin care philosophy is simply this: proper cleansing of your skin in preparation to receive the full effects of hydration and emollient application is critical. Pure, all natural soap is the best cleanser for the vast majority of people. Humans have been using pure soap in one form or another for over a thousand years, and human skin is healthiest when it is clean and its' acid mantle is functioning properly. Pure soap accomplishes both of these objectives in the most naturally functional way possible.
A bar of properly formulated pure soap has a pH of between 9.0-10.0. This is considered alkaline and sits at the opposite end of the pH scale from the pH of your skin's acid mantle. This pH difference of the soap and the friction of the lathering are exactly what is needed to properly remove the day's dirt, oils and fatty acids that have accumulated on the surface of your skin. This action will also temporarily remove your skin's acid layer; however healthy skin will begin production of a new acid mantle immediately and the acid mantle is completely restored, fresh and new, within about 20 minutes.
This regeneration or exercising of your skin's acid mantle on a regular basis is no different than exercising the muscles of your body. In order to be strong and fully functional, your acid mantle must be challenged regularly. Our pure, handcrafted soap will challenge your acid mantle and prepare your skin for proper hydration and application of emollients.
We recommend cleansing once a day with our bar soap in the evening, prior to bed, then following with hydration and emollients. For most of our clients, simply rinsing the face with tepid water in the morning is enough to whisk away any excess sebum or debris from sleep, from which you may follow up with the appropriate hydration and emollients to start your day.