Yesterday the weather dropped from sixty-one to thirty-eight overnight! I had to run to the post office and drop some packages off. I grabbed my Jacket and bolted out the door. My skin shrank in horror, going from my heated house to the cold chilly air!
The change from fall to winter can transition from warm to cold from one day to the next without warning. Environmental factors can affect the skin quite a bit. Many of us pop in and out of heated/air-conditioned buildings, cars, and malls and then right back into the outside temperatures (usually the extreme opposite). All this within a single day. Now imagine what weeks and months of doing this can do to our skin.
Abrupt temperature changes cause the skin to expand and constrict as it tries to compensate to protect you. The repeated opening and closing of pores can trap oil, pollution, dirt, grime, and dead skin cells, leaving skin dull and lackluster. Oil gets trapped under the skin resulting in larger clogged pores and acne.
STRESS AND SKIN HEALTH
This time of year is already stressful with all of the holiday planning, visiting family, parties, and work to wrap up. Our skin reflects stress by sporting open pores, black /white heads, and becoming dry. With the mix of constant stress and changing temperatures, holiday food, and late nights, our skin has a big job!
When you experience a breakout or see large plugged pores, it's time to break out the big guns of skin tips so you can heal quickly. These solutions are not complicated, and anyone can do them in the comfort of their own home. Let's look at some.
SHRINKING PORES & BREAKOUTS
STEP 1. GENTLY CLEANSE THE SKIN VS: OVER CLEANSING
Use a soap bar of high quality. Avoid liquid soap. Liquid soaps contain sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (sometimes referred to as sodium dodecyl sulfate or SLS), and coco-glucoside which are harsh detergents (even the so-called natural liquid soaps- yep, that one too).
Liquid soap cannot lather without using detergents (SLS, Borax, Coco-glucoside). Borax for instance, may make an okay clothes detergent, but it's certainly not good for the skin on your face or body!
WANT BEAUTIFUL SKIN? USE QUALITY INGREDIENTS
All liquid soap contains Borax or SLS derivatives which strip the skin and cause premature cracking and aging because they over-cleanse, leaving the skin tight. The skin will try to over-compensate by producing more oil. It's a yo-yo effect.
If you keep using liquid soap on your skin, your skin will eventually stop producing oil naturally- resulting in crepey aged-looking skin. You want to cleanse gently and not over-cleanse. Liquid soaps cannot lather on its own and would not sell without lather- hence the detergents they add. Solution?
ARTISAN BAR SOAP IS NOT YOUR GRANDMAS BAR SOAP
Modern bar soap vs old. In the olden days, tallow and lye were used to make bar soap. Back then people cleaned everything with it, including the their clothes & floors. Did it work? Sure! Did it keep the skin looking youthful? No.
Today we have more information about how to care for the skin and have discovered that adding better ingredients, more botanicals, and specific plant oils to soap will result in beautiful skin-balancing exquisite bars! I cured my own eczema (and many other people's) using my own natural plant-based
Here's one more thing to understand when selecting bar soaps. Two soaps can have the same list of ingredients (even if all natural and plant-based) but give two very, and I do mean VERY, different results. One can be quite drying, while the other can be very moisturizing (or be somewhere in the middle). Here's why.
The amount of each single oil ingredient changes the chemistry of bar soap completely. One may have more oleic acid due to the amount of a particular oil, such as almond oil, while the other may only use very little almond oil. Same ingredients- different amounts. The amount of the same oil ingredient will change the chemistry of the bar soap completely. That difference can make or break a soap bar. Good soap making takes time to learn as it requires a good understanding of plant chemistry to make superior bar soap, but what a joy it is to use one!
By reading the ingredients, you won't know how much of a specific oil is used because those are guarded formulas. However, a clue will be that one will cost a little bit more but be well worth it. Spend a little more on a well-made beauty bar soap with all-natural ingredients and look for positive testimonials. After all, it's your face, not a pair of shoes you can easily replace. You want the best, so avoid the inferior.
Bar soap should be free from SLS, BHT, Borax, etc., and lather beautifully without it. Well-made natural bar soap is free from chemical fillers and fake colorants (glitter, FD & C colorants, cheap oils,) and is ideal for those wanting consisten superior results for their skin. Purchase from someone familiar with soap chemistry and the old-fashioned cold processed soap-making method, but not old-fashioned ingredients!
Here’s some ingredients to look for in a natural bar soap: Cold-pressed virgin olive oil. This kind of olive oil ranking means it's the first cold pressing from virgin olives, and the oil's beneficial nutrients will be abundant.
Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, avocado, and Vitamin E all have exceptional moisturizing and nourishing properties and will help hydrate the skin on our face and body. These oils are not only high in vitamins A and E but also D and K, making these a natural choice as they nourish even the most sensitive skin types.
TIP: Stay away from cheap handmade bar soaps with a price too good to be true. They often use "olive oil pomace" (the left over spent oil after pressing olives repeatedly). Olive oil pomace is much cheaper and nowhere near as beneficial for your skin. Unfortunately, many companies still list olive oil pomace as "olive oil." It is not the same thing. Sunflower and vegetable oil go rancid fast, so avoid those cheap ingredients as well.
BEST SKIN CARE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR
The inclusion of essential oils along with ingredients like shea, castor oil, avocado, and the oils mentioned above is excellent for the skin, won't be greasy, and won't clog the pores. Natural soap bars with plant-based ingredients keep the oil in our own skin naturally balanced and also help keep the pores more hygienic. Adding clays and charcoal is beneficial for skin detoxification, conditioning the skin, and helps shrink over-sized pores, and desirable in bar soap.
BEST SKIN BALANCING SOAP BARS
Start by gently washing and cleaning your face and skin with warm water using clean hands or a gentle, fine-bristled face brush. Remember, your results will depend on you selecting a truly natural, high-quality, trusted bar soap. The smaller the batch - the fresher the ingredients, so pick a company and bar you trust. Opt for sensitive skin type facial bar soaps when you have severe acne, combination skin, eczema, or rosacea.
A well-balanced soap bar will also help resolve over and under-production of sebum (oil) naturally without using any harsh chemicals. Simple plants and natural science go a long way when combined with a natural moisturizer and will give you excellent results.
Find the best soaps for blackheads, acne, and skin problems here.
STEP 2. OPEN YOUR PORES WITH STEAM
Use a water pot over the stove with 1-3 drops of your favorite essential oil. I enjoy lavender, eucalyptus, and sweet orange myself. Allow steam to surround your face. You may want to drape a towel over your head to trap more steam. Steam opens up the pores without trauma (like squeezing can cause), so any little black or white head will have an effortless way of escaping with gentle warm steam. As long as the steam is warm and consistent, it will gently open up your pores. You can also look for this face steamer (which is the one I use). Be sure to follow manufacturer directions regarding the addition of essential oils.
Caution. Be sure to never scald your skin, as that may break the tiny capillaries on your face and defeat the purpose.
TIP: If you're taking a shower or bath, never add pure undiluted essential oils to the skin or bath water without first mixing with a carrier oil because essential oils tend to gather in the most sensitive areas of the body and will burn the skin. You may add a few drops of essential oil to magnesium bath salts or any carrier oil (such as olive, almond, or any vegetable oil you have) and then add them to shower steam or bath.
So, now that your skin is soft and warm, you will want to gently remove the top layer of the skin so that your pores can "breathe." Follow the steps below.
STEP 3. EXFOLIATE DEAD SKIN AND IMPURITIES
Apply warm water, and a natural exfoliate to the skin. Coffee and sugar exfoliates create an essential fatty acid that help dissolve dead skin cells. This will encourage the skin to release impurities and stay looking vibrant. I use a collagen stimulating brush (the short bumpy rubber usually present on the other side of a quality fine bristled face brush) to apply to my face as it help spread exfoliating scrub around more evenly. Rose-hips have Vitamin C, which helps fight free radical damage caused by environmental toxins, and are an excellent addition to exfoliating facial scrubs.
Evening Primrose helps to combat dark spots and is another lovely ingredient in an exfoliate. When used in a formula, it won't feel greasy and will moisturize without leaving your skin feeling overly-oily or overly-dry. Look for the above mentioned ingredients when selecting your everyday skincare essentials.
By benefit of regular exfoliation is that it will encourage younger cells to replace older dead cells. Our skin is the body's largest organ, and it helps defend our health and immune system. The better your skin's health, the better overall health you will enjoy as skin reflects our internal health. We can help assist the body by sloughing off dead, inflamed, or damaged skin cells that may cause infection and acne.
Exfoliating regularly will assist the skin in renewing the top layer while encouraging epithelial cells to come up to the surface, pushing out impurities along the way (cell turnover). Dead cells will be exfoliated and rinsed away before plugging up your pores and getting infected. Your skin may look a little rosy after exfoliating however, skin redness will calm down after you close your pores as the next essential steps will explain.
Combine tepid water and your soap by using a medical grade, soft- bristled face brush and rubbing the brush and soap under the running water until you see a nice amount of rich lather. Gently rinse off remaining exfoliants with soapy water & lather. Rinse and repeat until skin is clean. Finish with a nice splash of cool water. Be sure never pull on the skin; pat dry with clean towel.
PROTECT AND FEED YOUR SKIN WITH NATURAL PLANTS
Apply a plant-based vitamin serum or night/day cream that contains natural herbal flowers and nonclogging oils. Borage flower, Evening Primrose, Q-10, Vitamin E, geranium, rose, and non-nano zinc oxide are excellent choices. These ingredients are non-comedogenic (won't irritate sensitive skin) and will help feed and protect your skin without clogging pores.
Your face is your calling card and what you put on your body is just as important health-wise as what you put in your body. Choose simple, natural, wildcrafted ingredients and you’ll enjoy more refined pores, and smoother skin.
YAY! YOU DID IT!
You are amazing! You figured out the secret to healthy, beautiful skin and learned a lot along the way. Congratulations! Now you can share these tips on how to feed and protect your skin come day or night.
Do you want even more clarification about ingredients in skincare brands? Me and a Tree Natural Skin Care Brand products are formulated using pure plant-based fresh ingredients without any fillers or harmful parabens or estrogen mimickers. All of our products are cruelty-free. We enjoy helping others gain confidence by using simple plant-based natural soaps, creams, and herbal solutions that help keep your skin and body vibrant and beautiful—everyday and for a lifetime.
Want to get started on your journey using fresh, dependable skincare? Visit our website, read testimonials, and shop products made naturally and in small batches. We use the highest quality of the freshest ingredients available. Start enjoying clear, smooth skin this season and just in time for all your upcoming holiday occasions. Happy Holidays!