Many of us are now very much more aware of chemicals in products and thus today we are going to look at how to care for your skin naturally.

There are lots of changes going on in skin care products. We are becoming increasingly aware that our skin is an important organ, just as our heart and our kidneys are important organs. I used to think of skin as if it were plastic wrap, as if it were wrapped around our bodies to keep bad things out and hold our tissue and bones together, so that they don’t ooze out onto the ground. (Yes, I did learn in school that the skin processes some waste products and eliminates them through perspiration.)

No one ever told me about how skin lets lots of things into the body, too. It is like a very permeable gatekeeper. Anything that you put onto your skin will go through into your tissue and then to your lymph system and to your blood. Of course we know this, because that is why nicotine patches or other medicinal patches work when they are attached to the skin. The skin is an effective courier, sometimes moving products into your bloodstream in as little as 30 minutes. That is as fast or faster than the digestive system.

So be thoughtful about what you put on your skin. You will need to be the one who is thoughtful, because our Federal Drug Administration has very few regulations for body care products. Basically the FDA is overwhelmed with work and underfunded.

So what should you be looking out for? First off, anything that you are allergic to or do not want in your body. Avoid gluten if you are gluten intolerant or, if you are vegan, animal products. Gasoline or petroleum derivatives such as mineral oil are also good to avoid. Parabens are inexpensive and effective preservatives, but they may cause dermatitis and rosacaea. Artificial fragrances may cause allergic reactions.

Once you begin to use essential oils from plants, you will know how different they are from artificial fragrances. When you have come to a counter of artificial fragrances, the smell is overwhelming. “Fragrance oils” are always artificial. Fragrance oils are made in a laboratory. Their advantage to the industry is that they are always consistent and they last a long time. Essential oils have aromatherapy advantages. For instance, lavender essential oil will help to relax you. That is not true of artificial lavender. So read labels carefully! Take your magnifying glass and read what is in your body care products, just as you read what is in your food, and if you do you will be going a long way towards caring for your skin naturally.