Do you love the skin you’re in?
After running workshops on making natural beauty products I recently explored deeper into the use of cosmetic foundation make up and the possible link to ageing and whether foundations are doing us more harm in the long-term, as we hear stories about chemical toxins all the time, and the risk of cancer, so I decided to dig deeper into this topic.
My research brought up a number of findings….
Firstly, you may have heard about oxidation but never fully understood what that actually meant, so let me give a simple example of the oxidation process. Think of food; i.e. apples when cut and exposed to the air, red meat going brown again due to oxidation and iron rusting, these are all examples of oxidation. Brown spots or dark spots on skin also. This can be made worse by hormones and hyperpigmentation that may also occur in conjunction with hormonal imbalance.
Did you know most cosmetic foundation chemicals cause oxidation and can cause browning of skin? However, let me say that there are non-oxidation foundations but I am not aware of these brands and do not endorse them, but that’s the first time I’ve heard of this as I have ditched purchasing daily cosmetic foundation and nowadays prefer to go au natural!
So what exactly does this mean?
Oxidation is apparently common with mineral make-up and other types of foundation. Oxidisation occurs when the minerals and fats in the foundation react with pigments in the skin causing the skin and foundation to look darker, yellow or orange as the day progresses.
The Science of Oxidation
Oxidation occurs commonly in day to day life. It happens when bananas and avocados and other fruits such as apples go brown in the presence of oxygen. Another common form of oxidation that we see is rust which occurs when iron reacts with oxygen. Meat goes from red to brown when exposed oxygen.
Oxygen is everywhere, oxidation is hard to avoid.
Blood is a common liquid in the body that becomes brown when the oxygen in blood which is attached to iron reacts with the air and becomes brown.
While the reactions of makeup oxidation can vary from orange to yellow to foundation appearing darker, the result is the same. You don’t look as good as you did when you first applied the makeup, a lot of us can relate to this right?
I looked at a study on chemistry where oxidative reactions or redox reactions as chemical experts prefer to call it formed chemical experiments.
Redox reactions are about the exchange of electrons from one chemical species to another. This exchange of electrons which is also capable of producing electricity is what’s happening on your skin when oxidation is occurring and you’re going darker, yellow, or orange.
So, unfortunately ladies when you have a mixed bag of different layers of portions and chemicals on your skin from your moisturisers and sunscreens and foundations which contain a lot of different minerals, some of those minerals are going to be chemically compatible and react with each other.
A lot of moisturisers are oil in water or water in oil emulsions (another fancy word for creams) and contain oils and fats from plants and animals which can become rancid after reacting with oxygen. Another form of oxidation.
Minerals also love to react with the oxygen in the air. Different minerals give off different colours when they are oxidised. Iron oxide becomes red (rust), Zinc oxides give off a whitish tinge making darker skin look ashy.
A natural glow from using raw organic moisturisers, much like the beauty product making workshops I run are not only good for conditioning the skin but have a whole host of health benefits according to the natural essential oils participants choose to mix into their moisturiser (See my blog: Natural Product Making Workshop and Remedies).
My experience having gone from wearing foundation daily to reducing it drastically as my skin improved to wearing none at all has been an eye opener. Now I have people complimenting me on the condition of my skin and I see clearly the difference using natural products on my skin has reversed the signs of ageing in terms of brightness, healthy glow and smooth feel of my skin, in fact not just my face but all over my body. Some essential oils are even known to tone the skin!
Going back to the subject of oxidants…The reasons why anti-oxidants are now added to some skin care products are so that they can react with the free radicals in your skin that would have otherwise reacted with your skin cells. Thus protecting your skin from cellular damage. My stance is why rely on chemicals to mask imperfections, (with the exception of medical skin complaints) and look air brushed when we can achieve naturally beautiful skin by making the effort to understand simple and natural skin care routines.
Having researched much about herbs as an organic food grower I discovered the amazing benefits of thyme, thyme has internal and external antibacterial properties and has become a favourite facial cleaner of mine, I always recommend using organic! (for details on use and benefits refer to my blog mentioned previously).
Are you aware that a lot of sunscreens contain minerals such as zinc oxide for sun protection which is also used as a bulking agent in some foundations?
Here are some of the effects using oxidised foundations:
– More acidic skin
– Foundation components reacting to the sebum in our skin
– Oils in our skin or moisturiser intensifying the colour of the pigments
– Makeup does expire so it is in important to keep track of how long it has been opened
So what to do?
Non Oxidised foundation vs Natural Skincare
You can ask your cosmetologist or your beautician if you’re experiencing darkening of your foundation at the end of the day to recommend one that doesn't oxidise.
Cleanse face before applying makeup to strip away some of the sebum so your face will not be as oily and hopefully this may stop the oxidation from happening so soon, but if you do have quite oily skin eventually (by the end of the day) enough oil will build up on the skin to cause oxidation so it is a bit of a no win situation.
However, you could consider going one shade lighter and let it darken to your true skin tone…writing this blog is teaching me there is something fundamentally wrong with this. At the end of the day we are all learning and whilst stripping away sebum used to seem the right thing to do, I realise it could possibly be tampering with the natural course of how our skin functions may cause the skin future problems. Allowing natural substances to take its course seems more sensible to me now.
You could try using a primer. This should put a barrier between the skin and the foundation and hopefully stop the colour change. It’s a little like putting lemon juice on apples or bananas to prevent them from browning…However, primer is another chemical L
If you really want a foundation ask for a tester first. Test for a day (at least a few hours) to see how the colour changes.
I always think it’s best to avoid any foundation base or moisturiser that contains zinc oxide, (check the ingredients list). This will stop the whitish looking tinge some cosmetics give to darker skin. It always makes you look like the foundation is too light. I found in the past that it made no difference to my skin if the zinc oxide has been made into micro particles, the effect is the same. Don’t fall for it.
When you're accustomed to doing things the way you always have, you may not see why you would want to switch up your routine. But once you compare the benefits of natural health and beauty products to the way things used to be done, however, you'll see why you would want to adopt a new, natural lifestyle with health and beauty products that can help you look and feel great.
Why Use Natural Beauty Products:
Earth-friendly: Products made from conventionally produced ingredients can have a negative environmental impact. The manufacturing of chemical-heavy health and beauty products puts those chemicals, and many more, into the air and water, and even more go down your drain in your own home. When ingredients for natural health and beauty products are farmed and manufactured organically, fewer chemicals are put into the air and water.
Avoid irritation: Chemicals, artificial colours, and fillers in skin care products and makeup can cause redness, irritation, and breakouts. Many people are even allergic to chemicals commonly found in conventionally produced products. Natural makeup, skin care products, and body products work with your skin instead of against it.
Save your lungs: Artificial fragrances are designed to cover up the smell of other chemicals used in traditional health and beauty products. The effect is that you have a chemical to cover up another chemical, and all those chemical smells can cause headaches in many people as well as respiratory problems.
I start my holistic workshops with an aromatherapy exercise using the natural scents of herbs and midway into the session, we are engulfed in an array of beautiful essential oil fragrances combined with freshly picked herbs. The beauty of it is natural health and beauty products smell like their natural ingredients, not a cocktail of chemicals. Natural health and beauty products scented with natural essential oils can even provide aromatherapy.
No strange side effects: Parabens are used in conventionally produced health and beauty products as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products. Parabens, however, are synthetic and mimic your body's natural hormones. Many people worry that this can alter the functions of your body's endocrine system. Artificial ingredients like parabens may help a product do one thing well, but there could be possible side effects that are still being uncovered. Natural health and beauty products use natural preservatives, such as grapefruit seed extract, that won't affect your body. And while some people have allergies to a few natural ingredients (lanolin, which comes from wool, is an allergen for some) the effects are much more understood than the ones from synthetic ingredients.
Gentler over time: Many natural products work better than their conventional counterparts because they don't contain unnecessary fillers or irritants. And while some unnatural products may seem to work better with the first try, over the long-term, the harmful chemicals that made your skin feel cleaner or your hair feel smoother may actually cause damage.
What Do You Want to Do Next?
Below is a link that you may find useful.
Do You Know What is In Your Cosmetics?
A campaign which tackles the environmental and chemical causes of diseases.
~ Carol Organic