Ancient Egyptian Beauty - Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
We all want to put only the healthiest of food into our bodies (naturally Iím including wine and chocolate in that) but what about what we put ON our bodies? Our skin is the largest organ in the body. It weighs an average of 3.6kg and covers around 2 square meters.
If we didnít have skin we might look melted like a Salvidore Dali clock. Skin holds everything in, keeps nasties out, and insulates us from excess heat or cold.
According to one meme on facebook (an undeniably reputable source) an average woman is exposed to over two-hundred chemicals before she even leaves the house each day. Obviously this includes some completely unnecessary things like makeup and hair styling products but other things like soaps, facial cleansers, moisturisers and deodorants are considered compulsory.
Recently one of our Whole Woman team went completely chemical free. Here she shares her journey and a few tricks to make your skin glow with natural health as opposed to the glow that unpronounceable chemicals give you *shudder*
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
No shampoo is a growing movement. The simple way to do it is to stop using shampoo and wait out the manky hair (tie it up, wear hats and scarves over it until it calms down and the oil balances out) until you get smooth, healthy hair. Alternatively you can help speed up the process and look at it as ďno shampooĒ but ďaint no way Iím liviní with manky hair for an indeterminate periodĒ. After three weeks waiting for the oil to balance and no end in sight I broke and started using bicarb. I use one part bicarb, four parts warm water and tip it over my scalp. Then I give it a bit of a scrub and rinse it out. My hair is cleaner, less fuzzy, and actually an entirely different colour after only two months.
Oats - Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Soap is nice if you can get an all natural one but it can dry your skin out. Instead of using soap or facial cleaners fill an odd sock with oats and wash with it. My skin has never looked or felt better. I use a new sock every four or five days when the old one stops oozing oat milk. Oats are unbelievably soothing on your skin and oh so gentle as well. If youíve got sensitive skin this is the best way to keep it feeling soft and clean and avoid using products that have a drying effect.
I have a rule. If I canít say it, I donít eat it. And my new rule is that if I canít say it, I donít put it on my skin. Instead of using a nasty over packaged, mass produced moisturiser full of preservatives and synthetic scent, I simply use oil. I tried sweet almond oil but it didnít agree with my skin so I now use coconut oil, but you could also use anything you like the smell of. Donít worry that using oil will give you breakouts, the truth is that breakouts are either hormonal or they are your skin is struggling to maintain natural oils because you keep washing it away (wash your face with an oat sock). Washing your face with water or an oat sock will ensure that it doesnít get too dry, moisturising with a simple oil will help keep it in top condition. My teenager hasnít had a pimple since she started caring for the skin on her face like this - a teenager without zits? I think that says it all really.
Lavender - Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The thought of living without deodorant is enough to give some women nightmares. The truth is that sweat doesnít actually smell though, the reason we get BO is because there is bacteria in our armpits, and it does smell. When we wear chemical based antiperspirants or deodorants (and even the most natural of deodorants are made with chemicals) it causes the body to overproduce the sweat and bacteria. Itís a vicious circle! So what do we do about it? Firstly, use a pinch of bicarb to absorb moisture and odour, and secondly dab on a few drops of of an antibacterial oil like lavender or tea tree. Within a fortnight I noticed less perspiration in my armpits, I havenít had any unpleasant odour at all. In fact I find the natural scents of the oils far more pleasant than the artificial scent in deodorant.
So herein lies the tale of how one woman drastically reduced the chemicals on her body. You might find that other things work better for you. Some women find bicarb drying, others hate the smell of lavender, and thatís not a problem. Switch it around with what works for you. The point is to reduce chemicals on your skin, not to follow hard and fast rules. Given our chemically reliant culture itís understandable that a bit of experimentation needs to happen before you find the right balance. But donít give up! Keep wrangling til you find what works best for you.