In 2017 alone, the top-ten leading lotion brands in the US sold a combined $789 million in skin care products, and to say that Americans are concerned about their skin would be an understatement. It’s no wonder though, considering approximately one in every three people living in the United States are currently suffering from a skin condition, with acne, eczema/psoriasis, and rosacea being the most common. In fact, so many Americans are worried about the condition of their skin, that they’re literally killing their bodies to improve it. In more recent years, a growing number of questionable ingredients, harmful chemicals, and body-disrupting additives are being included in skincare, and most consumers aren’t even aware.
Harmful Ingredients in Skincare Products
This isn’t exactly an article discussing the risks that come with using conventional skincare products, so there’s no way I’m going to be able to go through all of them, but there definitely are some big names that you should keep your eyes out for when shopping.
Parabens are a type of preservative commonly used in the beauty and pharmaceutical industry to prolong the shelf-life of their products. And, while parabens seem to be great for the product itself, the same thing can’t really be said about its effects on the consumer (you!). Before being used in products intended for people, the safety of parabens was never quite established, and now studies are linking them to the ability to disrupt hormones and cause breast cancer[3,4]
Yep, the same stuff in your gas tank and car engine is most likely in your lotion. This one likes to sneak in there under fancy names like “paraffin”, “synthetic wax”, and “ozokerite”, but they’re all the same thing: petroleum. Like parabens, petroleum-filled products also impact the endocrine system, disrupting hormones, and acting as estrogen in the body. Petroleum also readily and easily penetrates the skin, potentially increasing one’s risk of developing tumors and cancer.
The name on its own seems intimidating, but methylisothiazolinone (MI) is added into many skincare products as another preservative. Once regulated at very low levels, MI has been sneaking into more and more products, at higher and stronger concentrations. For this reason, many people are becoming extremely sensitive to the ingredient without ever knowing it. Sensitization is becoming so common that The American Contact Dermatitis Society named MI the 2013 “allergen of the year” MI is classified as a biocide (destructive to life), and has been documented as being neurotoxic, having the ability to kill brain cells.
How to Make Your Own 2-Ingredient Lotion
Now that we’ve gotten all the science-y stuff out of the way, we can get down to the real reason you’re here – the lotion. This two ingredient lotion is so nourishing for dry, cracked skin, and so light on the mind, since you know exactly what’s inside. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and best of all, it’s non-toxic.
So, here’s what you’ll need
- 3 tbsp aloe vera gel (fresh is great if you have access, if not I recommend this one)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (I recommend this one)
And that’s it.
Yep, two ingredients, and you get a bomb homemade lotion!
Using a stand mixer, an immersion blender, or a hand mixer, give the ingredients a good whip. Blend, blend, blend until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
If you’re feeling creative, you can also include some essential oils into your lotion, for scent and added benefit, but it is absolutely perfect without them.
Essential Oils for Skin
Some of the best essential oils for skin health are:
- Lavender – soothing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activity
- Rosemary – natural antiseptic, helps protect the skin
- Cinnamon – helps unclog pores and bring blood to the skin, natural antioxidant
- Ylang ylang – beneficial for dry skin, helps with skin irritation
- Clary sage – can reduce inflammation and signs of aging
- Frankincense – can reduce scarring and damage done to the skin
- Carrot seed oil – highly nourishing for skin, helps reduce dryness
- Geranium – helps reduce wrinkles and inflammation
Until next time,
1. Statista Leading U.S. Body Lotion Brands in the United States in 2017, Based on Sales (in Million U.S. Dollars)
2. American Academy of Dermatology Skin Conditions by the Numbers
3. NCBI Paraben Esters: A Review of Recent Studies of Endocrine Toxicity, Absorption, Esterase and Human Exposure, and Discussion of Potential Human Health Risks
4. NCBI Oestrogenic Activity of Parabens in MCF7 Human Breast Cancer Cells
5. NCBI Specific in vitro Toxicity of Crude and Refined Petroleum Products: II Estrogen (alpha and beta) and Androgen Receptor-Mediated Responses in Yeast Assays
6. NCBI Tumorigenic Effect of Some Commonly Used Moisturizing Creams when Applied Topically to UVB-Pretreated High-Risk Mice
7. Contact Dermatitis Risk Factors Associated with Methylisothiazolinone Contact Sensitization
8. The Journal of Neuroscience In Vitro Neurotoxicity of Methylisothiazolinone, a Commonly Used Industrial and Household Biocide, Proceeds via a Zinc and Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase-Dependent Pathway