Updated: Apr 2, 2020
As more information emerges about the number of toxic, carcinogenic, endocrine disruptive, and reproductive and developmentally damaging ingredients there are in our day to day body products we are increasingly looking towards ingredients that are #safe for ourselves and our families.
Our skin is our largest organ and it's believed that upwards of 70% of what we apply to it topically gets absorbed through our dermis and enters our body. Think lotions, facial cleansers, body washes, shampoos, sunscreen, diaper rash creams and more.
Does it make sense to use petroleum or synthetic based products? Does that sound #healthy?
If you feel that the answer is the latter, and you want to learn more about normal everyday kitchen items and essential oils that double as ingredients for #homemade skin products then read on! I've included links to some of my favorite recipes as well as links to my favorite base ingredients!
Organic Almond Oil: Rich in vitamins E & D as well as several minerals. I use this one.
Organic Jojoba Oil: Rich in vitamin E, closely mimics the skin's natural sebum, softens skin and doesn't clog pores. My favorite Jojoba Oil. This is a key ingredient in my favorite face moisturizer recipe which can be found here.
Organic Cocoa Butter: High in antioxidants, helps heal scars, penetrates deep into the dermis delivering moisture. A note about cocoa butter. It comes deodorized and non-deodorized. Non-deodorized retains more beneficial properties, BUT it smells like chocolate! Depending on how you intend to use it, choose which would better suit your needs.
Organic Coconut Oil: Great natural moisturizer with antibacterial properties. Extremely shelf stable unlike some other base oils. Drawbacks- depending on skin type it may be drying, it can also clog pores so maybe not the best solution for acne prone skin types. This one is great.
Organic Rose Water: Has therapeutic, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects. It is a known acne preventer, has anti-aging effects and naturally balances the skin's PH levels. I love to use rose water in my favorite facial toner along with witch hazel (click the link for recipe). This is the rose water I use.
Organic Witch Hazel: A natural astringent, it tightens the skin and reduces inflammation making it very effective in treating puffiness around the eyes. This is an excellent addition or base for facial toners. Look for one that doesn't have alcohol added in as this can be over-drying to the skin. This one is my favorite.
Organic Beeswax: Softens the skin and provides penetrating moisture and a protective barrier. It is excellent for use in lip balms, has a long shelf life and helps immensely with eczema and psoriasis. It also has natural anti-bacterial properties. This is one of the key ingredients that forms the base for my favorite healing balm that I use on my kid's #eczema (click the link for recipe). I use this beeswax.
Organic Unrefined Shea Butter: I prefer to use unrefined Shea butter because it maintains more of it's natural qualities and benefits. Benefits include; treating mild to moderate eczema, protecting the skin from sun and wind, preventing or minimizing blemishes and scarring, treating small skin wounds, softening and healing cracking skin, relieving itching due to dryness, and soothing minor rashes, including diaper rash. This is my favorite Shea Butter.
Non-nano (nanonized) Zinc Oxide: serves as a natural skin protectant that protects skin from external toxins and therefore is a great option to protect acne prone skin from the elements. It also protects the skin from both UVA & UVB sun rays and has been approved as reef safe and safe for the environment which makes it the best bet for sun protection. It's also commonly used to create a protective skin barrier in diaper rash creams.
There have been some links between nanonized zinc oxide and cancer. Nanonized zinc is basically teeny tiny particles of zinc that are small enough to enter the blood stream. Some people prefer it because it absorbs into the skin better and doesn't leave a white film. I prefer to use non-nanonized because there is no risk of it entering the blood stream and causing cancer, and I've found that using it at 10-15% SPF absorbs well enough that it doesn't leave a white film on the skin. Use your own best judgement with this.
I use this one. It costs a little more, but it's pharmaceutical grade and I feel that if you want it for it's skin protectant qualities than it's worth the added cost.
A little bit goes a LONG way with zinc, so this one bag will last you a LONG time.
Carrot Seed Oil: is rich in Carotene & Vitamin A and it also has powerful antioxidant and antiseptic properties. This one is my favorite.
Green Tea: is an excellent antioxidant tea. It helps to reduce inflammation inside and outside the body. It also contains natural tannins that help to shrink pores and reduce the production of oil that contributes to acne and other skin issues. You can steep green tea in distilled water and use this water as a base for toners or you can use a green tea extract for a more concentrated use in a cream or lotion.
Organic Green Tea Extract: Has anti-aging and antioxidant benefits that can help delay signs of skin aging, such as sagging skin, sun damage, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. The polyphenols in green tea help neutralize free radicals. I use this one. You only need a tiny amount.
Aloe Vera Gel: adds a cooling, refreshing touch to skin products. It also soothes irritation, heals sunburns and sun damage, reduces topical inflammation, and reverses the effects of free radicals (pollution). This actually creates the base for my favorite homemade eye cream (link for recipe). I use this one.
45,000 IU Vitamin E Oil: Has antioxidant properties that help correct damage caused by free radicals (air pollution and UV rays). I prefer to use 45,000 IU because this is the maximum strength available out there. As with so many other things, Vitamin E Oil is NOT all the same. Finding some for a lower price doesn't mean that you are getting the same strength oil, or that you can expect to get the same results! I use this one.
Organic Honey: Opens up your skin pores to cleanse them and get rid of black heads. It's antioxidant, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties allow it to help you fight acne by keeping your pores free of oily dirt while at the same time keeping them hydrated and tight to give you a clearer complexion. The best honey is organic local wild honey. Check out your farmer's market!
Organic Manuka Honey: If regular honey is good for your skin, Manuka Honey's properties are on steroids. It improves your skin's appearance. It helps balance your skin's pH level and helps slough away dead cell debris to keep your skin clean. Its anti-inflammatory effects decrease local inflammation caused by acne. As an antibacterial, Manuka honey leaves behind fewer bacteria to infect pores and cause acne. The Manuka bush is related to Tea Tree, and we all known how good Tea Tree is for the skin. The only drawback I have to report about Manuka honey is that it has a strong antiseptic/Tea Tree scent to it. This may or may not bother you. My favorite brand can be bought here.
Green Clay: For oily, combination and acne-prone skin, Green Clay is ideal for restoring balance. Green Clay works to soak up excess oils that clog pores and leads to acne, blemishes and other skin imperfections. It also doubles as a powerful deep cleanser that helps to balance your skin's pH levels. I like to use this for homemade clay masks. My favorite French green clay can be purchased here.
Jojoba Beads: A natural exfoliant, Jojoba beads are tough enough to remove dead skin cells, but gentle enough not to harm the skin. Many exfoliants out there are far too harsh on the skin and can actually cause micro tears in the surface of skin leaving it open to acne-causing bacteria and damaging the overall texture of the skin. My favorite jojoba beads to use in homemade scrubs can be found here. A little bit goes a VERY long way when adding it to your scrubs!
Organic Cane Sugar: This is also an excellent natural exfoliant because it dissolves quickly making it gentler on the skin. This is also a much more cost effective exfoliant then jojoba beads. For recipes on soap scrubs, foaming sugar scrubs and more, check out my soap making blog here. I usually buy the big 10 lb bags of organic cane sugar from Costco, but if you aren't a member, this is a good alternative.
Castile Soap: I love castile soap because it's non-toxic and makes it so much easier to create gentle, personalized washes, scrubs etc. You can personalize it as needed and it's non-irritating on the most sensitive skin. Just make sure that you purchase one without any added synthetic scents. This one is my favorite.
Essential Oils with Skin Benefits
Frankincense Essential Oil: Has antiseptic and astringent properties which help reduce the appearance of large pores, prevents wrinkles, tightens the skin to slow the signs of aging, reduces dark spots and speeds up the skin's natural healing process.
Lavender Essential Oil: Soothing to the skin and helpful in speeding the healing process of minor scratches, cuts and burns.
Geranium Essential Oil: Reduces inflammation and puffiness around the eyes, has antiseptic and wound healing properties, improves circulation, and is a natural astringent, tightening the skin and slowing the signs of aging. It's also beneficial for dry skin, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Tea Tree Essential Oil: Natural anti-inflammatory properties, natural anti-bacterial properties, excellent for treating acne. Helps even skin tone.
Patchouli Essential Oil: Natural anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and astringent. It hastens the fading of scars, stimulates contractions in the skin which helps prevent sagging and aging, stimulates the regeneration of new skin cells, and has been known to help in the treatment of eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
Cypress Essential Oil: Possesses antimicrobial properties, stimulates blood flow, reduces inflammation and decreases fluid retention all of which helps to eliminate puffiness around the eyes.
Melrose Essential Oil: A blend of two types of Tea Tree varieties, Rosemary & Clove: used in the treatment of acne, soothes the skin, improves texture & complexion and helps heal wounds.
Lemongrass Essential Oil: Has anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate and vitamin C as well as many minerals. It's antiseptic and astringent properties serve as a natural toner, and strengthens your skin tissues. Please use this with caution and dilute heavily as it is considered a hot oil and can cause irritation to the skin when used undiluted.
Lemon: Lemon has natural detoxifying and anti-bacterial effects. It's helpful for minimizing acne, and is especially good for evening out skin tone and hyper-pigmentation. I suggest using this with Frankincense to optimize these benefits. One word of caution when applying Lemon to the skin. Lemon oil has photosensitive properties, which means it will increase your risk of sunburn when used within 12 hours of sun exposure. For this reason I suggest you either use this only at night, or always use a broad spectrum SPF.
Sandalwood Essential Oil: It is hydrating and can provide your epidermis with the ultimate replenishment. As an emollient, it has powerful hydrating effects on the skin, penetrating deeply to deliver an intense dose of moisture. It gently tones and tightens the appearance of wrinkles and it renews the complexion and evens skin tone.
Manuka Essential Oil: Manuka has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties which combat skin irritation and infections, including acne-causing bacteria.
Blue Tansy Essential Oil: Blue Tansy calms irritation from bug bites, rashes etc. It reduces heat and inflammation, and it provides relief from skin issues such as eczema, acne and dermatitis.
It is also soothing to dry and sensitive skin. Blue Tansy has a distinct blue color, so use it diluted or use it at night as it can temporarily color your skin.
Rose Essential Oil: Rose not only smells incredible, it's also known to hydrate dry skin, clear acne, reduce signs of aging, minimize the appearance of scars, and help with conditions such as eczema and rosacea. It's also extremely concentrated, so you only need a drop or two.
A few notes to consider when creating or making homemade products:
*Always use distilled water. Tap water contains bacteria which will greatly lower the shelf life of your product. *Use glass because it better preserves and protects the oils. Dark or colored glass is always better than clear glass because oils can be damaged by the UV rays allowed to penetrate a clear glass bottle.
*Vitamin E contains natural preservative qualities. Not only is it great for your skin, but it will lengthen the shelf life of your homemade products.
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I only recommend favorite products that I have personally used and loved and I always search for the best prices to pass along to you.
I also only use and recommend therapeutic grade essential oils. I use Young Living oils which can be purchased through this link. If you'd like to learn more about why I've chosen this brand in particular, use this link to check out my blog post talking about essential oils.