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6 tips to the perfect winter skincare routine for dry skin

Winter is often associated with the “most wonderful time of the year”. It gets cool outside and we just might get cosy with heating or even a fire, however, it brings with it some less than wonderful consequences for your skin, especially if you don’t have your winter skincare routine ready. 

The dry air and cold winds, in combination with the use of indoor heating, have the potential to leave your skin stripped of the natural oils that make it healthy and radiant. 

Winter is also notorious for introducing a host of other skin woes including sensitivity, irritation, and its associated redness. 

Bearing all of this in mind, you need to be vigilant so that you can survive the harsh weather conditions and come out on the other side with beautiful, glowing skin intact. 

If this sounds impossible, fear not, here are 6 tips you can use to craft the perfect winter skincare routine for your dry skin.

Not sure if you have dry skin? Take our skin quiz!

1. STAY HYDRATED

The importance of staying hydrated as part of your winter skincare routine cannot be overstressed! So much so that we’ve talked about it here, here, and here as well.

Adequate hydration is needed for the regeneration of skin cells, but in winter, we often forget to drink water as much as we do in warmer months.

Hitting a target of eight (8) to ten (10) cups of water every day will keep your body and skin in optimal condition.

Water is an essential part of your winter skincare routine
What you put in your body is a key component to winter skincare routines.

2. MODIFY YOUR DIET

A direct correlation has been found between gut and skin health. 

A diet that is rich in fats such as avocados, olive oil, and walnuts can help to kick dry skin to the curb where it belongs and help you to wake up with glowing skin as part of your skincare routine this winter. 

Additionally, you should avoid coffee and alcohol because these are diuretics and will cause your body to lose water, which is the exact opposite of what you want to be doing during winter.

3. AVOID RIDICULOUSLY HOT (AND LONG) SHOWERS

Trust me, I understand. After facing the cold winter air, nothing sounds better than luxuriating in a piping hot bath or shower. However, hot water does much more harm than good by causing increased evaporation of the natural hydration and moisture of your skin. 

It is advisable as part of your winter routine that you keep showers to no longer than ten (10) minutes (with lukewarm water) to prevent excessively drying your skin. 

You can make your shower more moisturizing by avoiding soaps and gels that are drying and substituting them with more natural ones that will help to protect and add to the skin’s moisture. 

A product that fits this description well is the Arianrhod Satin Skin Hand & Body Wash with Lemon Myrtle

This is the perfect answer to a hand and body wash for dry skin because of its amazing combination of mild, natural Hemp Castille liquid soap and the aroma and antiseptic properties of Lemon Myrtle

Skip those harsh chemicals and drying detergents and try this body wash that will leave your skin clean, fresh, and most importantly, hydrated! 

If Lemon Myrtle isn’t your scent of choice or you have skin conditions, try our Hemp Body Wash that is specially formulated for those who have sensitive skin or suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis that experience terrible flare-ups and skin irritation during winter. 

4. USE A THICKER MOISTURISER AND MOISTURISE MULTIPLE TIMES PER DAY

After you have showered your next step is to use a moisturiser on your damp skin to lock in the hydration. 

A thick hydrating moisturiser is best for dry skin during winter because it will seal the moisturising ingredients into dry skin and it will adhere for a longer time, facilitating more time for healing and repair. 

Body butter naturally has a thicker consistency than most moisturisers and lotions and they are usually chock full of moisturizing and nourishing ingredients like natural oils, that make them well-suited for this purpose. 

The Arianrhod Mango & Coconut Body Butter is perfect for this.  

Rich in saturated fats and antioxidants, our body butter is especially beneficial for dry skin, a common problem during winter, and it is so safe that it is even edible! 

The fats are easily absorbed so that they remain on the body for hours nourishing it, all without leaving any annoying residue. 

This all-natural body butter is formulated with shea butter, blended with essential fatty acids, phytosterols, and vitamins A and D from rice bran oil, cocoa butter and mango butter. It’s a veritable superfood for your skin! 

Not only does it have a fantastic aroma because of the mango butter, but it is rich in oleic acid which has been recognized as being a powerful aid in repairing skin damage and improving the elasticity of the skin. 

Using good quality body butter in the morning and before bed will do wonders for your skin.

For more information on the difference between moisturising lotions and body, check out our article called “Body Lotion or Body Butter – Which one is right for you?”

5. AVOID WASHING YOUR FACE TOO FREQUENTLY

Some recommend washing the face only once: at night. Crazy right? 

This is because most facial cleansers contain harsh ingredients that will dehydrate your skin. 

To prevent this from happening, wash your face less often and choose a gentle cleanser like the Arianrhod Sativa Revive Foaming Face Wash for all skin types

Made with cold-pressed hemp seed oil, kigelia extract, and silk amino acids, this product has been specially formulated to be nutrient-rich, deeply penetrating, non-greasy and to help in moisture retention and the healing of the skin.

Another way to ensure that your face remains adequately hydrated is to add moisture by using a specialised facial moisturiser. 

Ideally, you want your skin to be properly hydrated but not feel greasy. 

Arianrhod Aromatics Sativa Restore could be what you need. 

Not only does it have an exotic scent because of the essential oils present (frankincense, rose, and sandalwood) but it is suitable for most skin types

The base of Australian hemp seed oil and the presence of cold-pressed oils including argan oil, and rosehip oil is also ideal for combatting the effects of adverse weather conditions (winter anyone??).

A woman applying lip balm as part of a winter sknicare routine

6. PROTECT YOUR LIPS

Do not forget your lips! 

The thin skin of your lips is especially susceptible to damage from the harsh winter elements. 

Keep them hydrated and protected, soft and smooth by wearing the Arianrhod Manuka Lip Balm that is packed with skin-loving ingredients (including jojoba, calendula, and Manuka). 

If you prefer a vegan option, the Arianrhod Aromatics Vegan Hemp Lip Balm is an excellent option to protect and hydrate your lips this winter.

Apply it in the morning and reapply it throughout the day as part of your winter skincare routine.

Putting together the perfect winter skincare routine for dry skin

Combine these tips together into the perfect winter skincare routine for your dry skin. 

Think about your day and how you can incorporate these tips without making life harder.

There is no need for your winter skincare routine to be a burden.

These simple tips can have you leaving winter like it was a beautiful, sunny day in the park. 

Don’t let winter strip your skin of its glory. 

Take the necessary steps to remain hydrated and moisturised and you will see that winter really can be the “most wonderful time of the year” for your skin too.

References

1. Bakkila, B, Franzino A. (2020, January 15). 11 Soothing Remedies for Dry Skin in the Winter. Good Housekeeping. 

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/tips/a23739/winter-dry-skin-remedies/

2. Hong, H. (2020, November 2). Winter Is Coming—Here’s How to Transition Your Skincare Routine. Real Simple.

https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/skincare/winter-skincare

3. Rennert, J. (2019, December 3). The Definitive Guide to Preventing Dry Skin—From a Top Dermatologist. Vogue.

https://www.vogue.com/article/how-to-get-rid-of-dry-skin-winter-eye-cream-face-serum-mask-scrub

 

How to wake up with glowing skin every morning

We all want to wake up and feel our best and a big part of feeling our best is looking our best. We all want skin that is so radiant that it dispels our Monday morning blues or carries us over the Wednesday hump. So, how can you achieve skin so beautiful and glowing that it makes your heart sing and sets a positive tone for the rest of your day? Below are a few helpful tips:

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Beauty sleep is real, people! Getting a good night’s sleep is the best weapon in the anti-aging arsenal that there is. Studies have shown that our circadian rhythms can affect skin repair and function and inadequate sleep can cause your skin to become dull, cause the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, cause your eyes to appear puffy, and cause dark circles under your eyes. Research has indicated that mitosis (the process that enables cell division and repair) occurs roughly between 11 p.m. and midnight, irrespective of whether you are asleep or not. However, sleeping during the peak of mitosis will bestow more benefits on your skin.

Though it is not always possible to get the recommended eight (8) hours of uninterrupted sleep, getting as close to that as possible should be your aim. Some helpful tips include having a set bedtime every night and turning off your phone (crazy, right?) or at the least putting it on silent.

sleep
sleep_right_way

SLEEP THE RIGHT WAY

Okay, so I know this sounds weird, but hear me out your sleeping habits can affect the way you look. We’ve previously written about getting better sleep naturally, but there is more you can do to help yourself wake up with glowing skin. For instance, it is recommended that you avoid sleeping on your side. Sleeping this way can cause your skin to be creased and tugged throughout the night and this can cause wrinkles. Instead, it is recommended that you sleep on your back with extra pillows to support your head. Elevating your head prevents the pooling of fluid that can cause swollen eyes and a puffy face. 

Now if you want to go the extra mile, it is also recommended that you sleep on a silk pillowcase (fancy, right?). The thinking behind this is that cotton pillowcases will pull moisture and sebum (oil) out of your skin, effectively drying it out overnight. Some dermatologists also believe that silk provides a smoother surface for your skin to rub against and this helps to prevent wrinkles.

KEEP HYDRATED

We have long been told of all the wonders that drinking water can do for your skin. Not only does drinking water keep your skin hydrated (and ward off wrinkles) but taking a sip of water before bedtime can rid the body of toxins while you sleep. This may mean placing a bottle of water by your bedside table so that you can sip water before going to bed and when you wake up. A few drops of a probiotic (containing beneficial bacteria) in the water can give your skin added nutrients that it needs to glow.

Additionally, serums can give your skin an extra glowing boost since most of them are filled with moisturizing ingredients that will add hydration. Serums are usually lightweight (so that they can be easily absorbed by the skin) and are applied before moisturizers. One product that you could try is the Arianrhod Aromatics Antioxidant Facial Serum. Antioxidants have been proven to fight oxygen radicals that damage skin cells and lead to aging, so what could be better than working this into your daily routine to not only add hydration but to fight premature aging as well. This serum formulation contains Kukui nut oil, which is excellent for dry and aging skin, as well as frankincense which has an exotic aroma and healing properties. The oil can be used to massage the face before bed or during the day. However, using it before bed will take advantage of the skin’s natural recovery mechanism to reverse damage sustained throughout the day (UV exposure, pollutants) by infusing the skin with the hydrating ingredients, leaving your skin looking refreshed and your complexion glowing the next day. This product is also vegan, so not only are you saving your skin, but you are being environmentally conscious while doing so. Talk about a win-win!

hydrated
wash face

CLEANSE AND MOISTURISE YOUR SKIN

Washing your face after a long day out and about will remove dirt and pollutants that it has been exposed to all day. Skin cells regenerate at night and the dead ones are removed with this process working best on clean skin. Using a mild face wash can greatly enhance what you see in the mirror the next day. One such product is the Arianrhod Aromatics Sativa Revive Foaming Face Wash for all skin types. This product uses cold-pressed Australian hemp seed oil for a nutrient-rich, deeply penetrating oil that leaves skin looking vibrant. Kigelia extract and silk amino acids help the skin to retain moisture and assist the daily rejuvenation and healing process of the skin. Following up with the companion Sativa Restore Facial Moisturiser with its similar formulation will help retain moisture and restore your skin.

EAT THE RIGHT THINGS

Healthier food choices will help your skin to have a noticeable radiance. Fats that are good for the body such as those found in avocado and sweet potato are also good for the skin, while sunflower seeds, which are chock full of vitamin E, can give skin a youthful, glowing appearance.

food
exercise

EXCERCISE

Though this is not a step to be done at night, working up an early morning sweat will boost your glow. Aerobic exercise can help the body to get rid of toxins, gets your blood pumping and oxygen flowing. During exercise, your skin will also start producing natural oils that will keep your skin looking healthy and moisturized.

By following these simple steps and investing in your self-care routine at the end of the day (and early morning in the case of exercise) you will wake up well-rested and with the healthy, glowing skin that you have always wanted.

REFERENCES

1. Mitrokostas, S. (2018, July 18). 11 things you can do before bed to wake up with glowing skin. INSIDER.
https://www.insider.com/clear-your-skin-while-you-sleep-2018-7
2. Mourato, B. (2019, May 5). This Evening Routine Will Help You Wake Up With Glowy Skin. CAREER GIRL DAILY LONDON.
https://www.careergirldaily.com/this-evening-routine-will-help-you-wake-up-with-glowy-skin/
3. URBANCLAPBEAUTY. (2017, September 4). 11 Ways To Wake Up to A Ultra Bright Morning Face. The Urban Guide.
https://www.urbancompany.com/blog/beauty/ways-to-wake-up-to-a-bright-morning-and-a-brighter-face/
4. PLUM. (n.d.). 4 easy early morning habits of people with glowing skin.
https://plumgoodness.com/blogs/tips-tricks-easy-hacks-more/4-early-morning-habits-of-people-with-glowing-skin
5. Robinson, R. (2021, July 25). SLEEP ON IT: 5 BEST TIPS ON HOW TO WAKE UP WITH GLOWING, RADIANT SKIN EVERY MORNING. BeautyStat Cosmetics.
https://www.beautystat.com/skincare/sleep-on-it-5-best-tips-on-how-to-wake-up-with-glowing-radiant-skin-every-morning/
6. OGEE LUXURY ORGANICS. (n.d.). How to Wake Up With the Most Radiant Skin of Your Life.
https://ogee.com/blogs/the-daily-good/how-to-wake-up-with-the-most-radiant-skin-of-your-life

How safe are your After-Sun skincare products?

Here in Australia we’ve been having a pretty merry time out at the beach, especially on the weekends. I know I’ve been out most afternoons lately as the days are so long in summer and the weather has been brilliant for it. However, with the sun, comes sun-kissed skin if we aren’t very careful. Of course, we should do our best to protect our skin when we are in the sun, but sometimes sunburn still happens and then to get some relief, we put on an after-sun lotion or gel. My favourite was always an aloe vera gel.

For a long time, I just assumed that aloe vera gels were made from aloe vera, something natural that I am very familiar with and have even grown myself for a while. The thing is, that’s a pretty easy assumption to make. Many after-sun skincare products, designed to soothe sun-burned skin, are marketed as natural and usually make prominent displays of aloe vera which, of course, is natural. So you would expect it should be natural, right? Have a look at the ingredients list next time you see it, either on the shelf at home or out at the shops. Just how natural are after-sun gels and creams really?

I’ve picked three different after-sun products available from major Australian supermarket chains across different categories to have a look at. I checked the gel, lotion, and spray that had the best ingredients from a variety of brands and here is what I found.

Aloe Vera After Sun Lotion

This particular one was the cheapest after sun product I found at the supermarket, however, it also had the fewest questionable ingredients. All other after sun lotions that I checked had a longer ingredient list, chock full of things, including the second-most expensive after-sun product on the shelf which is a lotion that contains a whopping 37 ingredients, more than anything else I looked at by more than double!

Ingredients
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, CI 19140, CI 42090.

This ingredients list starts out well with Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice and Aqua right at the top. These are two natural ingredients that should make up the majority of the product. From there though, it goes downhill. Before I go too far, I should probably note that even natural ingredients can have their downside. If this Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice contains non-decolorised whole leaf aloe vera, then it has been linked with cancer. If it is the decolorised version then it is safe. We don’t know from this ingredient list but it’s probably fair to assume it would be the decolorised version making it perfectly safe. Even so, men, maybe don’t drink it if you are planning on having children (if you are ever tempted to take a swig of your after-sun lotion or gel). The Cosmetic Ingredient Review found Aloe Barbadensis to cause sperm damage in rats and mice when ingested.

Polysorbate 20 and Carbomer are not natural, but they aren’t too bad either. That isn’t where it stops though. Phenoxyethanol, used as both a preservative and fragrance ingredient has been linked to contact uritica (hives) and dermatitis. It gets worse as we progress. Another form of alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol carries a hazardous chemical warning as a severe eye irritant and is harmful if swallowed or inhaled. 

Next up is an unidentified alcohol followed by Diazolidinyl Urea, a formaldehyde releaser that acts as a preservative. Now, Diazolidinyl Urea is typically used in very small quantities and on its own is not that great, studies have found it to be an allergen and toxic to humans. The bigger concern, though, is what happens the longer that this product is unused. Diazolidinyl Urea slowly releases formaldehyde in a process called off-gassing in order to kill off microbes. You might recognise formaldehyde as a known carcinogen that carries an awful lot of warning labels including: fatal if inhaled, toxic if swallowed, toxic in contact with skin, causes severe skin burn and eye damage, may cause allergic skin reactions, may cause cancer by inhalation, and toxic to aquatic life. Even in small quantities, is that worth the risk? Thanks, but no thanks.

Moving on from that health scare…

Sodium Hydroxide is interesting. It’s considered safe in low quantities, but, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review report released in December 2015 found that Sodium Hydroxide causes eye irritation, skin water loss (that’s kind of bad when you are already burned, right?), and skin irritation. In fact, Sodium Hydroxide was noted in the report to be used as a positive control, in other words, it is used to cause skin irritation in order to test skin creams. So, while safe, could it actually be exacerbating your sunburn, encouraging you to use more of the product?

Parfum is next. Also known as fragrance. Like the unidentified alcohol earlier in the ingredients list, this doesn’t actually break down what the fragrance comes from, which is a worry. The Environmental Working Group gives parfum/fragrance an 8/10 where 10 is the most toxic of ingredients. Why? It’s not fully labelled so that is part of it, but studies have shown that “parfum” causes allergic reactions in adults and children, causes contact dermatitis and exacerbates asthma. Hmmm…

Almost to the end of the list! Tocopheryl Acetate is not rated particularly badly in the Environmental Working Group database and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review found that Tocopheryl Acetate can help prevent contact dermatitis and may have some photoprotective effects. It sounds a little bit like it is added to help overcome the effects of sodium hydroxide and parfum! However, while some photoprotective effects were reported by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, at least one study has found that Tocopheryl Acetate can “enhance” photocarcinogenesis (or cancer caused by light) in animals. So, this isn’t sounding great and there are still three more ingredients.

Panthenol. Ah, a breath of fresh air, so to speak. Panthenol is both naturally occurring and synthetically made vitamin B5. The ingredients list doesn’t specifically state which one it is, however, natural Panthenol should be labelled as D-Panthenol so it is most likely synthetic. Vitamin B5 serves as a skin conditioner and both the natural and synthetic versions are considered to be quite safe. But, what about those two numbered ingredients at the end of the list? 

CI 19140 is a synthetic yellow colour and CI 42090 is a synthetic blue colour, combined to give the lotion a green colour. Both are considered safe in low concentrations, however, they have both been found to contribute to or cause skin allergies even at low dosages with more severe effects in higher concentrations. Yellow is linked to liver effects and hyperactivity in children, and both yellow and blue are connected to neurobehavioural effects and potential neurotoxicity. It’s unlikely that you’ll find such high concentrations in a consumer product, however, the risk is increased when CI 42090 (blue) is used on damaged skin, around the mouth, on the lips, or around the eyes, as these all increase the risk of absorption. Now, if you are using an after-sun cream on sun-burned skin, chances are your skin is damaged. Chances are also pretty high you are using it around your mouth, lips and eyes. I don’t know about you, but I usually just lather it all over my face!

Now, every after-sun lotion, gel or spray that I looked at in the supermarket has an ingredient list like this. Some are even longer. Only one product (the after sun gel below) had a shorter ingredient list, but it was still made up of many of these potentially harmful ingredients.

Aloe Vera After Sun Gel

Aloe Vera after sun gels seem to be the best choice if you are picking something up off a supermarket shelf. This particular product had the best ingredient list of any after sun gels I could find at the supermarket, however, this one lists “Aloe vera gel” as the first ingredient. As aloe vera gel is typically made up of other things, this suggests there might be something to hide.

Ingredients
Aloe Vera Gel, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate.

Let’s dive into these ingredients. Other gels listed their first three ingredients as “Water, Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice”. None of them identify what the alcohol is, but it is probably safe to assume that since the product here doesn’t show an ingredient breakdown, it could contain something nasty OR the manufacturer wanted aloe vera to appear as though it is the largest ingredient, which does not appear to be the case in any other gel and so is most likely not the case in this one either. To be completely fair, I have come across products claiming to be 100% natural, organic, alcohol-free that list aloe vera gel as a standalone ingredient. So, the skeptic in me says it is questionable (same with the claims of the natural product), but we will give them the benefit of the doubt here.

So, moving onto the ingredients that are identified!

Triethanolamine is an artificial fragrance and an emulsifier. It is also used as a masking agent (to cover up or counter the effects of another substance. It has a rating of 5/10 on the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database, in part because there are a lot of gaps in the research on this ingredient. Based on the currently available data, it is generally considered safe for use on the skin in low dosage (diluted to 5% of it’s normal strength), there is, however, some evidence that it can cause skin irritation, particularly with repeated use or dosages where the dilution ratio sees it at higher than 5%. In this kind of product it should be less than 5% anyway, but also being the second ingredient raises my eyebrows.

Carbomer is a synthetic ingredient we spoke about earlier, but what is DMDM Hydantoin? It’s a formaldehyde releaser. We’ve already talked about what this is and why you really don’t want to be using a product that produces formaldehyde, so I won’t go into it now, however, it is, in and of itself somewhat less of an allergen then the formaldehyde releaser in the after sun lotion we looked at first. Except…the very next ingredient is the same formaldehyde releaser we looked at earlier, Diazolidinyl Urea.

This begs the question, why do we need two formaldehyde releasers? Did we reach the maximum recommended limits for one and it wasn’t enough? Is the manufacturer getting around that by adding a second one? We’ll probably never know, but it is a big cause for concern, especially since the second last ingredient in the list is Tetrasodium EDTA. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review found that Tetrasodium EDTA is cytotoxic and slightly genotoxic, but is safe for use in cosmetics in small amounts…UNLESS there are ingredients in the formulation that are dangerous if absorbed through the skin because Tetrasodium EDTA increases the penetration of other ingredients into your skin. This is good for getting those helpful ingredients into your sunburned skin, however, your damaged skin is already more susceptible to absorption of toxins. Tetrasodium EDTA is magnifying the risk of absorbing the nasties.

Which brings us to the last ingredient, Tocopheryl Acetate, which you may recall as enhancing photocarcinogenesis. At least there are no synthetic colours in this one, right?

You are most likely to find salicylates in products that are marketed as anti-dandruff, anti-acne or exfoliating. This is because salicylates help to lift and remove the outer layer of dead skin. You will also want to look for any fruit extracts and essential oils. The percentage of salicylates in fruit extracts and essential oils is much higher than in the whole food form, so they are more likely to contribute to sensitivity than simply eating the food.

Think of it like fruit juice. It is easy to drink 1 litre of orange juice. It’s a lot harder to eat the number of oranges required to get 1 litre of juice. In having the juice, you are having higher quantities of things like sugar (and salicylates) than you might have had were you to have eaten the whole fruit. Essential oils and fruit extracts are the same.

Continuing with the above metaphor, if you are on a salicylate-free diet, a piece of fruit alone might not trigger a reaction, but a small amount of juice could since it is more concentrated. Essential oils and fruit extracts are concentrated even further.

Aloe Vera After Sun Spray

Ingredients
Water, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Lauryl Glycol Ether PPG-1-PEG-9, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Polysorbate 80, Glycereth 7, Fragrance, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Sodium PCA, Musa Sapientum Banana Leaf Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract

This ingredient list isn’t looking promising. At least I can see some fruit extracts in here.

First up is Water followed by Butylene Glycol. This is an alcohol derived from petroleum that is used as a fragrance and skin conditioner. Refreshingly, it is considered safe. We are already familiar with Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice, so let’s look at Phenoxyethanol.

Phenoxyethanol is considered safe for external use, but should not be used around the lips or eyes and the European Chemicals Agency warns it is harmful if swallowed and causes serious eye irritation. So maybe keep this spray away from your sun burned face!

Triethanolamine we’ve covered already and it’s not great. What about Lauryl Glycol Ether PPG-1-PEG-9? The National Library of Medicine warns that Lauryl Glycol Ether is a skin and eye irritant that is toxic to aquatic life. Hmm.

PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate? A synthetic polymer that enhances skin absorption. On it’s own, this ingredient has generally been found to be safe, as has Polysorbate 80, a denaturant, surfactant and fragrance.

Glycereth 7 is a synthetic skin conditioner that is considered safe as well, but then we have that unidentified “Fragrance” which is typically made from lots of things that aren’t good, 

Then we head into parabens. Parabens are artificial preservatives that bioaccumulate in the human body and other animals over time and have been linked to decreased fertility, preterm birth, decreased birth weight, endocrine disruption, cancer (including breast cancer), skin irritation, coral death and more. This spray contains two parabens, Propylparaben (one of the worst offenders in the paraben family) and Methylparaben.

Sodium PCA is a hair and skin conditioner derived from proline, a naturally occurring amino acid. It is considered a safe ingredient.

Then we have two totally natural ingredients right at the end that are safe. Musa Sapientum Banana Leaf Extract, or plantain leaf extract and Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract.

So in some ways, this spray is the best of the supermarket options since it doesn’t have a formaldehyde releaser in it and with the exception of the parabens, most of the other ingredients are not “too” bad, not great, but not terrible. There are a couple of extra natural ingredients in this one, which is nice to see. However, the presence of parabens is a serious red flag and confirms that none of the supermarket after-sun options are truly safe for use. Remember, the three that I’ve looked at were the three BEST after sun products I could find on the supermarket shelves in each category.

What should you be looking for in an after sun lotion, cream or gel?

Your skin is a living breathing organ and is very sensitive to its surroundings so you want to be looking for natural ingredients, or at the very least, for a product that does not contain chemicals that are known to be harmful to the human body. In after sun products, the biggest ones to avoid are formaldehyde releasers and parabens, but as we saw from these ingredient lists, there are other things going into these products that are not good for your skin, extremely irritating to the eyes, and are also dangerous to aquatic life.

While after sun gel is not sunscreen and we are less likely to put it on directly before swimming, I’m sure I’m not the only one that has in the past put on some aloe vera lotion to soothe a previous sunburn before later hopping in the water without washing it off first. Parabens have been linked directly to coral bleaching, so why take the risk, both with our own body but also with our precious reefs?

Another thing to look out for is unidentified ingredients such as alcohol, parfum or fragrance. These are usually hiding something nasty.

Instead, look for ingredients that are predominantly plant-derived. These ingredients usually cause no irritation except in the most sensitive of skin, and will usually have no known side effects or toxins to the human body. When in doubt, look up the ingredients in the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep® database and look for ones that are rated 3/10 or lower for safety concerns. This database is one of the most comprehensive and unbiased sources of ingredient information that is easily digestible. For more detail, you can also look up ingredients on the Cosmetic Ingredient Review database that goes into in depth analysis of the scientific data available and provides research reports on cosmetic ingredients.

We recommend our Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion as a low-irritant, safe, natural alternative to supermarket after sun products that are full of nasties. Let’s have a look at the ingredients for comparison.

Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion

Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion

Sativa Nourish is based around the soothing properties of aloe vera and cucumber blended with natural ingredients that protect the skin from further moisture loss and help to break down the build up of melanin to help counteract the damage done by the sun’s rays.

Ingredients

Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) Seed Oil, Cupuaçu (Theobroma Grandiflorum) Butter, Meadowfoam (Limnanthes Alba) Oil, Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Oil, Cetearyl Olivate & Sorbitan Olivate, Grapefruit (Citrus Paradise) Seed Extract, Colloidal Silver, Kigelia (Kigelia Africana) Extract, Hydrolysed Silk, Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia), Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin). Here’s what one of our customers has said about Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion:

“So cooling and refreshing after a bit much sun – wonderful product. Draws the heat out and calms the redness very quickly.” – Melissa E.

Aloe Vera, we already know is a natural ingredient that is one of the most well-known for sun-burn soothing properties, but that is the only ingredient in Sativa Nourish After Sun Body Lotion that overlaps with the supermarket product range. So, what about the rest?

Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) Seed Oil is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant and works on the skin as a conditioner. Our hemp seed oil comes from only Australian-grown hemp plants. 

Cupuaçu (Theobroma Grandiflorum) Butter comes from the cupuaçu tree and is related to the cacao tree. This butter is completely safe for human consumption and is great for sensitive skin as it is full of fatty acids like omega 9 oleic acid that helps condition the skin and hair, and laboratory tests have shown that it does not cause dermal irritation. EWG gives it the lowest risk score of 1/0.

Meadowfoam (Limnanthes Alba) Oil comes from the seeds of the meadowfoam plant and acts as a skin-conditioner containing many fatty acids that help to lock moisture into the skin. Studies have found that Meadowfoam Oil is non-irritating and very safe to use on your skin. EWG gives it the lowest risk score of 1/10.

Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Oil comes from the seeds of cool, refreshing cucumbers and is also a non-irritating skin-conditioner. Cucumber Oil has a fresh scent, light consistency and absorbs into the skin easily delivering the phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, it is carrying in large quantities. Plant sterols are perhaps most well known for their cholesterol-reducing properties when ingested, however, phytosterols also have the ability to stimulate skin cell regeneration, which is exactly what you want when you have sunburned skin. Phytosterols help the skin to strengthen its lipid barrier, restore moisture balance, improve skin elasticity and smooth the surface of the skin. Mighty for your skin is the lowly cucumber. EWG gives Cucumber Oil the lowest risk score of 1/10.

On a side-note, while studies have not been conducted directly on cucumber oil and absorption through the skin, when ingested, phytosterols have been found to induce cell-death in cancer cells and attenuate (or lessen) their spread, including melanoma. So applying a phytosterol-rich cream to sunburned skin just might not be a bad idea.

Cetearyl Olivate & Sorbitan Olivate is a natural PEG-free olive oil-based blend that serves as an emulsifier. Being derived from olive oil, it also has a high moisturising effect, is hypoallergenic, reduces skin-water loss and bio-mimics the skin making it the ideal emulsifier for use in a product aimed at soothing sunburned skin. Cetearyl Olivate & Sorbitan Olivate both score 1/10 on the EWG database.

Grapefruit (Citrus Paradise) Seed Extract comes from that big, tart, red-fleshed citrus, the grapefruit. Now, grapefruit seed extract is one that we do need to be a little more careful with. While it is 100% natural, it can cause irritation to skin, eyes and lungs if it isn’t correctly prepared. However, grapefruit seed extract serves as a natural anti-microbial, antibiotic, disinfectant, antiseptic, antibacterial ingredient that also has some antioxidant properties. It serves as a natural preservative that also helps to kill off any bacteria trying to force its way through your sun-damaged skin. Rich in both Vitamin C and Vitamin A, grapefruit seed extract provides extra nourishment and protection for your skin. EWG gives it a 1-4/10 risk rating depending on how it is formulated – ours is prepared to be non-sensitising and non-irritating as defined by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.

Colloidal Silver is microscopic particles of naturally occurring silver suspended in liquid. It acts as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal that disables the oxygen-metabolism enzumer in single-celled pathogens. Colloidal silver gets a 4-5/10 risk rating by EWG as the microscopic particles can easily absorb into the skin and there is not a lot of research around possible bioaccumulation. Some governments (eg Canada) have speculated that it may be bioaccumulative, others from the same government have indicated that it isn’t believed to be.

Kigelia (Kigelia Africana) Extract is one of natures wonder ingredients. More well-known as the sausage tree, it has long been used in traditional African medicines with recent scientific studies suggesting that Kigelia has impressive healing and conditioning effects on the skin with no known side-effects. This fruit extract has been scientifically proven to be anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer with researchers from Northern Ireland finding that it is able to halt the spread of human melanoma cells. These properties are all key to helping your sunburned skin recover. EGW gives Kigelia Extract a 1/10 risk rating, the safest rating.

Hydrolysed Silk is derived silk produced by none other than the silk worm. When applied to the skin, silk gives it a soft, velvet feel and helps your skin to retain moisture. EWG gives it a 1/0 risk rating.

Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia) is probably best known for its purple flowers and recognisable, strong fragrance, but it also serves as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory that is able to penetrate your pores. This anti-inflammatory property helps to reduce redness and soreness from sunburn. Lavender has been rated 2/10 on the EWG risk scale as it can cause irritation in the most sensitive skin and some studies have found it to promote the production of estrogen in children after repeated exposure.

Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) is an aromatic shrub that has a very strong scent, and that’s a big part of the role it plays in our Sativa Nourish After Sun Lotion, but it does have a second purpose. There is very little scientific study into the benefits of patchouli, but traditional uses suggest it could be a tissue regenerator that promotes the regrowth of skin cells. While this hasn’t been confirmed, this luxurious fragrance has a 1/10 risk rating according to EWG, so it’s one of the best choices for fragrance on sunburned skin.

When it comes down to safety and effectiveness, there is nothing better than natural ingredients!

Summing it all up

At Arianrhod Aromatics, we select ingredients for our after-sun body lotion (and all our products) that are not synthetic (made in a laboratory), and that have the lowest risk possible to both you, your family, and the environment. We aim to process each ingredient, by hand, as minimally as possible to help keep the ingredients as close as possible to their original form and full of their original goodness. With this in mind, when you read product labels, look for ingredients that have names that you recognise from a natural product. Most of the time, this is a great place to start and an easy rule of thumb to follow. If in doubt, do a search on the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database for the ingredient to find out more about it. 

Lastly, keep in mind that expensive doesn’t equal better. In fact, the most expensive product at the supermarket was the worst, so always read the ingredients. That said, natural products will typically be more expensive than supermarket products that use large amounts of synthetic ingredients. Can you put a price on the health of yourself, your family and the environment? We can’t. That’s why our environment policy is in place. Every ingredient is scrutinised against this policy to ensure that they truly are the best for both you and the environment.

 

References

 

Top Tips for Self-Care in the Holiday Season

The festive season is the time for giving, but are you giving too much of yourself? It is only natural that we want everything to be perfect.  Whether it’s the exact right gift for your mother-in-law, a vegan dish for you brother’s new girlfriend, or just wanting everybody to be happy, it can be very stressful and exhausting when you give so much of yourself.

Just as on an aeroplane, where you must place your own oxygen mask on before you help others, during Christmas you must first give to yourself before you can give to others. It is important that you take care of yourself and your body over the holiday period, so here are our Top Self-Care Tips to help the holidays become less taxing and a far more joyous experience.

Tame the stress

The festive season is a peak time for stress, but it can be managed. Begin with being realistic about how much you can achieve, make and do. Set limits on time you have available and what you can do in that time. Know that it is ok to say no. Saying yes to everyone’s requests can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed and far from joyous.

Take the pressure off yourself, lower your expectations of what you expect of yourself.  We often place too much pressure on ourselves to make others Christmas happy. Satisfying everyone’s needs and wants is not always possible. Friends and associates will understand if you cannot be part of every festive activity, they feel the same pressure too.

It is important to know that it is okay to feel whatever you are feeling. Take time to remember why this time is important, as festive stress can make you feel cheated of the joy and the full experience of this magical time.

Don’t go over-indulging

When we think of Christmas and we think of all the yummy food or enjoying a few drinks with friends and family, but over-indulging can leave you feeling bloated, lethargic and downright yuk. Our holiday eating and drinking free-for-all and unconscious grazing all day on the ever-abundant supply of food and drink means that we can become unaware of how much we have really consumed, this is a recipe for excess.

Body image expert, Sue McDonald, suggests that we should also look at why we are overeating, is it a method of dealing with inner feelings or a way of managing the stresses that arise from Christmas celebrations. For some, food and alcohol is used to self-soothe, to numb our feelings and cope with the events and issues that arise at this time of year; however, in the end, excess will only add to your stress and the guilt you experience.

The key here is to not ditch our usual healthy habits, but instead be mindful of what and how much you consume. Giving yourself permission to eat whatever foods you wish, is also a clever tactic as it generally reduces your inclination to overeat.

Sunshine and Sunburn

Christmas in Australia means summer, fun in the sun, dehydration and sunburn. During the day we should be careful not to become dehydrated by ensuring you keep your water intake up, especially when consuming alcohol. When drinking you can become dangerously dehydrated without knowing it, a good tip is to try swapping out every second alcoholic drink with water.

If the beach is calling you, take care to avoid being sunburnt by wearing a hat and sunscreen, and seek shade during the hottest part of the day. After a day in the sun, look after your skin by using a good quality body lotion designed for sun-kissed skin. Sativa Skin Solution’s Nourish After Sun Body Lotion is perfect as it soothes your skin with cooling aloe vera and cucumber, and heals and hydrates with the power of Kigelia and hemp seed oil.

Put yourself in Timeout

Before it all gets too much, take some ‘you’ time. Just having a little alone time will help keep things in perspective, reduce stress levels and allow you to enjoy the celebrations more.

The old saying that “in order to care for others you must care for yourself first” is appropriate and it is good to make time to do something you enjoy. Take a nap or find a quiet space to enjoy a cuppa and a book. Book a pedicure, massage or facial to pamper yourself and release tension. If these are not possible simply taking a few deep controlled breathes can work wonders towards restoring your inner calm.  

Get your Solid 7

With all the excitement and stress of Christmas it is easy to fall out of your usual sleep routine, but a solid night’s sleep always helps put things into perspective. Try to make sure you get a minimum seven hours sleep at night and get to bed at your usual time. If you are having a little trouble nodding off, then you could try our MagHemp Sleep to take you off to the land of nod. Simply apply to your feet before bed and allow the magnesium to relax your muscles while the gentle blend of essential oils will soothe you and lull you gently off to sleep.

The festive period does not have to be an overwhelming and stressful time. By taming your stress, mindful consumption, taking care in the sun, having some time out and getting a good night’s sleep you can survive and enjoy this wonderfully festive time of the year. By following these tips, you may find that Christmas can be the joyful time you dream off.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

You can find the products mentioned here at www.arianrhodaromatics.com

Thanks to:

Sue McDonald,
RC., RNC.

The Fit
Therapist

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