Add the acid mantle to the long list of bodily functions which doesn't receive much attention but which can easily be at the root of skin issues, or be making them worse. If we knew better how the acid mantle functions we would take better care of it! It's surprisingly easy to damage it; unknowingly, we don't properly nurture this microscopic film. In the past 100 years our habits and expectations have been entirely altered by the explosive growth of the cosmetic, beauty, fashion, hair and skin care industries. And this is spelling bad news for the skin of people of all ages. If we knew a bit more about the acid mantle and the history of cleansing we would be adopting more nourishing approaches to skin care, and making a habit of employing a few simple tricks to help along the way.
I love nourishing traditions! I like growing a vegetable garden, making traditional food, foraging for edible and medicinal wild plants, and creating nourishing skin care based on ancient traditions. Here are some of my favorite ones I have written about. I hope you will be inspired to give them all a try! You skin will love you for it ... promise.
This ain't your grandma's "lye soap" my dear! Dispelling the myths surrounding REAL, old fashion soaps made from plant oils, seed butters, and fats is helpful to those seeking natural products. Learn what it is, how it's made today, it's ancient past and modern history. I found learning about how people cleansed themselves and their dirty stuff in the past to be particularly interesting.
In a past post I explored some of the benefits of distillates (aka hydrosol waters) in general. Here I will explore in more details the specific benefits of individual plant (leaves, flowers, roots, needles, bark etc) hydrosols. Starting with the lovely Rose. But first I want to restate some important aspects of hydrosols in general.
I am very fortunate to live in a place I can harvest FRESH plant material from pristine wilderness for my creations. Few people have year round access to such a place. I have been exploring and learning these mountains for 27 years I have memorized dozens of secret spots, deep in the wilderness where I wander silently through the forest soaking in the peaceful quietude of this magical place and filling my basket with wild plants.
Strong, resilient skin, able to perform it's vital functions from the beginning to the end of life, requires us to carefully consider our diets. In order for our largest organ to develop properly so it can perform it's critical functions we must supply our bodies with optimal nutrition. We aren't born knowing what this means or how to achieve it. It's knowledge we have to acquire.
You know I love nourishing traditions! So when I spritz my face with a Hydrosol water I know I'm not just nourishing my skin with pure, plant quintessence, I'm participating in an ancient healing ritual. The use of hydrosol waters predate essential oils by hundreds if not thousands of years! Here's a brief intro to these healing waters and how to use them to nourish, condition & beautify your skin.
I am absolutely thrilled when I speak to someone who has been using coconut with good results! Organic virgin coconut oil is a healthy tradition oil and so many people all having an out love affair with it! But honestly, I get more reports from people that they are not getting good results. Take a look around the internet and you will read so much anecdotal evidence indicating real problems with it, that more controlled studies are surely warranted. Here I discuss some of the reasons you might not be getting the results you had hoped for when you ditched your chemical ladened moisturizers and creams for all natural coconut oil ...
The coniferous denizens of the Northern Forest possess powerful healing properties. I am enthralled by these evergreen sentinels of my alpine world and the more I learn about them, the deeper in love I fall. Oils infuse with spring Evergreen needles, resin, bark, and cones are featured in many of my oil blends and salves. Not only do these creations smell like heaven, they are imbued with the power of these mighty trees .... which studies show might compare to that of the well known cancer killer Frankincense.
The lovely Salix plants ... hugging the banks of the rivers and climbing the slopes of the mountains. If you are interested in natural skincare, you are probably familiar with White Willow. White Willow Bark is part of the Salix family of plants, which all contain Salicin in their leaves, bark and buds. Salicin (the precursor of Salicylic Acid) is a natural compound renown for it's ability to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation. White Willow bark is the most common Salicin source found in natural skincare formulas and the herb most easily acquired, but it is not the only one. And this where Cottonwood Buds fit in ....
Spring has arrived ... But here in the high country of Colorado, at 9'000' above sea level, you have to look closely for the signs. The obvious ones, the new green growth pushing up through the ground and the tops of tulips and crocus peeking through the damp earth are hidden beneath the snow as it slowly melts under the sun's strengthening rays.
Mineral rich sea salts are unique in their ability to mitigate the impact of environmental stress & pollution, sun damage and cellular aging. Earth minerals dissolved in water and allowed to remain on our skin will help keep it plump & healthy, free of pathogenic bacteria and yeast, control outbreaks and acne, enhance cellular communication and increase hydration.
Just say the word "Preservative" and many people looking for natural skincare back away shaking their heads! Many of us have a deep aversion to these ingredients but at the same time we want super fresh products with a shelf life, and we don't seem keen on the inconvenience of storing our skincare in the refrigerator much at all. Some products just must include a preservatives – otherwise bacteria, mold, and fungus will be swarming in your lovely creams and lotions quickly, and you won't even know it! OMG yuck. So please don't just run screaming when you see a preservative listed on a label! Take a moment to learn when they are needed.
Instead of "clearcutting" your skin's "forest" by washing away all the diverse creatures living there, learn how to nourish them! These microbes help support, maintain, and nourish strong resilient skin which is better able to withstand the ravages of the environment, air borne toxins, aging, stress, and sun damage, and help it heal from more quickly from injuries. Skin microbes also play a vital role in supporting your immune system. Your skin loves you .... LOVE IT BACK!
All skin types at any age benefit from the correct application of facial treatment oils. Facial oils are also part of the Oil Cleansing Method and a nourishing skin care tradition. Even those with oily skin, clogged pores and outbreaks benefit from the right facial oils. Mature and aging skin respond amazing to the Oil Cleansing Method and using facial oils. Reducing use of foaming cleansers & soap, and the overuse of harsh topical applications, we can help heal, nourish and protect our precious skin.
One of the most basic principles of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to dissolve skin oils is by using another oil. With carefully selected oils we can cleanse pores of dirt, grime, sunscreen, makeup - even bacteria and virus - naturally, gently and effectively, without the need for soap or cleansers. Seed oils not only clean, they heal, protect and nourish your skin, preserves the beneficial microbiome living on us, and do no damage to our precious acid mantle. Use my list of cleansing oils to pick and make your own blends or single oils.
We have so many fruit and seed oils to choose from to create oil blends for our 2 different purposes, cleansing and nourishing. This article will help you understand which oils to choose for your needs and how to apply them for the best results
Oh how I love nourishing traditions! Cleansing ourselves with oils is a beautiful one to rediscover. I made the switch. I'm happy I did.
And for good reason! This old fashioned practice is being rediscovered by beauty divas everywhere!