Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Safety and precautions while using organic ingredients for home-made cosmetics

Hi there! It's me Svetlana.

Before we get started, I would like to give you a word of caution. Not all the organic ingredient are safe for the skin. Many fruits, vegetables, and berries are natural skin irritants and should not be used. What may be good for your friend may not be good for you. We know that commercial preservatives irritate skin and may cause allergic reactions. That may be true with organic ingredients as well, especially for a person with very sensitive skin, or skin prone to breakouts. Also preservatives make commercial cosmetics safe as they kill or inhibit bacteria, mold, and viruses. Organic cosmetics we make have no preservatives, so we have to be very careful to use only fresh ingredients and clean utensils. Use a clean spoon, cotton swab, or a spatula to scoop a product out of a container. Never use your fingers to prevent introducing germs into a product. Freeze or refrigerate final products away from raw meats, using clean containers. Do not store them in room temperature as light and heat may cause decomposition. Thaw the product only when you are going to use it. Discard anything that looks spoiled or even suspicious or make only small amounts at a time so nothing goes into waste. If the homemade cosmetics are mishandled they can get contaminated and cause skin irritation which would defy the whole purpose of making them.

The best solution that I adopted from my mom is to make very small amount of a product and use it right away, or to refrigerate the leftovers and to use them over the next one-to-two days, the latest. Actually, the greatest thing about many organic marks that you may use a small piece of fruit, just mashing it with a fork, and apply on your face, or mix tiny amounts of yogurt and honey straight from a container for another fabulous impromptu mask. No storage is needed in this case. Of course, in case of body scrubs, lotions, toners, creams, etc., you will need to either refrigerate and use it within the next couple of days, or freeze it in small plastic bags (each for one use) to thaw the product just before the next use.

The majority of natural ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, can be frozen and thawed safely, without losing their beneficial properties. Be careful with lemons. Lemons have high acidity (pH 2) attributable to the presence of citric acid. If used with caution, lemons can be very beneficial for the skin. The lemon acid tightens up the enlarged and clogged pores, cleanse the oily and unclean skin. Lemon also has lightening properties so lemon juice is often used to lighten freckles and dark spots. If used undiluted, sometimes lemon juice can cause skin irritation and even mild chemical burns. Dilute lemon juice with small amount of water before applying to your face.

The same is true about any citruses, as well as strawberries and grapes. They are not as acidic as lemons, of course, but in some cases of sensitive skin, may cause skin irritation. In rare cases of extremely sensitive skin, even cucumbers can cause skin irritation due to the presence of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, even though traditionally cucumber masks have soothing properties.

To make a long story short, if you are making a new facial mask, using a fruit or a vegetable never used before, apply it for fifteen to twenty minutes over the wrist. If you see even mild skin redness/irritation, it’s not a good idea to use this ingredient for a facial mask. Dairy products (yogurt, sour cream, milk, buttermilk, kefir) as well as oats and oils, should be safe for all skin types.

So long!

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