When it comes to skincare advice, Instagram is where it’s at these days. Buzzfeed News recently did an investigative report on an alarming trend where teens post sometimes risky self-care tips for their massive audience, numbering in the several thousands and sometimes millions. The posts come with a cursory warning that not all tips work for everyone, but it still exposes followers to tips that have no scientific backing.
But sometimes, some credible posts go viral. One model detailed her all-natural skin care routine which she uses to combat severe acne. She uses a battery of natural ingredients and all-natural products, including a mask made of honey, turmeric, and cinnamon, left on for an hour. She has the right idea: Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is said to clear up acne, and cinnamon helps boost circulation. Her posts, which track the progress she’s made in her quest for clear skin, make a case for opting for natural bath and body care.
Why Go Natural
Many of the skincare products available today are loaded with chemicals with potentially harmful effects. Some of the ingredients you should watch out for are: parabens (found in bath products; may be linked to cancer risk, endocrinal disruption, and skin allergies), fragrance (found in bath products and moisturizers; linked to allergies, dermatitis, and respiratory problems), phthalates (found in moisturizer; may be linked to endocrine disruption, increased cancer risk, reproductive birth defects); triclosan (found in soap; an endocrine disruptor and skin irritant), sulfates (found in shampoo and body wash; may be carcinogenic when combined with other chemicals); formaldehyde (found in bath products; a carcinogen), and propylene glycol (found in moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner; may irritate skin).
But everything started in nature, so you can switch to a natural alternative for your skincare needs. If it doesn’t seem practical to overhaul your entire skincare routine in one go, then make little changes gradually—first introduce a natural moisturizer, then incorporate other natural products as the weeks go by. This also helps your skin settle in so you can more easily take note of any adverse reactions.
Top to Toe with Mother Nature
There’s a natural product or ingredient for every inch of your skin, from your scalp to your toes:
Scalp: Dealing with dandruff? A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that tea tree oil appears to be an effective treatment. Mix a few drops in with your regular shampoo. (If you’re looking to go all-natural with your shampoo too, just mix baking soda with apple cider vinegar. Condition your hair with a concoction of egg yolk, olive oil, and warm water.)
Face: In his book entitled Better in 7: The Ultimate 7-Day Guide to a Better You, plastic surgeon and The Doctors host Andrew Ordon, M.D. shared a host of natural skin care treatments. If you’d like an all-natural version of the classic three-step skin care routine (cleanse, tone, moisturize), start off by gently exfoliating with a sugar scrub, made of a mix of fresh cream, white sugar, brown sugar, ground almonds, and olive oil. Exfoliating helps you scrub away dead skin cells, stripping away the dullness, but make sure not to overdo it—every other day is plenty.
Looking for a DIY toner? Try Dr. Ordon’s version: Mix crushed basil leaves with a cup of hot water. Strain, place water in a spritzer, spray on skin, and spread with a cotton pad.
Finish things off with a moisturizer made of fresh cream, avocado, and honey, pureed in a blender. Apply to skin, leave for an hour, and wash with water. Got a zit that won’t quit? Spot-treat it with a paste made of brewer’s yeast, some lemon juice, and water. Just leave it on for 10 minutes.
Body: You can use the same sugar scrub to exfoliate then make your own lotion. Coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera, a carrier oil, and your favorite essential oil can all be mixed together so you can have soft and smooth skin (that smells delicious!).
Feet: Baking soda, coffee grounds, and sea salt can all be used as a foot scrub to slough the rough patches away from your feet.
If you have sensitive skin, ask your dermatologist about using all-natural ingredients and make sure you do a patch test first before going all out. If you don’t have the time to make your own natural treatments or are unwilling to deal with the mess, you can check out all-natural organic skin care products at Healthy Options, the largest organic retailer in the Philippines.