written by Raulla S. Mitchell
There are lots of wonderful skincare “extras” to pamper and treat your skin in the most luscious way, and we’ll talk about in blogs to come: peels, masks, serums, moisturizing fragrances, etc.
Starting out right now, let’s kickoff the year with 3 FUN, SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE STEPS aka the basics:
First, let’s talk CLEANSING
And, let’s start by making one essential thing very clear:
Your skin is not an industrial floor that requires strong chemicals and mucho suds (detergents like sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate) to rid itself of surface dirt and bacteria.
You’re simply not that dirty, nor is your skin that strong to take on harsh chemical sudsing ingredients. On the contrary, your skin maintains a natural protective mantle that works naturally to:
- keep surface irritants from penetrating the deeper layers of your dermis
- preserve hydration and prevent dryness
- facilitate the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in treatment lotions, cremes and butters to nourish and heal, repair and rejuvenate your skin.
Your skin (integumentary system) is the largest organ system of your body, and functions to protect all of your other organs. It’s your first line of defense against infection, as well as the pathway through which toxins effectively exit your body (e.g. facilitated through steam/sauna and bathing hydrotherapy treatments).
Your skin will absorb at least 65% of what you apply to it topically. It’s essential to respect your skin’s natural protective barrier to illness.
Ideally, you want to keep it soft, radiant and healthy. At a minimum you must keep it free from harm. Skin that is so dry, irritated and inflamed (sound like anyone you know in the winter?), risks splitting and that’s when infections can set in, and beauty is no longer skin deep.
Unless you’ve exposed your skin to heavy oils, paint, or excessive dirt, most likely you will not require strong detergent-based soaps to get clean. It’s a myth that lots of suds cleanse better than soaps that do not lather excessively.
The more your soap foams up with lots of lather or suds, the more likely sulfates, or a higher concentration of sulfates, are present.
Let’s be clear: Sulfates do NOT cleanse your skin more effectively. They can however irritate and dry it. Not ideal at any time and with any type of skin, particularly during the dry cold winter months when your skin is at higher risk for irritation, dryness, and inflammation.
Experience the pleasure of cleansing in a warm bath or shower with our gentle (detergent-free, SLS-free), beautifully fragranced SWEET ROSE MILK SOAP to gently cleanse, moisturize (with shea butter, goat’s milk, avocado and apricot kernel oils, and organic rose and chamomile: see more below) and leave subtle fragrance on the surface of your skin.
During cold and flu season, you’ll want to wash your hands more often to stay healthy. Trust me, this can make a remarkable difference in keeping you free of illness by boosting your immunity to illnesses that are all too easily shared in the cold weather months.
Important: You don’t need anti-bacterial soaps to prevent the spread of illness.
These products are formulated with potentially harmful anti-bacterial ingredients like triclosan which may lead to chronic illness if used often and over long periods of time. Most importantly, they can seriously dry and irritate sensitive skin, and they don’t prevent the spread of illness more than a gentle soap with water.
Have you ever used an anti-bacterial cleansing gel or soap? Did you notice how tight and dry your hands felt immediately after? This is not indicative of superior cleanliness and limited risk for the spread of certain illnesses.
The more frequently you wash your hands, the more important it is that you use a gentle soap that will not dry or irritate your skin.
Now, let’s get back to Red Note Botanica’s gentle soaps…
Special ingredients in SWEET ROSE MILK SOAP:
- goat’s milk provides extremely gentle cleansing and respects your skin’s natural moisture barrier and pH
- shea butter, rich in antioxidant vitamins A, E and F; anti-inflammatory relief to the driest parts of your body; long lasting soothing action to heal and repair; penetrates readily, and does not clog pores
- avocado oil, rich in antioxidant vitamins A, B, D, E, pantothenic acid, protein and fatty acids; exceptional hydration to nourish, heal and repair extra dry skin
- apricot kernel oil, rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, and a light fragrant moisturizer to preserve skin’s natural hydration factor and lock in moisture
- botanical ingredients: organic chamomile and rose long known for their gentleness in treating delicate skin to soften, repair and heal, leaving you with healthy radiant skin
What’s NOT in SWEET ROSE MILK SOAP?
- SLS (sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate) or other detergents
- harmful preservatives that we do not feel are necessary in soaps
- animal testing (cruelty-free)
Sulfates and soaps or cleansing gels labeled “anti-bacterial” are products we think you might want to avoid for the reasons noted above, particularly if your skin tends to be sensitive and/or dry. You’ll notice that many cosmetic products now state “sulfate-free” on the label, and we support this rising consumer awareness of the issues with sulfates in cleansing products.
Besides our top concerns about being safe, effective and gentle, we’re all about the fun, so our soaps are available in lots of (food-grade) colors including whimsical yellow, lime, sage, palest pink, rose, melon, orange, plum purple, ivory and caramel, and 3 shapes
Treat yourself to one of life’s little joys – cleanse hands and body with elegant and fun shaped soaps that won’t dry your skin and promise to delight with a lingering fragrance.
Apply a very small amount (about the size of a pea for both hands) to damp skin after your cleanse to lock in protective moisture. The most important thing here is that your body butter is applied to DAMP skin, not to dry skin.
If your skin is so dry that you are concerned about using soaps with fragrances, please note that our fragrances are very minimal in our soaps. However, just for you we offer Fragrance-Free Cherie soaps which are completely free of all fragrance and colorant. They smell fabulously fresh, and will treat your winter dry skin with the gentlest care.
It’s worth mentioning that several of our friends tell us that they suffered from seasonal eczema before using our Fragrance-Free Cherie soaps. Nothing seemed to help relieve the itchiness, dryness and irritation. The problem may be that although a person who suffers from severe dryness and inflammation uses a topical treatment, OTC or prescribed by a medical professional, if he/she continues to wash hands with a detergent-based soap, the condition is likely to linger.
If you have a serious skin condition, we highly recommend that you see your dermatologist immediately. We suggest that you speak with your doctor not only about what you put on your hands and body to treat your condition, but also the cleansing products you use to regularly cleanse your skin, because BOTH OF THESE TOGETHER will make a difference in the condition of your skin.
You may apply a topical treatment in the a.m. and p.m., and even throughout the day if necessary; however, you’ll be washing your hands more frequently, so the products you use to cleanse are very important to the condition of your skin. Both are pieces of the puzzle in healing, nourishing and protecting your healthy beautiful skin.
Cleanse gently and effectively with moisturizing sulfate-free soaps, and you’ll find that everything else you do after to treat your dry winter skin will fall beautifully into place!
STAY TUNED FOR STEP 2: EXFOLIATE – the foundation of healthy skin – in our next blog! Can’t wait to see you for this very special blog post about one of the best things ever that you can do for your skin (and something many people forget about)!