Green Envee Tips
‘Tis the season for…dry, flaky skin? No thanks. Just because every past winter has brought dry, dull skin doesn’t mean that it’s a seasonal requirement. Though we can’t prevent single digit temperatures or mass amounts of snow, we can help keep your skin nourished and balanced all winter with these 7 simple skin tips.
- Drink Plenty of Water. It’s easy to remember to carry a water bottle when it’s hot and sunny outside, but our bodies need water in winter too – every organ (including our skin) depends on adequate water consumption for heat regulation, nerve function, digestion, even emotional balance and cell regeneration. Uneven skin tone, skin dullness, accentuated fine lines and dry lips are indicators of the body’s need for more water. So fill up that water bottle and keep striving for half your weight in ounces every day. Add a lemon wedge or cucumber slice, drink some decaffeinated tea – whatever it takes to get you sipping on the H20.
- Swap Cleansers. Try swapping super sudsy cleansers for oil /cream based formulas or alternate these with your existing gel wash. Make sure your current cleanser does not contain Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (a skin irritant which pollutes our ground water and is found in floor de-greaser – yuck) known to strip your skin’s hydro-lipid barrier. This barrier keeps moisture in and bacteria out; when compromised irritation and breakouts can occur.
- Facial Exfoliator: Dull skin and dry patches are usually due to the accumulation of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. These cells build up and create a “wall” that doesn’t allow the beneficial ingredients of moisturizers and serums to penetrate properly. Help eliminate dry patches and dull skin by exfoliating 1-2 times weekly. A gentle (key word: gentle) facial exfoliator such as sustainable bamboo powder, stimulates cell renewal, minimizes fine lines and ensures your products will penetrate properly. Routine use also helps alleviate dull skin tone and promotes a youthful glow.
- Body Scrub: While the face requires a gentle exfoliator, our body’s skin benefits from a denser exfoliating scrub. In addition to eliminating dry, flaky skin, an organic cane sugar scrub improves circulation and increases collagen production, which reduces the appearance of cellulite. Organic cane sugar has naturally occurring AHAs which digest dead skin cells and smooth the skin. Likewise, increased circulation from the scrub can ease muscular tension and leave you with soft, supple skin.
- Use Warm Water. A hot shower or bath may feel fabulous during frigid weather, but it’s actually more drying for your skin. The hot water strips your skin of its natural oils/sebum, leaving you with dry, itchy skin. Instead, use comfortable warm water to prevent unnecessary dryness and be sure to hydrate immediately after your shower or bath.
- Body Oil + Lotion: Unlike petroleum-based products that leave a suffocating barrier on top of your skin, nutrient dense seed oils moisturize the skin without an occlusive, greasy feel. Look for ingredients like organic Evening Primrose oil, which helps repair skin damage and alleviate psoriasis and eczema by promoting cell regeneration. Another beneficial ingredient for dry, winter skin is organic Sea Buckthorn oil, packed with antioxidants and trace minerals to eliminate dry skin and nourish your body’s largest organ. If dry skin is a major issue, try adding body oil on top of lotion to really seal in moisture and give the skin an extra boost of moisture and essential fatty acids. We keep travel sizes of our lotions all over to ensure skin hydration on the go.
- Facial Moisturizers: Even with our best efforts, extreme temperatures can result in dry skin. To help repair and hydrate your skin overnight, choose facial moisturizers that contain nutrient dense seed oils and restorative botanicals like Olive Squaline: derived from olives, this botanical lipids works deep within the skin to provide antioxidants and rehydrate dry skin. Hyaluronic Acid is also a hero ingredient since it binds 1000 X its weight in water and helps to hydrate and plump the skin. And don’t forget your lips! Keep a petroleum free lip balm next to your night stand, in your purse, your car so it’s easy to find and swipe on for instant lip hydration and protection.
Even though Mother Nature might bring brutal cold, snow, and wind, these skin tips will help your skin stay hydrated and balanced. Adapting your skincare routine each season, and using pure botanical ingredients, will help you maintain your youthful glow year round. While we can’t predict the weather, we can predict great winter skin.
There are countless moisturizers, cleansers, toners, and eye creams promising clear complexions and a natural glow. But, if your skin care contains these common ingredients, you may actually be causing damage instead of creating healthy, nourished skin. Whether you’re spending $5 or $100, if your products contain any of these seven ingredients, it’s time to choose safer skin care.
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and some of what goes onto it is also absorbed into it. So, in addition to harmful effects on your skin, some of these ingredients may also have negative affects on your endocrine, reproductive, and digestive systems.
Regardless of marketing hype, check your skin care labels, and leave any with the following ingredients behind on the shelf.
- Parabens/Phthalates: Used to prohibit mold growth, parabens and phthalates are unfortunate common skin care ingredients. Sure, a longer shelf life may be advantageous for the manufacturer, but parabens/phthalates are hormone disrupters imitating estrogen and have been linked to breast and testicular cancer. They can also cause skin rashes and allergic responses. Double check your labels; even though a product may claim phthalate-free, they be lurking under the ingredient “Fragrance.” Parabens & phthalates are banned in the EU.
- Fragrance/Parfum: Added scents to skin care may be popular, but they’re also dangerous. Synthetic fragrances are a blend created from hundreds of possible chemicals. Since this blend is considered “proprietary,” which chemical is causing headaches, rashes, or allergies isn’t known. Likewise, synthetic fragrances have been linked to skin irritations, migraines, allergies, cancer, and respiratory/nervous system damage. Check your labels: even products listed as “unscented” may still contain Fragrance or Parfum.
- Mineral Oil/Paraffin: Both are petroleum by-product ingredients used to “moisturize” skin. Though they’re water-resistant and said to prevent moisture loss, they actually create a barrier for the skin. This prevents allowing the pores to “breathe” and, instead, clogs pores increasing likelihood of blackheads and breakouts. Also, since mineral oil and paraffin are petroleum by-products, they are susceptible to contamination and they provide no nourishment or benefits for the skin.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Though commonly used to treat acne, benzoyl peroxide is not only harmful on a short-term basis but long-term as well. Benzoyl peroxide strips the skin of its natural sebum necessary for healing and protection. Dry, flaky, irritated skin are common reactions while in use. Prolonged use, however, increases free-radicals within the body which promotes tumor growth, increased risk for cancer, and premature aging of the skin. Banned in the EU.
- Ethanolamines (MEA/TEA/DEA): Though you may find their full names- monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine- listed in the ingredients of facial cleansers, body washes, and cosmetics (as well as some pesticides), their abbreviations (MEA/DEA/TEA) are more typical. While they’re declared “safe” when rinsed-off the body, prolonged use increases risk for cancer, liver/kidney toxicity, and nervous system damage. Due to their ammonia compounds, skin burns, respiratory illnesses, and allergic responses are also common side-effects.
- PEG’s (polyethylene glycols): Another petroleum by-product, PEG’s are often used in skin care creams. Like parabens/paraffin, PEG’s also create a barrier on the skin eliminating moisture loss, but act as a suffocating barrier. There is a high contamination risk during production that increases exposure of ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane: a known carcinogen and possible carcinogen respectively.
- Sulfates (sodium laurel sulfate (SLS)/ sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)): Associate foam and suds associated “clean?” Not anymore. Sulfates are created, once-again, by petroleum by-products. While SLS and SLES give us bubbles, they can also provide skin irritation, brittle hair, lung irritation, and kidney damage. And, 1,4 dioxane- a possible carcinogen- is often a by-product of SLES.
Though some ingredients are deemed “safe” in trace amounts, when they’re found in multiple daily-use products (in addition to others outside of the skin care category), exposure is no longer minute. Daily toxins accumulate in the body damaging the skin and increasing susceptibility to illness. Avoiding these seven ingredients is a safer start. You can further maintain the skin’s youthful suppleness and natural glow by choosing skin care with plant-based and nature-derived ingredients. If we consider our skin care food for our skin, selecting ingredients that nourish the tissue is essential. Controlling which ingredients you’ll allow on your body ensures that your skin care not only promotes gorgeous skin but also a healthy body.