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Written by Miranda Huey   
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Wednesday, 02 September 2009

Skin Care: Guide to Making yours Eco-Friendly

The average person uses 10 different skin care products every day.1 You can easily make or buy your own cleansers, face masks, and moisturizers. Using eco-friendly skin care products has benefits for the environment, your health, and your wallet.

BENEFITS for the environment: Skin care products contribute to the thousands of chemicals washed down the drain. These disrupt aquatic ecosystems, seep into the soil, contaminate farms, and contribute to cancer and infertility among populations of marine life and wildlife.

BENEFITS for your health: Eco-friendly skin care products often have significantly fewer toxic chemicals than traditional products. Toxic chemicals are those that have been linked to causing birth defects, reproductive harm, and cancer.

BENEFITS for your wallet: If you make your skin care products at home, you will not only know exactly what ingredients you are putting on your face, but you can also save a lot of money!

Cost: Low
If you make these products at home, the common fruits and oils may already be in your pantry. Even if you wish to buy an eco-friendly skin care product already on the market, there are now lower-cost options in many stores.

Time and effort: Low to Moderate
Buying eco-friendly products is easy because all you need to do is know what to look for. If you make your own products, you can just blend the ingredients together and apply them to your skin.

Making your own eco-friendly skincare:

Face mask
  1. Banana Facial Mask for dry skin: Use this recipe if your face has dry skin. Honey naturally retains moisture well. This recipe can be found in http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/beauty/35.
    1. Get half a peeled banana, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of water, 2 teaspoons of finely powdered oats, a half a teaspoon of almond oil.
    2. Use either a blender or a food processor to mix all these ingredients together.
    3. Apply the masque to your skin, leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
    4. After you dry your skin again, apply a moisturizer. Store in a refrigerator for up to one day.

  2. Santa Monica's Oily Skin Masque: Use this recipe if your face has oily skin, and this recipe can be found at http://www.pioneerthinking.com/avocadobeauty.html. This is great because egg whites naturally tone open pores.2
    1. Get the white of an egg, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and the mashed pulp of half an avocado.
    2. Using a blender, blend these ingredients into a green mixture.
    3. Wash your face and neck thoroughly, and apply the masque to your skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes.
    4. Rinse off with water and a face cloth, and apply astringent or skin tonic.
Cleanser
  1. Avocado Facial Cleanser: Use this recipe if your face has dry skin. Avocado oil is a natural moisturizer. This recipe can be found at: http://www.pioneerthinking.com/avocadobeauty.html.
    1. Get the yolk of an egg, half a cup of milk, and the mashed pulp of half an avocado.
    2. Using a blender or a fork, blend or beat the mixture into a thin cream or lotion.
    3. Apply it to your skin using squares of cotton and rinse off. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 days.

  2. Tomato-and-yogurt cleanser: Use this recipe if your face has oily skin. The tomato has natural acids which shrink pores and tone skin. This recipe can be found at: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/fashion-beauty/edible-skincare-fresh-tomato.html.
    1. Using a blender or food processor, process the tomato into pulp.
    2. Filter the pulp out using some cheesecloth or muslin, leaving behind only the tomato juice.
    3. Mix in plain yogurt, with one part yogurt to every one part tomato juice.
    4. Apply it to your skin, leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse with water and dry. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Moisturizer
  1. Aloe Vera Moisturizer: Recipe available at: http://www.skincareresourcecenter.com/aloe-vera-moisturizer.html.
    1. Use one of the following: extra virgin olive oil, nut oil, or coconut milk.
    2. Mix this with the gel from one large Aloe Vera leaf.
    3. Apply a light layer in the morning and at night. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  2. Moisturizing Oils: Recipe available at: http://www.skincareresourcecenter.com/aloe-vera-moisturizer.html.
    1. Use one of the following oils: olive oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, castor oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil.
    2. Apply a light layer to warm, moist skin.
For information about eco-friendly cosmetics, check out the Greeniacs Guide: Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Supplies.

Buying eco-friendly products:

Avoid certain chemicals
These chemicals can be found in various skin care products, and have side effects which can be bad for both you and the environment.
  1. 1,4-Dioxane: This is a known animal carcinogen, a known eye and respiratory tract irritant, and is suspected of causing damage to the central nervous system.3
  2. Phthalates: Studies have shown these cause birth defects and harm male reproductive organs. Unfortunately, a legal loophole in the US means that phthalates can be included in a product's fragrance without actually appearing on the label.4
  3. Parabens: These are common preservatives which can mimic the hormone estrogen, which can increase the risk of developmental breast cancer and urogenital abnormalities.5
  4. Triclosan: This is classified by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, and its overuse could result in drug-resistant bacteria.6
Resources to help you choose non-toxic products:
  1. Skin Deep: This searchable site rates and lists toxic ingredients. Just type in the kind of product or the specific brand, and the site details what chemicals are in the product and how safe the product is overall. This resource is available at: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/index.php?nothanks=1.

  2. Demeter USA (http://www.demeter-usa.org/): This guide certifies if a product is biodynamic. Biodynamic products are organically grown, and emphasize a more holistic relationship between the soil, plants and animals.
So now you can get out there and purify while you beautify your skin!

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1 http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/natural-skin-care/natural-skin-care-basics.html
2 http://skinverse.com/egg-white-mask-for-oily-skin.html
3 http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2008/10/28/what-is-14-dioxane-and-why-you-should-avoid-it/
4 http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/natural-skin-care/skin-care-ingredients.html; http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/NEWSCIENCE/oncompounds/phthalates/phthalates.htm.
5 http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2007/06/21/what-are-parabens-and-why-should-you-avoid-them/.


6
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/natural-skin-care/skin-care-ingredients.html.




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