No matter what type of skin you have choosing the right cleanser is key to maintaining the protective layer and nutrition of your skin. When choosing cleansers for skin types, I break them into different categories ranging from the most gentle and nourishing to the strongest cleansers:
Cream Cleansers – have the consistency of thick cream. Cream cleansers generally don’t contain any surfactants (foaming agents). They are ideal for dry, dehydrated, mature or sensitive skin as they work by using the oil component to bind with and remove makeup and daily pollution. Cream cleansers only minimally disrupt the acid mantle of the skin, if at all and maintain skin hydration. They are also the best for removing makeup.
For best results, moisten your face with tepid water, apply the cream cleanser and gently massage your face. Remove by wiping with a soft moist cloth or rinse with tepid water. Examples include Haven Scent Coconut Cream Cleanser and AUM Brightening Milk Cleanser.
Milk Cleansers – have the consistency of milk. Milk cleansers may or may not contain surfactants and if they do, they are generally only very mild surfactants. They are lighter than cream cleansers and therefore are ideal for normal to sometimes dry, mildly dehydrated and mature skin. Examples include Treasured Earth Cleansing Milk and Third Stone Botanicals Palmarosa Cleansing Milk.
Gel Cleansers – typically used for normal to combination skin they can be minimally drying but less so than a foaming cleanser. Gel cleansers are ideal for skin that is sometimes dry and sometimes a bit oily and certainly for congestion. They aren’t as good as milk or cream cleansers at removing makeup but will certainly give the skin a “clean” feeling. Generally they are gentler on the skin than Foaming Cleansers and less disruptive to the acid mantle. Mukti Gentle Foaming Cleanser and Treasured Earth Lemon & Mango Cleansing Gel
Foaming Cleansers – often leave you with a “squeaky-clean” feel and so are great for acne-prone, congested or oily skin. Most natural foaming cleansers only create tight bubbles rather than lots of foam like cleanser based on synthetic foaming agents. The smaller foaming action means less disruption to the acid mantle and a quicker recovery. Foaming cleanser can be slightly drying for non-oily skin types or in winter when there is less humidity in the air. Examples include: Remedica Black Soap, Devita Aloe Cleanser and Third Stone Botanicals Rose Geranium Cleanser.
If you use a cleanser that is too “strong” for your skin it will have an impact on the protective layer and you may find your skin feeling overly tight. Using a richer moisturizer is a common way of combating the use of the wrong cleanser for your skin type and ultimately it will lead to either dehydrated skin or dehydrated skin with congestion, which is something no-one wants.
On the other hand choosing a cleanser that is too rich for your skin can lead to congestion and/or superficially oily skin. Again not a great outcome! You may find that you need to try a few cleansers to get the best one for your skin. And indeed it may change with the seasons. Myself, I use a cleaning gel in summer and a milk in winter which I have found suits my skin perfectly. As a general rule of thumb, if your skin feels squeaky clean, the cleanser is probably to “strong” for your skin. Your skin should feel clean but not tight after cleansing.Twitter It!
A bush tucker food native to the Northern Territory and Western Australia has raised the interest of a major US cosmetics giant. Last year Mary Kay cosmetics applied for an international patent on the Kakadu Plum extract to be used in skin care products. Traditionally used for food and medicine by the Mirrar people of Kakadu, this patent would create a monopoly of use for Mary Kay for up to the next 20 years. There is concern about this patent application as it may limit future use of similar extracts and indeed may exclude the use of Kakadu Plum in existing cosmetic products. The application had also angered some indigenous people as it doesn’t take into account any benefit sharing for traditional use of the plum.
Also known as Billygoat plum, the round, light green fruits are usually eaten raw or made into jam. The fruits gained increased popularity after the vitamin C content became known. Significantly the Kakadu Plum has been identified world wide as the single natural food source with the highest vitamin C content on the planet. It contains up to 3000mg of vitamin C per 100g of fruit, which is over 50 times the concentration found in oranges. In addition high levels of folate and polyphenolic antioxidants were also found.
Unfortunately, supply of high-vitamin C content Kakadu Plum may be limited. Antioxidant levels including vitamin C respond to harsh growing conditions and rise when the plant is under environmental threat which is common in wild stands of trees. Plantation crops of the fruit have lower levels of vitamin C due to irrigation and less harsh growing conditions.
The vitamin C content in particular explains why it Kakadu Plum has gained the recent interest of Mary Kay. Among other benefits Vitamin C – supports and stimulates collagen synthesis and reduces free radical damage. Significantly in the Australian climate, it also minimised photoaging. Photo-aging damage includes but is not limited to: wrinkles, dark blotches, freckles, leathery texture and loss of elasticity.Twitter It!
Given the frequency of allergic skin reactions when I found this article by Mukti of Mukti Botanicals I thought it was excellent. It is an extensive look at how to manage skin allergies and so I have included it in full. If you have experienced allergic skin reactions at any stage I would love to hear what you did to overcome the problem or indeed if you are still trying to work out what the culprits are:
Allergies are a leading cause of chronic disease in western civilizations. With an annual cost estimated well into the tens of billions, allergies are believed to complicate and handicap the lives of millions of adults and children alike.
At some point most of us have experienced an allergic reaction or sensitivity to something in our immediate surrounds. It is unknown as to why certain individuals develop allergic sensitivities. In some cases it may take repeat exposures over a long period of time before an allergy actually develops or it could be due to a combination of certain chemicals or environmental exposure. Once you have become sensitized (allergic) your immune system “remembers” and you will continue to be sensitive to that particular ingredient. If you suffer from eczema a particular chemical may be the cause but other factors play a role as well. Whatever the case, reactions are very idiosyncratic and paradoxical in nature due to our unique biochemical makeup. Therefore it is difficult to determine and pin point the exact cause.
What we do know about allergies is that our immune system over reacts with its defence mechanisms to a familiar or unfamiliar substance with a unique response to each subsequent exposure. When our skin or system encounters an individual or combination of particular ingredients our immune system responds by accepting, rejecting or adapting to the substance. If a reaction occurs our body naturally produces histamines as a defence mechanism and to rid the body of the unwanted toxin.
A reaction to a substance can trigger a number of associated problems. Topically you may experience swelling, redness, itching, burning, rash like pimples and general irritation. Other symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, difficult or obstructed breathing and may be linked to a number of common yet serious respiratory illnesses such as asthma and sinusitis. Of greater concern is that in some cases reactions can be severe and sometimes even fatal.
Similar to our genetic predisposition such as height, eye colour and baldness, the capacity to become allergic is an inherent characteristic. Although you may be born with a genetic makeup capable of developing allergies, you may not be allergic to specific allergens. Several factors contribute and must be present for an allergic sensitivity to develop:
Two ingredients that are present in all mass-produced cosmetics and personal care products are fragrances and preservatives and are often thought to be the major contributors to skin problems. Fragrances whether they are synthetic or natural in origin can have a cumulative effect. Artificial fragrances can in fact be composed of more than 200 chemical constituents including known carcinogens such as methyl chloride. There is no current regulation for fragrance manufactures to disclose the ingredients or test for toxic synergies.
Preservatives are a necessary addition in skin care products. Without them moulds, bacteria and fungus would contaminate the product posing further health risks. There are now a number of efficient natural preservatives including: Citrus Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Co2 rosemary extract, Gum Benzoin, Grape seed Extract, Tea Tree Extract, Silver Chloride and other patented synergies that are derived from oils and extracts that have potent anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties. Manufacturers should be looking towards replacing commonly used broad-spectrum anti-microbial and agents and known sensitisers such as parabens (endocrine disruptors) and imidazolidinyl and diazolidinyl urea (formaldehyde releasers).
Dermal reactions are different from food intolerances; however diet does play a major role in the integrity of our skin. Ingested allergens should be independently assessed. Just because you are unable to consume nuts for example does not necessarily mean that you will have a negative reaction to a topical application of a known culprit.
What can you do?
Not only do cosmetics and personal care products alter the energy and well being of our skin, equally important is what we put into our bodies. How we think and feel also plays a determining role in the health of external appearance.
With correct management and education allergic responses can be controlled and eliminated enabling individuals with allergies to lead normal and productive lives. Fortunately more responsible companies are manufacturing veritably natural products that are free from harmful and synthetic toxic chemicals.Twitter It!
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