Three skincare tips and why you should avoid essential oils

While I was working out the other day my trainer, Lindsay, asked me this question: what’s the secret to hydrating your skin?

My initial response was to tell her about things to avoid such as always checking the list of ingredients on her skincare products to look for alcohol (SD alcohol, ethanol, denatured, isopropyl, methanol or ethyl alcohol) as a main ingredient.

I recently threw out some otherwise top quality products because I hadn’t noticed alcohol came THIRD in the list of ingredients (and I would lump fragrance in here too. If it has fragrance, I won’t buy it. It has no place in skincare.)

According to Paula’s Choice (my favourite place for skincare advice):

There is so much incomplete or misleading information online, it’s easy to believe that alcohol-based moisturizers or treatments aren’t really all that bad for your skin. Formulas loaded with alcohol … often have a pleasing, quick-drying finish that feels weightless on skin, so it’s easy to see their appeal. Despite the conflicting information you’ll come across, the research is clear: No matter your skin-care concerns, alcohol as a main ingredient in any skin-care product is a problem.

Take a look at the ingredients on some of your favourite products (skincare AND makeup) and I bet you find alcohol. Read more about alcohol in skincare.

As I continued to run on the treadmill and she went for a pee, I had a chance to think about Lindsay’s question for a bit longer.

I decided that my number one skincare tip would be to ALWAYS WEAR SPF on your face.

It’s not something I learned to do until about a year ago. Even if I’m just popping out to walk my dog, I always wear sunscreen (for the record my favourite product is Clinique’s Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Face Cream. It’s basically a great moisturizer with antioxidants.)

Lindsay told me she loves using natural products to keep her face hydrated. Which is where my third piece of advice comes in.

We’re often led to believe that ‘natural’ ingredients are good ingredients but that’s not always the case.

Lots of ‘natural’ products contain fragrant essential oils.

Ooh! That lavender smells so lovely and natural. It must be good for my skin, right?

Wrong <—- click this link and you’ll see why. In short, lavender can be toxic to skin cells. But, more importantly, “… research has demonstrated that you don’t always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage.”

What IS good for your skin are non-fragrant plant oils such as grapeseed, coconut, jojoba, apricot, avocado, sweet almond and argan.

To find out more about the good and bad of essential oils, check out the video above.

Now, I’m no expert by any means but as I age, I’m becoming more alert to stuff that might be drying out my skin. And as far as I’m concerned, the only place alcohol should be going is in a glass and down my throat!

For a thorough list of cosmetic ingredients, check out Paula’s Choice online Ingredient Dictionary.

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