If you’re anything like us then your body moisturizer is an absolute daily essential, so what do you need to know about picking the right one for you and your skin?
A little bit of math
Like many other skincare products on the market, body moisturizers can have some questionable ingredients (formaldehyde on your torso anyone?!) Understanding the importance of picking non-toxic body moisturizers comes down to basic math. If you are trying to reduce the amount of chemicals you are exposed to, then start by looking at which body moisturizer you are using. Think about it, your skin covers your entire body, and whilst it is layered up to protect you from all sorts of nasties, your body moisturizer is applied to the largest surface area of your skin, allowing moisture to seep in from all its two million ‘holes’.
What body moisturizer do you reach for…and what is lurking inside it?
LOTIONS – let’s be honest, they are our go to. They are sold everywhere, easy to apply and they smell great, so why pick anything different? Lotions are a mix of oil and water; they keep our skin feeling soft and supple and are generally lighter than oils.
Lotions however, can contain large amounts of preservatives due to the volume of water inside the formula (often 65%). If a product contains water, preservatives are essential to stop the growth of mold and bacteria. Sounds good right? Not when you see the toxicity levels of these preservatives. At the moment, natural plant based preservatives are rare. Getting used to checking ingredient labels is going to be essential in order to find the cleanest options for your skin. A good place to start is to be on the look out for anything ending in ‘paraben’ as these are amongst the most potent preservatives in body lotions.
OILS – we are skeptical, and why wouldn’t we be? In the Middle East we experience +40 degree heat for a large chunk of the year. It doesn’t exactly make us want to smother it on our already sweaty skin! However not all oils are created equal, and not everyone’s skin is the same.
Oils have been used on skin for centuries; they resemble the natural oils in our skin. Contrary to popular myth, our skin needs oil and therefore our skin welcomes it with open arms, so it’s about choosing the right one for you.
Oil based body moisturizers don’t contain water and therefore won’t contain preservatives. This doesn’t however mean that oils don’t contain a toxic load. Annemarie Skincare (the goddess of oil skincare products!) suggests 3 things to look out for when buying oil moisturizers:
1. make sure oils are scented with essential oils, not synthetic fragrances
2. look for oils that are organic and cold pressed or Co2 extracted
3. check the list of ingredients – see a lot of herbs, flowers and plants, then you are in the right place!
How to decide what is best for you?
Ultimately, it’s worth getting to know your skin and stepping out of your moisturizer comfort zone. One size doesn’t fit all; the weather, water, environment and your skin type will vary across the year, so consider this when picking a clean body moisturizer. A lotion may be the right thing for you at one place in time and oil in another. If you are stuck in a lotion rut because you don’t know any different, then why not give something else a try?
Right now its ‘winter’ in the UAE and our skin is definitely dryer than usual. We’re opting for an oil moisturizer. The best way to use it? Apply when your skin is still damp after a shower. The oil absorbs directly into the skin and feels amazingly soft and hydrating, exactly what our skin needs at this time of the year!
When picking a clean body moisturizer:
- Consider your skin type and what it might need across different points in the year
- If you go for a lotion then check what preservatives are inside
- If you go for an oil then check it is scented with essential oils rather than fragrance and make sure you apply it when your skin is damp
Lucy and Sabrina xx