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If You Can’t Eat it, Don’t Wear it!

Natural products to put on your skin

Do you have these in your kitchen?

A few squirts of breast milk should do the trick

I’m just writing this now because a breastfeeding facebook friend of mine put a question out there about her four month old who is suffering from some eczema. Lots of people commented on the whole allergy issue, and also what type of creams they used for their babies when he or she had eczema (you know you can count on getting at least thirty comments if you ask a parenting question on facebook)… and of course, I throw in my two cents, ‘A few squirts of breast milk on the rash should do the trick!’. (Breast milk is amazing, besides being the perfect food for babies, it’s sterile, antibacterial and antiseptic. More here for alternative uses of breast milk .) Breast milk is so awesome, in fact, that one day I was at the beach with another breast feeding mommy and her 11 month old son got sand in his eye, so she used what she had on her… a few drops of breast milk to get it out! Good thinking!

Back to ‘eczema’… hmmm… what is ‘eczema’… unexplained rash. Allergies, some may call it, if you’re into western medicine. Or, if you have more of a natural inclination, you may believe that it comes from an imbalance in the system. The bottom line is that the source of rashes can be very tricky to pin point. Just in Goldie’s short 9 weeks out of the womb, she has already seen several rashes come and go from her face and legs. Just tonight, I noticed a little rash on Margo’s legs…. Very mild rashes, I might add, but yes, a bit rashy nonetheless!

A few years ago, I went to an ayurvedic counselor (some one who is trained in ayurveda, the science of life). I was complaining of some rash here, some pimples here, etc. He told me that, as bad as it may sound, a mild rash is probably the least thing to worry about (other than it being annoying, itchy and unsightly). He said, it’s much better to have an ailment on the surface of the body, that you can see, than something else to be wrong inside. Ok… that made me feel a bit better about having spots on my face when I was way past the age of puberty! Then, he gave me some dietary guidelines to follow, and the rashes cleared up. See, the rashes usually come from the inside! But, even if most rashes come from the inside, you can still treat that skin like the amazing body organ that it is!

Back to putting things on your body… I’m not really a know-it-all in the area of natural skin and hair care, but I do know enough to stick by the saying, ‘if I can find it in my kitchen, then I can put it on my body’. Whatever you put on your skin, is literally going to be ‘eaten’ by your skin. There are some yucky ingredients in almost all store bought lotions, rash creams and other beauty concoctions, even ones out there for babies! Some ingredients, you cannot even pronounce, others have strange numbers attached to strange words, and other ingredients are petroleum derived… ummm… that’s petroleum, like the stuff you put in the fuel tank of your car and is combusted in the engine of your car to make your car go… same stuff is going to be eaten by your skin. In fact, the company Johnson and Johnson, who makes many baby shampoos, lotions, oils, etc. uses petroleum as one of their main ingredients. Not too long ago, they got in a bit of trouble and will now remove a few of the ‘chemicals in concern’ from their BABY PRODUCTS! Cancer causing baby products! Great! Full story here. Not to mention: store bought lotions, creams and oils can also be expensive! Even very ‘natural’ skin products have to have some sort of preservative to keep them fresh, and even if they don’t they’re probably very expensive and have a short shelf life.

So, rather than complain about all the garbage we can go and buy to put on our skin, I will say that a quick trip to the kitchen may actually provide you with all the skin and hair care that you need. We all have favourite professional hair products, so why not see if you can recreate some of them? A google search for any ‘do it yourself’ beauty product’ and you’re set. One day, I was looking up the recipe for a face scrub, and bam! Found this! There are thousands of blogs, websites and wikis out there that can tell you what you want to find.

Commercial lotions, creams, shampoo, etc. have only been around for the past few hundred years… so what did the people do before that?! Hmmm… they used their natural resources! The Greeks and Romans used olive oil to clean their skin by rubbing the oil on themselves and scraping the dirt and oil off. The polynesians used coconut oil to keep their skin soft and hair shiny. And, did you know you can mix chick pea flour (besan) and a little water as a natural facial scrub? That’s one from India. There are countless ayurveda concoctions for the skin and hair, and you can bet, you can find all the ingredients in your kitchen (or your local Indian shop). I use sesame and coconut oil as a moisturizer on mine and my daughter’s skin. I put it on BEFORE we take a shower. I also use apple cider vinegar to condition my hair (thanks to my friend in Sydney for that one!). The blog on that here. There are thousands of natural alternatives!

Now, before you go thinking that I’m so hard core and ‘natural’… I do have a bottle of some of the lesser toxic ‘natural’ lotions for when I don’t have time for oil. I also have a pack of ‘natural’ baby wipes in the car for when we have a big mess and I need to grab something fast! I did, however, choose these carefully by reading reviews about the best baby wipes out there. I also did grab some random, very scary, petroleum based lotion off a co-worker’s desk this past winter because my hands were so dry, I thought they were going to crack and bleed. I mean, yeah, these things are not going to kill you! But, for the long term, day to day use, think about what you’re putting onto your body. So curious to know: What natural skin or hair care beauty remedies do you use? Are there any that you remember your parents or grandparents using?

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