To maintain a healthy skin appearance, most skin types need a little help with the process of shedding old skin cells. Removing dead skin cells helps pave the way for plumper, healthier cells to surface. Skin thickness increases as the flat, misshapen cells are replaced by round, moisture-filled, smoother cells. The skin functions better, oil flows more easily out of the pores and blemishes decrease since there is less blockage. The lower skin cells make their way to the surface between 28 to 45 days. This is why most products state you will see results after 6 weeks.
The human skin protects itself from the outside world by producing a natural skin cream made from sebum, lecithin, cholesterol, and water. Cellular renewal does not effect the collagen (which retains most of the water in human skin ) and elastin fibers that support the skin - only the sun breaks down collagen and causes wrinkles. Therefore, dry skin and wrinkles are not related.
Steps to repairing and reducing premature aging of skin: protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays from the sun, stop smoking, avoid secondhand smoke, don’t over irritate the skin, and avoid saturating the skin with too much moisturizer. Not everyone needs to moisturize their skin, especially those who have naturally oily skin. Over moisturizing clogs pores and can prevent skin from healing itself. Clogged pores result from ingredients that liquefy on the surface of the skin but can harden once they flow into the pores. Some essential oils may not clog pores because of their viscosity (thickness) but they also tend to be irritating and can stimulate oil production (such as jojoba oil). The only difference between a daytime and nighttime moisturizer is that daytime lotions usually contain a sunscreen. Special nighttime lotions and special eye creams are generally unnecessary(bogus) as they add no extra benefit to repairing skin.
The best cleanser we have found for dry to normal skin is Cetaphil (sold at all drugstores and costs about $9.- for 16 oz.). Add a little baking soda to the Cetaphil cleanser and you have the an excellent facial scrub for sensitive skin.
For oily skin, apply a light coat of Milk of Magnesia (mixture of magnesium hydroxide and water). It has soothing properties, reduces irritation, and absorbs oil very quickly. It has been used on ulcerated sores because it absorbs oily pus and disinfects wounds. Also the best facial mask for oily skin.
All skin care products contain mostly water, water-binding agents, oils or waxes, thickening agents, plant extracts, plant oils, vitamins, and preservatives. Cosmetic grade ingredients vary little in quality from one manufacturer to another. Shelf life is usually one to three years for most commercially manufactured lotions. Example: Du Pont supplies glycolic acid and many other ingredients to almost all brand name cosmetic manufacturers.
The main ingredient in most cosmetics is purified water which gives the product a thinner more liquid consistency. Water combined with fats and proteins are an excellent medium for growing bacteria therefore, preservatives and antibacterials are used both in natural and synthetic products to prevent this from occurring. Most people still prefer the smooth, rich feel of a lotion to the feel of pure oils or balms.
Water binding agents (or emulsifiers) are chemical compounds used to join oil and water to form a stable mixture call an emulsion. Emulsifiers that cause little or no skin irritation are:
Lecithin - a phospholipid derived from of soybean oil. Very common.
Glycerin - a byproduct of soap manufacture. It is an excellent humectant - attracts moisture from the air and holds it in skin cells.
Fatty alcohols - such as cetyl alcohol or cetearyl alcohol
Esters - fatty alcohols mixed with acids. An example is isopropyl palmitate
Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids “burn off” the outer layer of dead skin cells so
healthier cells come to the surface. It improves skin texture and color, unclogs pores, and allows moisturizers to be better absorbed. The constant exfoliation does cause skin irritation, but if you can handle it the results are a very dramatic improvement in skin appearance. Alpha hydroxy acids are composed of glycolic (sugar cane), lactic (milk) or citric (fruit) acids. Beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), a synthesized mixture of formaldehyde and monoxide. Has the same function as alpha hydroxy acids. BHA is best used for oily skin. AHA’s are preferred for dry skin. AHAs work best in a 5% to 8% concentration with a pH level of 3 to 4; BHA work best in a 1% to 2% concentration with a pH of 3. Few cosmetic manufacturers actually state this necessary information on their labels. Our Daily Shade Formula has an AHA level of about 3%. (You’re right, it’s not on the label but will be as of 2002.)
Retin-A and Renova
Retin-A is a Vitamin A acid (tretinoin is the active ingredient) approved by the FDA. Renova is the lotion form of Retin-A. It reduces fine wrinkling, uneven pigmentation, and rough skin texture. It also increases the amount of collagen (this is still a debatable issue within the scientific community - once collagen is gone there is no means of replacing it) and normalizes skin cells by changing the way they are formed in the layers of skin as well as in the pore. Retin-A is very harsh on the skin during the first week or so of use. The skin eventually adapts and the results can be dramatic. It causes severe sun-sensitivity therefore sunscreen and a big hat are absolutely necessary. Differin is a retinoid but less irritating to the skin than Retin-A.
Kinetin is a wrinkle reducer derived from a plant-growth factor that retards the aging process in plants. Furfuryladenine (kinetin derivative) is used by florists to keep flowers fresh longer. Less irritating than Retin-A but also not as effective. Kinetin is sold in a product called Kinerase and is usually available only in some doctor’s offices.
Enzymes are proteins that accelerate chemical reactions in a cell. Some enzymes depend on smaller enzymes (coenzymes) in order to function. In skin care products, enzymes are not stable and deteriorate quickly making them ineffective. Coenzyme Q10 is an example of one of these ineffective enzymes currently being added to cosmetics.
Since the sun is the primary cause of skin wrinkling, it is best to protect the skin from UVB (causes sunburn) and UVA (causes skin cancer) rays. It is important that sunscreens have both UVA and UVB protection, provided only by avobenzone (Parsol 1789), titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. Avobenzone is better for oily skin because it is not as thick but it can cause skin irritation. Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are completely non-irritating but pose a problem for oily or acne
prone skin because their occlusive composition can clog pores. Sunscreen products usually have shelf life of only two years. Few products indicate this important information on their labels. The date of manufacture is found on our SPF 15 Daily Shade Formula.
The only chemical agent proven to lighten skin are hydroquinone in a 1% to 2% solution. Hydroquinone doesn’t bleach skin but rather inhibits the production of melanin. Kojic and Song Yi acid also help hydroquinone to inhibit melanin hyper production and the combination result in better absorption. Exfoliants such as the hydroxy acids or Retin-A will also help to improve uneven skin pigmentation. Natural remedies for lightening skin such as Mulberry or Saxifrage extracts have not been proven to be effective.
Waxes and oils are used to add moisture to the skin. Natural oils and fats are complex compounds called triglycerides. Plants and animals manufacture oils and fats by joining glycerin and three fatty acids as part of the metabolic process.
The better natural plant oils used in cosmetics are cold pressed to retain valuable substances like vitamins and essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids can not be synthesized in the human body, so we need to obtain them from some plant oils and animal fats. he most important ones are linoleic, linolenic, oleic, and arachidonic acids. Most essential oil molecules are very small which allows them to more easily penetrate the epidermis. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on which oil.
The better natural plant oils and butters include:
Safflower oil - has the highest linoleic acid content of all plant oils. Used in our lotion formulas. Does not clog pores.
Sweet Almond oil - gives a soft feel to cosmetics, is very stable and adds a long shelf life to the product, (Apricot oil is almost the same but the oil is not as stable).
Grapeseed oil - has a fine texture, smaller molecules penetrate deeper into the skin.
Jojoba oil - thick oil extracted from seeds of a desert shrub from Mexico. Closest plant based oil similar to sperm whale oil (spermaceti). Even though it is very close to human skin pH levels, it does clog pores and can cause allergic reactions.
Avocado oil - derived from the green pulpy fruit of the avocado. Has a high sterolin content as well as Vitamin A and C. Does not clog pores.
Castor oil - seed of the castor plant. Penetrates the deepest of all essential plant oils and is extremely soothing.
Tea tree oil - distilled from the leaves of the melaleuca tree from Australia. Excellent natural antibiotic used for treating infections and acne. Highly penetrating and not as irritating as other antibacterials. Most products contain only a 5% to 10% tincture of tea tree oil. During World War II, Australian soldiers used tea tree oil on burns and infected wounds to speed healing. Ever since, Australia has done considerable research and marketing of tea tree oil.
Colloidal Silver - processed to hold silver molecules in suspension. Can kill disease causing organisms in 6 minutes or less. Best remedy to disinfect ulcerated skin sores such as abscesses or fungus infections. Highly under rated, under used and non irritating. Unfortunately there are some poorly manufactured products available giving it a bad reputation it does not deserve. The FDA has also been unnecessarily hard on it.
Lavender oil - oil from crushed lavender flowers. Used for its fresh fragrance. Can cause allergic reactions and causes sun-sensitivity.
Borage oil - has the highest known content of gamma-linolenic acid in a plant.
Black Currant seed oil - contains a similar amount of GLA as borage oil.
Evening Primrose oil - contains high amount of GLA.
Chamomile oil - contains azulene and bisabolol (healing agents for the skin)
Calendula oil - derived from the flowers of the marigold plant. Believed to promote healing of skin tissues.
Aloe Vera gel - contains aloin, a C-glycoside (natural sugar) manufactured in the plant. Helps to heal inflamed skin and burns. Aloe vera is best used by rubbing in the gel of the freshly cut frond of the plant. Aloe vera penetrates through all 7 layers of skin to deliver the natural sugars to the immune system. The fatty acids in emu oil give greater relief of pain and speed healing more effectively than Aloe vera. Some people have allergic reactions to aloe vera.
Allantoin - comfrey extract or oil. Excellent skin healer. Non-irritating. Also synthesized from urea.
Olive Oil - Olive oil is most commonly used in natural cosmetics as it penetrates deeper than mineral oils. The squalene in olive oil (only found in the extra virgin oil - first pressing) is very beneficial for the immune system. Squalene can be extracted from the oil and used separately in skin care products. Most products contain refined olive oil with lacks large amounts of squalene. Recent studies have shown that it clogs pores and may cause allergic reactions. Even though it has a high oleic acid content it is not active as it is in emu oil. We recommend adding olive oil only to soap and not to any type of lotion or cleanser.
Shea butter - A natural fat obtained from the nuts of the karite tree in Africa. Comes in the form of a paste and is used as a thickening agent and very effective emollient for soothing dry skin. Shea butter has a high content of Vitamins A, E, and F. It also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect on tissues. Its content of cinnamitic acid protects against UV rays. If it actually does protect against UVA and/or UVB rays is unknown as well as its SPF factor. The natural latex in shea butter could help possibly prevent certain sun allergies. Feels very smooth and is non-irritating. We use a lot in our lip balms and lotion bar.
Cocoa butter - a butter derived from the cocoa tree that is used as a thickening agent and emollient. Has beneficial fatty acids for soothing skin but can cause allergic reaction. Also in our lip balm and lotion bar.
Best natural animal fats or waxes include:
Emu oil - by far the best oil for the skin, completely hypo-allergenic and healing
Shark oil - derived from the fat of the shark, has almost the same properties as emu oil. Has a similar fatty acid profile to emu oil.
Spermaceti - sperm whale oil is derived from a fat gland in the head of the sperm whale. Similar to shark oil.
Mink oil - derived from the fat of minks. Highly moisturizing but penetrates only to the third layer of epidermis. Frequently causes allergic reactions.
Lanolin - product of oil glands of sheep. Basically a wax that absorbs and holds water to the skin and does this very well. Causes allergic reactions in about 10% of the population.
Beeswax - Wax from virgin bees. Very heavy and insoluble in water. Clogs pores and can cause contact dermatitis. Has minimal healing properties. An exception to this is beeswax obtained from Manuka bees. Bees feeding off the pollen of the Manuka bush in New Zealand (similar to the melaleuca bush in Australia) is said to have wound healing abilities. Manuka honey (or beeswax for minor cuts) when applied to a wound or burn releases natural hydrogen peroxide (very effective antibacterial) to kill bacteria and speed healing. The Honeydew bees of Europe are also believed to impart similar healing properties to their honey or beeswax. Otherwise, processed beeswax has no benefit other than waterproofing the top layer of skin as it does not penetrate the skin. It is necessary to add borax as a stabilizer to make the beeswax more spreadable and give it a better texture when beeswax is used as an emulsifier in lotions. A product containing more than 5% beeswax by volume of should not be used on the face.
Carnauba wax - wax from the Brazilian palm tree. Used as a texturizer. Non-irritating. Also used in wood floor and furniture finish waxes for its durability.
Synthetic oils and waxes: thickening agents
The emollient ingredients mimic the skin’s own oil production and add to the
creaminess and texture of a lotion. Most are completely non-irritating.
Dimethicone and cyclomethicone - silicone oils (made from sand) impart an unusually silky feel. This is the best oil to use in skin care products. It is completely non-irritating.
Acids: myristic, palmitic, and stearic acids (fats) are all excellent emollients
Alcohols: cetyl, stearyl, etc. are used in most cosmetics
Isopropyl palmitate - is a mixture of fatty alcohols and fatty acids. Obtained from palm oil, Japan wax, or vegetable tallow. It has a smoother texture than beeswax and is more suitable for lotions. Non-irritating.
Mineral oil and petrolatum - is a purified mixture of semisolid hydrocarbons from petroleum. The oily film helps to prevent evaporation of moisture and protects the skin from irritation. Even though they are very greasy and oily, they do not clog pores or cause any skin irritation at all. Not as recommend as dimethicone or glycerin for base lotions. There are some sources that mention studies showing that mineral oil or petrolatum can cause chemically induced acne, probably due to contaminants. Recent studies show it may help healing of certain skin irritations. It is very inexpensive.
Vitamins in skin care products cannot feed the skin but can work as antioxidants if the product contains enough. Theoretically, this can be of benefit to the skin. Antioxidants (means anti-oxygen) keep the drying effect of the air off the skin and help protect skin cells as well as extend the shelf life of certain ingredients by retarding the oxidation animal fats and seed oils.
Oxygen Regardless of sun damage or health issues, oxygen depletion is detrimental to skin and is greater in older skin. As some products claim, delivering oxygen to skin cells through cosmetics is scientifically impossible. More oxygen would void the effects of antioxidants and their protection of our skin cells.
Vitamin A - retinoids are synthetic vitamin A compounds. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative but not as potent as tretinoin (Retin-A) to exfoliate dead skin cells.
Vitamin C - ascorbic acid. Humans must obtain vitamin C only from external sources since our bodies are unable to produce it. Using Vitamin C topically can only provide some UVB radiation protection. It does nothing to prevent UVA penetration so a full spectrum sunscreen would still be necessary to protect the skin. Vitamin C represented as an anti-aging ingredient sold in skin care products is greatly exaggerated.
Vitamin D - used for its alleged skin-healing properties in cosmetics. Present in animal fats and is necessary for strong bones. Used as a treatment for psoriasis.
Vitamin E - linoleate is a deep moisturizer and an excellent antioxidant and preservative for skin care products.
Vitamin F - has high content of linoleic acid (70%) and linolenic acid (6%). A shortage of linoleic acid in the skin can increase acne.
Vitamin K - believed to affect the blood flow in veins. Sold as a treatment for spider veins. Scientifically, it is impossible to form blood clots to shut down a vein or capillary by applying Vitamin K to the surface of the skin. Only Photoderm lasers can safely remove spider veins.
Phospholipids (oils and fats mixed) are superior moisturizers, restore skin, posses the ability to penetrate the epidermis and carry substances right to the cell level. They form cell-like structures called “liposomes”. Liposomes are hollow microscopic fat bubbles composed of the same substance as cells. They can transport compounds (drugs, oils, lotions, etc.) deep into the skin. Liposomes are chemically manufactured and are not reliable compound releasers. They are also costly to produce. Emu oil on the other hand is a natural substance, more stable as a transporter and releaser and costs a fraction as much to produce. Emu oil does not adversely interact with the effectiveness of a medication as it penetrates through all 7 layers of skin to deliver compounds.
Without the addition of preservatives, a cream or lotion would spoil within 8 to 14 days. Even though some preservatives can cause skin reactions, the alternative of not using them is worse. The more natural ingredients a lotion may contain, the more preservatives are needed to keep it from spoiling. Since natural ingredients have a larger range of limitations, synthetic ingredients are often safer and more reliable for the skin. This applies to preservatives as well.
Most commonly used preservatives are:
Parabens - Very stable preservatives used in all cosmetics. Methyl paraben has a broad spectrum of anti microbial activity. Butyl paraben has anti fungal properties. Both parabens are used together in most cosmetics and according to the most recent research do not deserve the bad press they are currently receiving.
Diazolidinyl urea - Newer cosmetic preservative, very antiseptic. Made from dissolving urea crystals in alcohol.
Benzoic acid - A preservative that occurs in nature in cherry bark, raspberries, tea, anise, and cassia bark. A good anti fungal agent.
Gum Benzoin - As a natural preservative, it is balsamic resin from benzoin (cassia bark) grown in Thailand and Sumatra.
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