The pore-clogging potential of skin care products has become a big concern for many people recently, thanks in large part to strategic Big Beauty marketing, as well as InterWeb Hot Lists of ingredients to avoid in skin care and makeup. I totally understand this concern when it comes to things like foundation creams or make-up. There could be a whole lot of pore-clogging going on with these simply because of how they are meant to be used. If you cover your face (and so all your pores) with a blanket of powders, emulsified or not, and let it sit there all day, chances are high that you're going to have a clogged pore or two you'll have to clean out.
Before we go on, some background. Comedogenic ingredients are usually fatty emollients (but not all fats are comedogenic). Evaluating the comedogenicity of a product is complex because it's not just about the properties of one ingredient alone. It has more to do with how an ingredient is extracted and processed, how much of it is in a product, how it reacts with other ingredients in the product, how long it sits on the skin, where on the skin its is applied and individual body chemistry. Also, many comedogenic ingredients take a long time to build up in a pore before maximum clogging occurs.
So what's a consciously aware consumer to do? Looking at an ingredient Hot List and staying away from specific ingredients is not a complete answer.
When it comes to natural and non-toxic ingredients being mentioned on these lists, I confess, I am perplexed. How did these fabulous oils get on a comedogenic Hot List anyway? Wheat Germ Oil (assuming its non-GMO) takes a huge hit at a number 5 rank. Wheat Germ Oil. Seriously? What about it's nourishing properties for dry, irritated skin, its sun protective properties, and the fact that people have been using it on their faces for centuries? Cocoa Butter, an ingredient that my skin cannot comfortably live without, comes in at 4? Somewhere deep in the forest, a Wise Woman is weeping.
You might read that beeswax is comedogenic; but in a body butter, for example, it’s a small percentage of of the entire recipe (10-15%). Does beeswax’s comedogenic potential negate the amazing job it does of protecting skin and holding in its moisture content? Can you benefit from beeswax while mitigating possible pore clogging by using a good skin care routine? In this current world of product plethora, we have to make these kinds of calculated decisions for ourselves all the time.
I’m going to say that for me, the choice to go natural and non-toxic was a no-brainer. I’ve been struggling with skin issues all my life, from the first bout of eczema on my tender, diapered bum to my now menopausally-challenged dry face. I’ve tried it all, from steroid creams, to various Big Beauty lab-derived skin care systems (expensive and not), to old school concoctions derived from natural ingredients. The hands down winner in my 54 year battle, scoring high marks for both for effectiveness and price, has been Natural ingredients. No contest.
Think logically about it for a second (putting my Mr. Spock hat on). If I’m going to put something on my body, I want to make sure that it is as natural and non-toxic as possible, because my skin reacts instantly to ingredients it doesn't like.. If my pores are going to clog from these natural and non-toxic ingredients, I know I can clean them out with a good dose of hot water/steam followed by a thorough cleansing routine. I CAN treat the devil I know.
The same is true of what i put IN my body. Over-processed, oily and sugary foods, for example, can affect the critical balance of gut bacteria which helps my body break down foods into required nutrients. These kinds of foods can also affect the gut lining, messing with my body’s ability to absorb necessary nutrients, resulting in chemical imbalances in cells, including those of my skin. Then there’s aging and hormonal changes. So, I’ve had to pay more attention to the foods I eat, and to be mindful about drinking enough water. There are certain foods and food combinations that will exacerbate my skin condition--like yeast, some beans and some carbs (especially wheat-based ones). Bread is NOT my friend. Mostly, my diet looks paleo -- a mix of animal and vegetable proteins, with the occasional carb. Result? Happier gut, happier skin. Happier me.
So is comedogenicity in skin a real issue? Yeah. Possibly a concern...if you never bathed or scrubbed or washed; if you never had a woman-mentor who taught you how to take care of your skin; or if you’ve been living under a rock. And how many of us is that, exactly? Healthy, clear skin has been a human preoccupation for thousands of years. Women have been experimenting and passing their knowledge on to each other for just as long. And in recent times, we’ve all been schooled enough in the art of facial care, by a bazillion fashion magazines, ads and electronic media, to know the value of a gentle clean and scrub. Below is a quickie primer in cleaning out clogged pores, in case you need it.
The real issue, it seems to me, is how well we trust tried and true women’s wisdom, how well we trust the healing power of Nature (or as close to nature as possible), how well we trust ourselves and the choices we make. Honestly, you are the best expert on your skin. If you are paying attention, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, regardless of how well it has been marketed to you. It is trial an error until you find what works for you. It’s okay to just say NO and keep looking for what feels right.
Another Bossy opinion from
Sherazad Jamal, The Free Lion Team.
THE SKINNY ON HYDRATION, MOISTURIZING AND BODY BUTTER
Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it needs needs both oils and water to keep it glowing and healthy. Moisturizing and Hydration. These words seem to be used interchangeably in descriptions of skin product properties. While both provide skin with much-needed nourishment, knowing the difference will help you make the best choice for your skin’s specific needs.
First a bit about skin: The main function of the skin is to provide a barrier between the body and outside environment. Think of it like a brick wall. The Bricks are the corneocytes (dried out, non-living cells on the skin’s surface that are ready to shed). The Mortar is an intercellular matrix composed of lipids (fatty acids, hormones that help maintain skin hydration, firmness and softness) surrounding the corneocytes.The Paint on the wall is the acid mantle on the surface of the skin, a physical and chemical barrier that keeps out microorganisms and irritants.
Healthy, normal skin is able to produce lipids. These cells trigger the skin’s natural ability to protect itself from moisture loss, communicating to sebaceous glands to produce more oil or sebum. If you’ve got a disrupted lipid barrier, the skin becomes unable to coat its surface with the appropriate amount of sebum, causing dry skin. Or fluctuating hormones can increase an excess of sebum production, resulting in an excess of oil on the skin. Hydration helps skin function optimally, maintaining the flow of live cells from deeper in the dermis to the surface.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOISTURIZING AND HYDRATION?
So let's talk Moisturizing. When the skin’s barrier function is damaged, it needs repairing and strengthening. This involves replacing the lipids in the skin that have been depleted or removed. Barrier repair ingredients are typically rich in lipids that are similar to the intercellular lipids found in skin. And guess what...beeswax and Plant Oils and waxes have been used over centuries for this purpose because they are a good source of fatty acid lipids. They are also protective, providing a temporary film over the skin to help it retain moisture. Yep, our grandmothers certainly knew what they were doing!
Now on to Hydration. While moisturizing ingredients seal moisture into the skin, hydrating ingredients help increase the water content of the skin. A humectant, for example, has the ability to attract water from the air and bind it to the skin’s surface, facilitating hydration. And plant extracts can also bring water, minerals and vitamins to skin.
Bottom line? Dry skin lacks oil and needs moisturizing; Dehydrated skin lacks water and needs hydration. So if you work with water all day, your skin will be hydrated but will likely have lost all natural moisture (oils) from its surface. Your skin may feel soft, pruny even. But as soon as the water evaporates, hello dry, scaly skin! If your skin is dehydrated, skin cells move more sluggishly to the surface. While your skin will retain all its natural surface oils, it appears tight, dull, lifeless--which, if you’re auditioning for that role in Zombie Nation, may not be a bad thing! So ideally, you need skin care products that will deliver both Hydration and Moisturizing.
WHY FREE LION BODY BUTTER IS SO GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN
Enter Free Lion Body Butter. Our Body Butter is a blend of both moisturizing and hydrating ingredients to help your skin regain healthy moisture balance. The beeswax forms a protective seal on the skin’s surface, helping to reduce the risk of evaporation of existing moisture throughout the day. We use Shea Butter, Rice Bran, Avocado and Sunflower Oils--moisturizing ingredients full of super fatty acids and vitamins A and E, needed to repair and replenish skin. We also add hydrating Aloe Vera Extract and Glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant that draws moisture from the air; Aloe Vera is high in minerals, vitamins, poly and monosaccharides and water-stocking ability, deeply nourishing skin.
Show your skin some love this winter. To help you do that, we’re are offering 20% off our Body Butters until February 28, 2018.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team