Taking care of my skin has always been very important to me, but not necessarily for the reasons people may think.
I suffer from psoriasis. An incurable, autoimmune disease that affects the epidermis, started in my late teens on my upper arms and has been slowly spreading ever since. It’s genetic, non-infectious, horribly uncomfortable and not pretty. After a few attempts at treatment, I decided life-long steroids, chemical peels and immune system suppressing medications were not for me. (none of which can cure psoriasis, only treat the symptoms. Like putting a toxic bandaid on a bullet wound.) The best thing to do is treat the skin before it becomes symptomatic, and try to avoid environmental triggers. Thus my skin care efforts for most of my life have been largely due to my trying to combat psoriasis and not aggravate the condition any more. Heavily perfumed products and the chemicals, parabens and other synthetic ingredients that the cosmetic industry is swimming in make my skin flair and I can’t use them without suffering the consequences. And perhaps this has helped me keep a youthful appearence.
People often don’t believe me when I tell them how old I am. Turning 40 this year, it can be good and bad. Good when I need a shallow pick-me-up and some random person tells me I look 25, not so good when the clerks at the store won’t sell me alcohol. (Seriously, I’m a 40-year-old mom of a toddler – JUST GIVE ME MY WINE)
Thanx to a mix of good genes, my own personal lifestyle choices (I drink around 2 litres of water a day since my early teens and I have never smoked), and a thorough skin care regime, I have fairly good, healthy skin that is not quite as aged as it could be at this time in my life.
I never thought much about my youthful look, but it seems to be a happy by-product of the lengths I’ve gone to to take care of the condition of a growing diseased landscape. But lately, things are changing. Those fine lines are creeping in and the sagging has begun (HELP!) so I have been thinking about the ageing part of my skin, not just the health, more and more. Not only is my usual up-keep not cutting it anymore, but the ingredients I put on my skin are more important to me than ever. Gone are the days when I would haphazardly buy some miracle cream based on glitzy advertising or sneaky subliminal messaging, blindly believing the lies. I’m now warier and suspicious (it comes with age I guess) and have been doing a lot of research into cosmetics, (creams, balms, moisturizers, toners, oils, soaps and serums) and have been left a little afraid.
The beauty industry is a scary place! From the toxic chemicals they put into things that we unwittingly paste on ourselves with no care as to what damage it is doing INSIDE our bodies (so long as the outside looks good, right?) to the ethical debate and how many of these brands, both top and unknown, use un-ethically sourced ingredients in the name of their profit margins…it’s quite disturbing. Here is an excellent article that helps to break it down, including a list of chemicals to avoid that are found in many beauty products.
So I have made a decision. To go along with my efforts in reducing plastic in our household, I am going to go on a natural cosmetic journey to find out exactly how I can care for my own skin, face and body using only natural ingredients. And where possible, to make it myself.
I’m quite excited about this venture! I have already made a Body Butter Bar and some lip balm (both work wonders on my psoriasis and smell amazing!) with organic, raw natural butters, unrefined beeswax and essential oils that I bought from companies that claim to have ethical sources. I’m going to enjoy this! Makeup and cosmetics have always been a guilty pleasure. I loved playing with and dabbing concoctions on my face ever since I was a kid. One unfortunate episode when I was 6 or 7 left myself and my bestie with burning cheeks, fighting over the only trickle of water we could find in the back yard to wash off the mystery white powder we found and decided would be a good idea to put all over our faces. As a teen, the same bestie and I would spend sleepovers mixing up face masks with avocado, plain yoghurt and whatever other fanciful ingredients we could find in our mothers’ fridges… It was always fun for me.
So watch this space! The internet is a wonderful source for recipes and tips, and I’m excited to try my hand at a body scrub, an eye cream and a deep moisturising night mask. Who knows where my journey will lead.