Around our house, I am known to be a very thrifty person. So before all of my health issues I would buy whatever lotion was the cheapest. I never even glanced at the ingredients and barely read any of the labels on the bottles. Price was the first thing I looked at. Growing up most of my generation was one that road in the back of pick-up trucks, we didn't read labels, holistic approaches were barely considered, and we definitely did not even think twice about what we were putting on our bodies. It says clinically proven so it must be good for us, right? Oy!
Since my body is at war with itself on a daily basis, I finally decided that I should be just as concerned with what I am putting ON my body as well as what I am putting in it. It only makes sense. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs the lotions, the creams, the oils, the fragrances, and whatever else we slather on it and directs it into our system. So why wouldn't we be concerned with what we are using? Not going to lie, it took me a little bit before I fully embraced this concept because I really try to watch our expenses. And all-natural products are definitely not cheap!
My quest for an all-natural lotion with what I like to call "no nasties" led me to disappointment. Every single one I picked up had water as the first ingredient. Did you know that most lotions where water is listed first is composed of 70%-80% water? And if a product contains water, a preservative has to be used to keep bacteria from growing. Now water is great for our skin as I talked about in my post the one thing everyone should be doing for their skin. However, it does not truly benefit us unless we drink it. The reason putting water on our skin is not helpful is because our epidermis (such a fancy word for skin don't ya think?) is "water resistant." Think about it this way, if water was truly beneficial by putting it on ourselves, we wouldn't need to slather our bodies in lotion after a shower.
I decided to do a little comparison of a lotion I used to use and Av Jorden's body cream. Mind you, my old lotion was "marketed" as a Shea Butter lotion. However Shea Butter is one of the very last ingredients. Meaning everything else before it is a higher volume in the makeup of this particular lotion. Here is the list of the ingredients:
- Water, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Glycol Stearate, Mineral Oil, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Cetyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, Carbomer, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Iodopropynl Butylcarbamate, Stearamide AMP, Butyrospermym Parkii (Shea) Butter, Titanium Dioxide
Now this is what is in the base of my body creams using their scientific names. Anything in parenthesis are the common names of each ingredient:
- Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond Oil), Vitisvinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot Powder).
See the major differences between the two? First off, I don't use water in my body creams. There is no need except to "water down" the mixture to make it go farther. This also means adding in a preservative to ensure that bacteria won't grow. With the ingredients I use, there is no need for a preservative. Secondly, you can easily pronounce the common names of each ingredient. Whereas with my old lotion I had to look up over half of what was listed because I had no freaking clue what they were. Did you also notice the significant difference in the number of ingredients? Theirs: 19, Av Jorden: 5 for my base. Now my ingredients list may go up to 8 items depending on scent with the essential oils I use, but that is still less than half of my old lotion. HALF people! A customer told me a notable difference after using my body cream for a month was what it did to their skin. They tried their old lotion after using Av Jorden Body Cream and noticed the feel was completely different. Their old lotion needed to be reapplied throughout the day, while my body cream left their skin softer and moisturized all day long. I call that a win! ;)
And you wanna know one of the best things about my creams? Since I use such hydrating ingredients, the amount you need to use is about 1/4 of regular lotion. Even here in dry Colorado. Say what?!?! Most people think I am joking. Then when they slather some body cream on they realize I am not kidding at all! Of course you can use more if you want to look all "shiny," wax your furniture with your arms, or possibly slide across your floors like you are preparing for the summer Slip 'N' Slide Olympics. But I recommend using as little as possible. If you are feeling a little greasy, then step away from the container people. I know the stuff is fluffy and indulgent, but a very small amount goes a very very VERY long way.
Do me favor if you will. Go grab your lotion and comment below how many ingredients it contains. Then let me know how many of them you easily recognized and and if the lotion contained water. The four easiest things to look for to stay away from because they either do not benefit you or are not good for your skin are:
- water - drinking water is the only way to benefit your skin and then of course the preservatives added to the lotion because most companies don't use natural ones
- color - sorry but mica still isn't good for you, all it does is make the lotion look pretty... if you can't eat it you shouldn't put it on your skin to hang out all day on
- fragrance - most contain phthalates or a chemical composition
- names - if you need to look up the ingredient and it's not a scientific name of something you can easily recognize drop the lotion.
Remember, our skin absorbs what we put on it. So if you can, use only those that are completely clean and natural. Don't let the word "natural" fool you though. That word can be put on anything that contains only a percentage of natural ingredients.... and it's not even close to 100%. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are properly informed and read your labels. ;)