Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Natural Skin Care Solutions
Organic Skin Care Options
“Nature has provided us with everything we need to nurture our skin; we should just let it get on with it.”
There’s no shortage of skincare brands – marketing, advertising and making claims on the shelves in your local pharmacy, health food store or where ever it is you go to buy your beauty products. Underneath all the hype there are some fundamental guidelines you can follow when purchasing your skincare to ensure your ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ product is everything the label says it is.
Several environmentally and health conscious skincare companies have spent a fortune in research and development to make safe products that are full of active natural ingredients and no chemical nasties. Many of these are just as, and often more effective than products sold over the counter in department stores every day. Nature has provided us with everything we need to nurture our skin; we should just let it get on with it.
Here are some of the best natural ingredients for skincare to effectively heal, nurture, moisturise and slow down the ageing process. It’s also important to note the order the ingredients are listed on the label. The more there is of an ingredient, the closer to the top of the list it is.
With properties similar to the skin’s own sebrum, jojoba oil is easily absorbed for maximum moisturising. With strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can destroy skin bacteria and fungi making it useful in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. It’s also known as nature’s wrinkle fighter – when applied, it holds water in the skin and it even absorbs UV rays before they can penetrate the skin. It can also act as a natural preservative with its antioxidant properties.
Best renowned for its anti-aging benefits, rosehip oil is extracted from the fruit of the rose bush. The oil is extracted in order to get the high essential fatty acids, which make it such a beneficial oil for anti-aging and regeneration of the skin. Along with the essential fatty acids, rosehip oil is also rich in Vitamin C, A, D and E and antioxidants. The vitamin C in rosehip oil is responsible for producing collagen and improving skin elasticity. Used at night, it acts as a skin multi-vitamin, replacing nutrients lost during the day and repairs the skin while you sleep. Can be used for dry skins, as it can balance the skin.
Noted as one of the best ingredients for healthy hair and used in India, coconut oil helps to condition and repair hair and help with dandruff. The different acids and antioxidants and antibacterial properties are the reasons for its benefits. Good for cooking and the face, coconut oil is nourishing and moisturising without being too heavy on the face. It’s great for dry, flaky skin in winter and for helping to improve those wrinkles or sagging.
Lavender oil is best known for its fabulous smell. Used regularly in natural perfumes or aromatherapy blends, it also has antiseptic and antifungal properties. It helps to soothe sunburn and heal wounds. Combined with chamomile, lavender oil helps with eczema treatment.
Aloe is found in many skincare products, especially products designed for oily skin. But it’s also a great healer – it is absorbed into the skin tissues below the surface. It’s rich in vitamins as well as being an effective wetting agent to help with cleansing.
This plant derived pro vitamin B5 is an effective aid for irritated or damaged skin.
Organic green tea (Camellia sinensis): A potent anti-oxidant known to fight free radicals helps rejuvenate the skin and prevents sun damage. Promotes elasticity – as well as being high in vitamins, including B complex.
Included in facial creams to treat acne due to antibacterial properties and also contains lactic acid and helps remove dead skin cells in facial cleansers.
Included for its antibacterial and soothing properties. Many creams for babies’ skin also contain calendula; it’s also great in hair care to sooth sensitive scalps.
Unrefined Shea Butter
Shea butter is a common ingredient in body butters, lip balms and moisturisers – creamy yellow in colour; it has a lovely nutty fragrance. This unrefined version retains many of the remarkable properties for which shea butter is renowned – deeply moisturising, anti-scarring, anti-inflammatory, rich in vitamins A and E and other phytonutrients, and even provides mild UV radiation protection.
Preserving natural and organic skincare products has been one of the major sticking points. Certified organic skincare can have no chemical interference, this means water based products that are prone to bacterial growth once opened, must contain a natural preservative. Many products labelled organic, as opposed to certified organic (and yes, there is a BIG difference) contain safer chemical preservatives such as phenoxyethanol or benzyl alcohol.
The chemical nasties you’re looking for when it comes to preservatives include;
Parabens (Propyl, Methyl, Butyl, or Ethyl): Parabens are used as preservatives in numerous skin care and hair care products. They are highly toxic as they release Formaldehyde when exposed to the air and cause allergic and skin reactions.
There’s a whole host of other chemical nasties to avoid if you’re concerned about your health, and the health of your family. Several of these ingredients are now considered a cancer risk, especially breast cancer. More and more research is being done so that in the future they can have them banned from skincare.
Propylene Glycol: Propylene glycol is obtained from petrochemicals and is added in numerous skin care creams and lotions as an emulsifying agent. It makes the skin look smooth; however, it speeds up aging of the skin. It also causes irritation and contact dermatitis.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS acts as a surfactant, degreaser, and emulsifier and is used in numerous foaming personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, body wash products, face cleansers, shaving cream, etc. This detergent affects the eyes and delays their healing time. It can be absorbed by the skin surface and gets accumulated in your body organs. When used in products containing nitrogen-based raw materials, it forms carcinogenic nitrates, which are known to cause irritation to the eye and skin.
Fragrance/Parfum: Artificial fragrance can cause numerous health problems including headaches, lung problems, skin irritation and dizziness.
Mineral Oil: Mineral oils are obtained from petroleum products and can cause skin irritations. They block skin pores, which restricts movement of nutrients and waste matter from the cells.
Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl Urea: These are also used as preservatives and are known for causing contact dermatitis.
Ingredients with PEG in the name: Polyethylene Glycol is their extended name; they should be avoided in cleansers for your skin and hair, as independent testing has shown they can be contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane; a petroleum-derived carcinogenic compound that is also used in dry cleaning solvents, lacquers and automotive coolant.
Synthetic Colours: Synthetic colours can cause allergic skin reactions.
Triethanolamine (TEA): TEA is used to adjust the pH of the cosmetics. It causes various allergic reactions including eye problems, and dryness of hair and skin. Also look out for MEA and DEA for the same reasons.
Packaging is the final element for consideration for natural and organic skincare. Certified organic skincare can contain only natural ingredients so it’s incredibly important to stop bacterial growth, by keeping air from getting into the packaging. Some skincare companies have again spent a fortune in research and development to ensure that their super effective ingredients maintain their integrity for the life of the product. It should also be noted here that the time between starting and discarding most organic and natural skincare should only be about 9 to 12 months. A product you love to use probably wouldn’t last you that long anyway.
What to look for in packaging.
Recycleable or Reusable: just makes good sense.
Positive Packaging: Opening and dispenser is at the bottom of the packaging allowing gravity to make it airtight.
Dark coloured glass: To maintain the integrity of active ingredients and Essential Oils.
As wonderful as it would be to live in a world where all products were labelled with 100% honesty (and claims had to be proven without a doubt before they could be made); we’re not there yet.
We can all help move a step closer though by making the hugely profitable skincare industry conscious of the new paradigm by voting with our wallets and supporting skincare companies that have embraced nature in word and action by creating super effective products that have a positive impact on the future of our planet and our health.
(Lesley-Ann Trow is the founder of www.gorgeousthings.com.au – The Pink Guide to Being Green and Gorgeous)
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Hemp and Humanity- How Can it Help
By Michelle Stapleton
Hemp food products are widely consumed throughout the world, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand.
Intro: What if someone told you that there was an amazing natural resource that could help feed us, house us, clothe us, make our paper, our fuel, replace plastic with a biodegradable alternative and assist in our personal care? You would be amazed? Read on!
The resource that can achieve this is industrial hemp, and this natural resource has been well tested throughout time for thousands of years, but in the last fifty years it has virtually disappeared from mainstream usage in western society. Hemp is one of the oldest plants used by mankind. Hemp seeds have been found in archaeological excavations over much of the world. The potential of this resource is now being revisited, developed and adapted to meet 21st century needs, right here in Australia, in several Industry sectors. The industry now needs support from the consumer and the support of Government. The present limitations on its use are environmentally, economically and socially irrational.
Growing hemp was made illegal in the early part of last century due to the economic advantage of the timber, cotton and synthetic fibre industries. The United States of America headed this change and the rest of the “western world” followed their lead. With the greater need for sustainable industries and environmental practices, the tide is turning for industrial hemp – a new evolution is dawning.
Today, one of the main misconceptions with Industrial hemp is the botanical relationship with Marijuana. Industrial hemp has little or no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychotropic drug) found in high levels in Marijuana. Unfortunately, it has the same botanical name as Marijuana – Cannabis Sativa. Approximately 90% of Cannabis Sativa is industrial hemp and only 10% is Marijuana yet the Marijuana debate dominates the discussions surrounding Cannabis Sativa. industrial hemp and its attributes need to be understood and supported.
Why should we be using industrial hemp?
- Hemp is the longest and strongest natural plant fibre.
- Hemp is suitable to be grown in most climates and conditions, including high degree of soil salinity.
- Hemp can be successfully grown with little or no use of insecticides, fertilisers, herbicides or fungicides.
- Hemp can be used to produce paper without the use of chlorines.
- Hemp can produce up to 4½ times more paper per acre then pulped timber.
- Hemp outgrows all weeds and prevents the growth of weeds leaving the farm paddock clean for the next year.
- Hemp has a deep taproot, which penetrates the soil raising nutrients towards the surface and aerating the soil.
- Hemp cloth is extremely hard wearing. It outwears cotton and other natural fibres. The fabric improves with washing and wearing. It rapidly absorbs moisture. Over time it becomes softer without losing its shape or appearance. Hemp offers a high degree of UV protection and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Hemp seed oil contains a balance of the essential oils required by the human body- all of the Omega Fatty acids in the correct ratios for the human body. The oil is easily absorbed into our skin, and is attributed to assisting medical skin conditions including Psoriasis, Eczema and Dermatitis. Hemp Protein is the best source of plant protein in the world.
Worldwide demand for hemp food and fibre products is growing daily. Unfortunately, most hemp fibre products are still imported due to the fledgling size of the Australian hemp farming community. We have the ability to process and produce a variety of hemp fibre and cellulose based products. We have the industries ready to utilise Australian hemp fibre and seed, all Australia needs more farmers to meet the demand of the industries that require hemp fibre and seed – and for this, all is needed is our support.
Australia is geographically well suited to the commercial production of industrial hemp. Additionally, five states have made the necessary legislative changes that allow commercial industrial hemp farming. The emerging food industry in Queensland is currently providing hemp products for the export industry and pet food sector. Demand for human consumption in Australia is increasing, and needs further support from the public and Government. Hemp food products are widely consumed throughout the world, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand. The legislative power to regulate hemp is held by each state government.
There is a strong demand for hemp fibres also, in various manufacturing industries. Hemp is now being included as a component of current corporate research in Australia, utilising modern techniques and technology within the building industry. There are exciting proposals for a hemp pulp industry underway in Western Australia, which really make sense – a superior paper can be made from the hemp plant. Hemp plastic technology is another emerging industry that needs our support. State industry representative groups are being formed and are set to play key roles in the growth and development of the Hemp industry.
Due to the overuse of other commonly used natural resources and global environmental pressures, Henry Ford’s visionary construction of a hemp car in 1941 may actually be a reality in mainstream production in the future. This was a car, which was constructed using hemp and other cellulose and resins to make most of the components. Although no one is making automobiles from hemp today, Mercedes Benz has pledged to build parts such as dashboards from it.
Impressively, and importantly, the environmental benefits of the growing of hemp, include, (though are not limited to): less reliance on fossil fuels; more efficient use of energy; water conservation; forest conservation; carbon sequestration; agricultural pesticide use reduction; dioxin and other pollution reduction; recycled end use efficiency and landfill reduction.
Let us take our future into our own hands and make NOW the time to choose wisely to make the power of our dollar really count. With global warming upon us and the need for alternatives, hemp can be a part of the solution to a sustainable future.
The food legislation in Australia needs to be amended to create a viable industry for our farmers. The legalisation of industrial hemp products in the food industry will enable the whole plant to be used, making the industry more profitable as well as ecologically sustainable.
©Eco Living Magazine