You know that dry itchy skin you get that makes you want to use any available wall or door for a scratching post? Even your pets are looking at you with sympathy as you scratch away. What about when it really gets bad and your skin begins to crack and bleed? Funny enough, when we moved to a higher elevation, my skin became really dry. My usual formulas, were just not working – then the light bulb went off as I watched a cord of wood my husband split dry and crack almost overnight.
In the Sierra Foothills at 4000 ft. elevation, the humidity is less than ½ of what Sacramento is. Less humidity and drier air was drawing the moisture out of that firewood and my skin. Much like winter; when we live in a cycle of our homes being heated by furnaces, fireplaces and hot showers - my skin was being robbed of all its moisture making it itchy, dry and plain uncomfortable.
My soap, body butters and bath soaks/salts have all been developed for one reason alone – to provide skincare products that utilize the most beneficial natural ingredients and limit harmful chemical additives; to leave skin looking and feeling good. It is my goal to develop a new product line specifically for those of us living at higher elevations with winter skincare needs all year long. Until that time…here are a few skincare tips.
Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize
Use high emollient moisturizers with limited water. Water in ingredients quickly evaporates from your skin at higher elevations. Body Butters like Mango Butter, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter are excellent. Apply moisturizers at night and frequently throughout the day.
Fluids evaporate quickly from your body at higher elevations, so drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids even when you don't feel thirsty. Your body is 70% water, keep those cells nice and hydrated.
Limit the Squeak
Limit the use of harsh cleansers on your body and face that strip your skin of its natural oils. Go with natural limited ingredient soaps with healthy oils like Almond Oil, Avocado Oil and Hemp Oil. Being squeaky clean is not necessarily a good thing.
In our final part in our 4 part series on ingredients in your natural bath and body products - we're talking about oils.
It has been ingrained DEEP in us that oil and fat is BAD for you. But in most cases and specifically in skin care - this simply isn't true. As a Soap Maker, there are many many oils, butters and fats at my disposal to formulate products. Some oils make massive bubbles in soap and even work in salt water like coconut oil, while others add a protectant layer to skin in moisturizers like cocoa butter. Some oils are healing and reduce the appearance of wrinkles by improving elasticity and plumping the skin like Almond oil. Oil choice has always been a very individual preference like a baker’s choice in flour; we all have our personal favorites. For me, its coconut oil for soap and avocado oil for moisturizers, but being an equal opportunity artist - I select oils based on the benefit I am trying to achieve for each product. For instance if I am trying to create a vegan product, I refrain from using any type of animal fat such as lard or tallow (you’ll notice that a lot of commercial bars will list sodium tallowate as a main ingredient). If I want to create a product for acne prone skin, I will use oils that are anti-bacterial and sebum regulating like safflower and argan. There are numerous skin and hair loving oils out there and it’s all a matter of preference and purpose.
Many people assume that oils and butters clog pores and should be avoided, but this is a true myth in most cases (I love this myth busting article by Alternative Medicine Magazine - Beauty Myth Busters). Some oils are very close to the chemical make-up of the skin’s sebaceous glands while others literally regulate the production of these oils. It is not unheard of to cleanse your face with certain oils opposed to drying soaps or cleansers. I have successfully cleansed with olive and coconut oil for years.
As a firm believer of “What goes on your body, goes in your body”, the purity of oils is of the upmost importance. As a general rule, we source our oils from vendors where oil sources are traceable and use organic sustainable oils whenever possible. By ensuring the quality of the oils going into products are pure, we can limit impurities going into the body and ensure the natural benefits and nutrients are available for the body.
Here's our list of some of our favorite oils and their properties:
About Our Blog
Join me in my quest for natural alternatives in beauty and healthy living. I am passionate about my craft and strive to continuously educate myself and others on natural ways to care for ourselves and our families. I am thankful for the ability to educate others and formulate bath and body products to enhance one's overall well being.