Winter is here! We all know how that bitter winter wind dries our skin out. Naturally, we slather on facial moisturizer and body lotions, most of which contain any number of toxic chemicals and additives. Our skin in our largest organ. Check the labels on your products. Can you pronounce them? Do you know what they are? If not, rethink where those chemicals are going and what they may be doing on the inside, once they are absorbed. Fear, not. The natural products industry is here to help. According to the Organic Consumers Association:
Cool. The word is out. It might have something to do with this amazingly handy video: The Story of Cosmetics created by The Story of Stuff Project. If you want to know more about what's in that bottle of yours on the shelf, I recommend you check it out:
Know that not all health/body care products labeled "natural" are good for you. The Organic Consumers Association exists for that very reason, to make sure natural body care and health foods are what they claim to be--natural and healthy alternatives to mainstream products. Unfortunately, according to the OCA: "many brands market their products as "organic," but they don't have enough organic ingredients to be USDA certified, and they use ingredients that would never be allowed in USDA certified products." Again, all hope is not lost. The OCA homepage provides a VERY long list of companies known for making high-quality and legitimately natural products, many of which can be found in local stores within walking distance from you. See something you want on that list? Consider asking your local retailer to carry it, or special order it for you. Having worked in a few local stores in Somerville and Cambridge, I am willing to bet your request would be happily granted. In the meantime, while you're waiting for your luxurious new moisturizer to arrive, consider three very healthy, very natural and extremely affordable and versatile moisturizers provided by the mother of natural beauty, Mother Nature herself. WATER: Some clients of mine are surprised when I tell them to amp up their water consumption during the winter. They assume the summer months are the best time to chug-a-lug nature's top shelf beverage and they aren't wrong. The summer is hot. We perspire. We need to replace that lost moisture with more water. It makes sense. However, the arid, cold air of winter and overconsumption of sugar can wreak havoc on our skin. Drink plenty of fresh water (half your body weight in ounces) each day for well-hydrated, glowing skin all year. EAT YOUR FATS: Cooking with olive or sesame oil and eating avocadoes and/or real butter* are excellent ways to hydrate your skin from the inside-out. Or pull up a chair beside the ol' Nutcracker during the holidays because the nuts found in your standard mixed nut assortment (still in their shells) all contain the healthy fats needed for perfect nutrition for your body, skin and your brain. With all we have going on at the time of year, who can't use a brain boost?!
COCONUT OIL: Derived from coconuts, this oil is truly a miracle in my house. Some folks are still on the fence about its health benefits, but I'm sold on it. We cook* with it, add it to smoothies in the morning and slather it directly on our skin post-shower. A little goes a long way both internally and topically, and you can't get more natural than this oil right out of the jar. Why buy coconut-fragranced lotions packed with questionable chemical ingredients when I can use the real thing?! *As with anything in life, be sure to ingest these foods in moderation, being mindful of quantities and the quality of what you're consuming. It's true that coconut oil and butter contain saturated fat and too much of that isn't good for anyone, but many alternatives (low-fat or oil-based butters) contain chemicals or additives far more dangerous to your health. If you're not sure how much is too much, or not enough, ask your health care professional or let me know if I can support you.