I am what you would call a cosmetic-junkie. I love makeup, lotions, hair products, nail polishes and the list goes on and on. Recently, however, I’ve begun to notice that a lot of the cosmetic products I own contain the dreaded ingredient…parabens. It seems like parabens are in everything from the cheapest drugstore brands to more expensive products (cough, cough, The Body Shop). This bothers me. I spend so much time trying to eat healthy and exercise…only to ruin it by slathering parabens all over my body. There must be a better way.
First, maybe it’s best to address the question, “What are parabens and why are they bad?” Wikipedia defines parabens as, “a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.” Parabens are best known for their ability to kill bacteria and fungus and can be found in everything from shampoo to makeup to deodorant and even personal lubricants. You may be thinking, “What’s so wrong with an ingredient that kills harmful bacteria?” The rising concern with paraben use is that this chemical can mimic estrogen, the hormone discussed in last week’s post that, when found in high doses, is thought to be involved in breast cancer formation. While a direct link between parabens and breast cancer has yet to be shown, low concentrations of parabens have been found in breast tumors, indicating that they may play a role in breast carcinogenesis.
After learning a bit more about the dangers of parabens (for more info, see links below) and realizing their wide-spread use, I’ve become more interested in making my own cosmetics using natural ingredients. My friend Sally recommended this recipe, which uses food products that are specifically designed to nourish late 20-something skin.
Below, I’ve outlined how each of the ingredients in this mask help to target different aspect of skin care.
- Yogurt has antibacterial properties and lactic acid, which can soften skin and reduce wrinkles.
- Sugar acts as a natural exfoliator and has alpha-hydroxyl acid, which moisturizes and protects skins from toxins.
- Honey has “humectant” properties, which means that it’s chemical structure attracts water, thereby promoting skin hydration. Honey is also high in antioxidants, which can help prevent signs of aging.
- Egg yolks are high in Vitamin A (and retinoids), which helps regulate skin shedding and prevents the clogging of pores. Egg yolks also have 13 cis retinol, which help to reduce oil production.
I used this mask yesterday and it was easy, smelled delicious and left my face feeling soft and smooth. Sally and I also thought that this mask left our faces looking a bit tighter with a more even complexion.
Finally, If you want to check your products, here is a helpful link to frequently used parabens and their sneaky synonym names, which don’t always end in “paraben” and therefore, can be harder to spot.
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tbs yogurt
- 1 tbs unpasteurized, raw honey
- 1 tsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
- 1 egg yolk
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor
- Blend on high for 5-10 minutes
- Smooth onto face and neck
- Leave for 30 min
- Rinse with warm water
**Please be aware that some of these ingredients may aggravate ultra sensitive skin (ie sugar= nature’s own exfoliator). When trying our new cosmetics of any kind, it’s always best to test on a small portion of the face or body to be sure that no allergic reaction or irritation occurs.