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Cosmetic companies have created an empire that has paved the way to dermal disaster. Bright, shiny bottles. Glittering labels. Designer fragrances. Million dollar ad campaigns. It’s no wonder modern beauty products are so appealing. Unfortunately, most of the beautifying blends consumers rely on for vanity, anti-aging, and hygiene are packed full of harsh chemicals and unregulated poisons. There’s more than an even chance these products are causing serious, lasting harm.

Why Cleansing is Corrosive

Poplar cleansers are offered in the form of creams, milks, lotions, foams, and mousses. Each one claims to target a specific skin type or problem. The surfactants commonly found in these cleansing products wash away sebum and dissolve the skin’s protecting enzymes and hydro-lipid barriers, eliminating the skin’s natural acid mantle. This diverse microbiome of beneficial bacteria acts as the skin’s natural defense to keep the good bacteria in and the bad bacteria out as it maintains natural moisture levels. When the microbiome is destroyed, pollutants, toxins, and harmful pathogens gain instant access to vulnerable skin.

Surfactants are comprised of sulfate, sulfonate, and phosphate-based ingredients and can be found in both standard and so-called natural cleansers. These stripping chemicals can stay on and in the skin for as long as 4 days, allowing deep penetration that can trigger systemic reactions. This can manifest as acne, dry dull skin, melasma, and premature aging. Antibacterial products are immediately and continually disruptive to the skin and encourage microbial mutation, making the skin a breeding ground for superbugs and pathogens.

Why Exfoliating is Problematic

The uppermost dermal layer of the skin is comprised of dead skin cells. This fact has given rise to the belief that these dead cells are useless and dirty and that they should be removed through daily diligence, but these cells also act as a protective barrier. Exfoliation leaves the young, underdeveloped cells underneath stressed and vulnerable, incapable of dealing with exposure, intruder invasion, and inflammation.

Most multi-step skincare regimens include an exfoliation component that makes you believe you’re properly clean because you’ve given yourself a thorough scrubbing. Plastic microbeads are an abrasive commonly found in everything from high-end bath gels to toothpaste. When used as an exfoliant in skin scrubs, they can cause tiny fissures to form that cause redness, itchiness, irritation, and sensitivity. Microbeads are an ecological disaster contributing to the vast plastic wasteland in the sea and contamination of the food chain (more on microbeads).

Why Toning is Harmful

Toners are often touted as balancing tonics for fresh and ultra clean skin. The truth is, toners are usually alcohol based astringents that disrupt and remove your natural acid mantle. Consistent use will cause low-grade inflammation that eventually weakens the dermal layers. Eventually, your skin will be broken down to a level of vulnerability that allows destructive substances to have a direct line into the bloodstream.

While toners seem to offer some relief for sufferers of oily skin, in actuality, excessive removal of oil will stimulate the sebaceous glands into secreting even more oil to compensate. Those with dry skin will only exacerbate their condition, leading to chronic dehydration and premature aging.

The effectiveness of this practice is short lived and counterproductive, leaving those with problematic skin to believe that their issues are simply on the increase. The reality is that they are continually destroying the delicate balance of beneficial bacteria that regulate the homeostasis of healthy skin.

Why Moisturizing Can Cause Damage

From rich and creamy to light and airy, modern moisturizers would have you believe that every (expensive name-brand) product was formulated with your exact skin type in mind. With alluring botanicals and stem cell technology, products claim that everything from freckles to crow’s feet can be banished with their modern hydrating formula.

Aside from the fact that the average options are full of alcohol derivatives (very dehydrating!) and fragrant irritants, these products are teeming with laboratory synthetics and man-made ingredients. They are held together with controversial preservatives like parabens, which were recently found to be present in 99% of all cancerous breast tissue.

After removing all traces of the skin’s natural defense system through an atomic cleansing routine, slathering on moisturizing concoctions significantly increases toxic exposure. Repeated contact increases the likelihood of cell mutation and abnormal cell development. Not only is this deeply aging, it could easily lead into cancerous territory.

How to Make Bacteria Your Beautician

The outlook may seem bleak, but there are wonderfully effective methods that use safe, truly natural, and elemental organic ingredients. Healthy, beautiful, glowing skin is not the preserve of airbrushed images and clinical trials.

A Better Way to Cleanse and Moisturize

Set aside the multi-step approach! Oil cleanses, tones, and moisturizes all at the same time. Just as you need nourishment to perform, so does your skin. Though it may seem counterintuitive to put oil on your skin, especially if you have acne or oily skin, this method is truly the only way to find balance. Feed the good bacteria in your natural skin microbiome with a stabilizing beauty routine of organic oils.

Jojoba Oil

Simply place a quarter-sized amount in your hand and massage it over your face. Remove with a tissue. Repeat if necessary. To moisturize, dab on a little extra oil and away you go.

Jojoba oil gently and effectively removes dirt, excess oils, and makeup. It dissolves hardened sebum deposits that accumulate in the pores, but it doesn’t strip the acid mantle or disturb the microbial balance. While nourishing and supporting the dermal layers, it cultivates and preserves your hydro-lipid barrier and protective enzymes. Plus, jojoba oil never goes rancid, so you can buy it in economical quantities that will keep forever.

Castor Oil

For a much deeper cleanse, try adding a small amount of organic castor oil into your oil cleansing routine. It can be implemented daily for problematic skin or weekly for general maintenance.

Only a tiny amount is needed, as it can be quite drying if applied excessively. By adding 10-20% castor oil to the mix, you will purge out impurities while maintaining adequate hydration and the integrity of your skin structure.

Castor oil is excellent for congested and acne prone skin. So often, these issues are dealt with by a sledgehammer approach that is ultimately damaging and counterproductive. By gently nudging the bacterial and sebum production into balance, you can reduce the sensitive, inflammatory nature of greasy or blemish prone skin. It preserves the acid mantle and encourages healthy cell turnover for a glowing complexion.

How to Exfoliate with Ease

Exfoliation itself isn’t the enemy; over application is the real problem. It can be useful to exfoliate in moderation, but never vigorously or more frequently than once per week. This can increase circulation of blood and lymph, as well as gently assist the body’s cell turnover.

Try dry brushing with natural bristles to boost this process. Body brushing with lymph stimulating oils such as rosemary, cypress, or eucalyptus will stimulate healthy circulation and gently even out the skin’s surface.

Soft pony bristle brushes can be used on the face for circulatory and lymphatic stimulation, using small, careful, upward strokes. Baking soda may also be used as a facial exfoliator. Mixed into a paste using oil or water, it can make for a zesty ablution now and again.

Final Thoughts

When you nourish your skin with replenishing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating oils you allow your skin to thrive by strengthening its own intelligent design. If you cultivate the perfect environment for a thriving community of beneficial microbes, you will accomplish better, lasting results.