I have written about many ingredients used in cosmetics. They all do help you to take care of your skin and hair in their own way. While oils, herbs, antioxidants and minerals are really effective in fighting for your skin, there is one factor that is most important. It is the rest your skin needs. Your skin suffers the most from stress. An exhausted, stressed person is easy to identify by lifeless skin. So, learn how to relax. You will see the results on your skin right away. How does stress affect the skin and how can stress be best prevented?

iho-ja-stressi
Nature, the sea and a peaceful environment help to relax
Photo: James Scott on Unsplash

How does stress arise?

We’ve all been stressed out sometimes. Small, short-term stress is only good for us. Short-term stress improves our performance and makes us more alert. Stress is a natural human reaction. It is the result of evolution to protect us from the dangers that threaten us. Nowadays, you rarely have to run away from any visible danger. Yet that primitive trait still affects us and our bodies.

Today, stress arises from excessive mental strain. Overload at work, unemployment or its threat, problems in human relations, the turbulent situation in the world, and the heavy financial burden are things that stress people today. You don’t necessarily have to have any particular reason for stress. Stress can arise from many very small things that bother you simultaneously.

How does stress relate to your skin and hair?

A chronic stress is a very harmful condition. Unfortunately, stress usually first appears on the skin. Almost all skin problems and skin conditions are partly associated with stress. Stress worsens already existing skin conditions such as acne, atopic eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and urticaria. For some reason, everyone does not  get skin problems, no matter how stressful the conditions are. The consequences of stress are also very individual and depend, for example, on genetic inheritance.

Stress causes a reaction on the skin that makes the skin very sensitive. This is because stress causes your body to produce hormones such as cortisol. Stress also causes the skin to produce more fat. Excessively oily skin becomes easily clogged. Oily skin is more susceptible to acne and scalp seborrhoea.

Studies (Cornell University, researchers at Weill Medical College) have found that skin repair mechanisms are disrupted by stress. Small cuts were done on the skin of tested persons. Some of them were exposed to mild stress and some were allowed to spend their time in a relaxing environment. The skin of stressed individuals healed remarkably slower.

When stressed, you may not have enough energy to take care of yourself. You may miss the daily skin care routines. When stressed, you maybe do not follow your healthy diet as well. It is too easy to eat comfort food on daily basis. Exercise and outdoor activities also default. Your skin instantly becomes dry and lifeless in the absence of care.

Improper treatment of stress often makes it worst. Many of us do treat the excessive exhaustion with excessive consumption of coffee or alcohol. Many people either start smoking or increase smoking when facing difficulties in life. All of these stimulants seem to alleviate at first but eventually only make the situation worse. Tobacco, alcohol and excessive coffee drinking are very harmful to the peripheral bloodstream, specifically to the skin.

Stress affects the quality of sleep. Sleep is the time when cells regenerate most efficiently. That is why sweet dreams is the secret for beautiful skin. The skin of a person suffering sleeplessness easily begins to look grey and aged.

How can I avoid stress?

Stress should be prevented even before there is any noticeable stress. It is much easier to consider things and solve problems before the accumulation of them. When chaos is already on, there is not enough spirit and strength left to sort things out. When stressed, it is also harder to notice the way out of the situation. Often it is only outside help that gets us back on the track.

Unnecessary stress should be avoided in advance

How can you relax and relieve stress?

Mild stress symptoms can actually be relieved in many ways. If you’ve had a busy week at work and want to get yourself back to a normal, restful state of mind, you can do that easily at home.

Stress management and relaxation are very important factors in skin care

iho-ja-stressi
The Sun is always shining above the clouds
Photo Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

The skin is a sensitive organ that is affected by so many factors. Stress is the most important of them. Stress management is something that you cannot fix just like that. I wish you a stress-free spring!

Epsom salt is a familiar ingredient to many of us. It is a commonly used bath salt ingredient. Epsom salt can be used for many other purposes as well. What is Epsom Salt and how can it be utilized in homemade cosmetics?

epsomsuola
Epsom College in Surrey
Photo David Mark Pixabaystä

History of Epsom salt

Epsom salt has its own, interesting history. It is originally a natural product. When its popularity and demand grew started the industrial production as well. The name Epsom comes from the city of Epsom in Surrey, UK. The city of Epsom is the place where Epsom salt was eventually discovered. Magnesium sulphate has since been found in many different locations on Earth.

Epsom salt is not a compound similar to table salt

Epsom salt consists of magnesium, sulphur and oxygen unlike table salt which is almost pure sodium.

Magnesium sulphate is an easily water-soluble substance. It even attracts moisture from the air. Therefore, Epsom salt should be stored in a very dry place.

 Epsom salt is a very safe substance that can be used, for example, as a bath salt. It is also beneficial for plants if the soil happens to be low in magnesium. In addition to magnesium sulphate, Epsom salt is rich in sulphur.

Benefits of Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is mostly magnesium. Magnesium is a trace element that plays a particularly important role in the body. It is involved in more than 300 different biochemical reactions. Magnesium has an effect on the functioning of the heart, musculature and nervous system, just to name few. Magnesium is one of our most important minerals.

Enzymes that regulate DNA repair absolutely do need vital magnesium to function properly

Our DNA repair system also takes care of the youthfulness of the skin and fights wrinkles.

Magnesium baths relax the legs and the whole body

After a magnesium bath, you’ll feel quite sleepy and enjoy a long, sweet sleep.

Magnesium has an effect on the nervous system and at the same time it does relieve stress

Magnesium baths reduce stress and relax the mind.

Magnesium promotes melatonin production

Melatonin is a sleep hormone that regulates when we sleep and for how long.

Magnesium baths may relieve muscle pain

This is purely empirical information for which there is no scientific evidence to back it up. however, it is worth trying to Epsom salt to relieve muscle pain. It works for me so my guess is that the effect is very individual.

The Epsom salt bath improves blood circulation and thus reduces swelling.

Epsom salt naturally contains sulphur

Sulphur has a special anti-inflammatory effect. Sulphur treatments are used in connection with acne and rosacea. That’s why I recommend trying Epsom salt on face masks. In the treatment of rosacea, the skin should never be rubbed. The same rule goes with all inflammatory skin diseases. So just gently rinse Epsom Salt off the skin and pat the skin dry.

Epsom salt has a moisturizing effect on the skin

The salt is easily absorbed into the skin and at the same time it collects moisture around it. Salt baths, especially Epsom salt baths, are a good way to take care of moisturizing the skin.

Absorption of magnesium through the skin

There is very controversial information available about the absorption of magnesium through the skin. It is officially stated that there is no scientific evidence to support this process. However, magnesium-containing creams are used to treat tense muscles consistently with good results.

The absorption of magnesium is very difficult to study

Magnesium levels are measured from the blood. If you eat magnesium as a supplement, the level of magnesium in your blood will increase. That doesn’t mean magnesium is in your muscle yet. When a cream containing magnesium is applied to your skin, magnesium will be absorbed through the skin directly into the muscle and is not visible in the bloodstream. Some people find that magnesium is absorbed even better through the skin. However, the magnesium level in the muscle cannot be studied very reliably. Therefore, we just have to trust our own feelings.

Even if you are unsure about the absorption of magnesium, you can still safely use Epsom salt. It is not harmful at all. If you get help from Epsom salt baths, why don’t you just enjoy them? Perhaps science will sometimes find a way to measure magnesium levels reliably.

Epsom salt baths

Epsom salt is a traditional bath salt. Use about 500 grams of Epsom salt in a normal sized bath tub. Add warm, not hot water in the tub and dissolve the salt. Too hot water dries the skin. Enjoy a relaxing bath for about 15-30 minutes.

You can also make a foot bath from Epsom salt. Measure 1 decilitre of Epsom salt into a bowl of warm water. enjoy a foot bath for about 30 minutes. I actually use a bucket. This allows me to sink my feet deeper in the water.

You can add any dry or fresh herbs, essential oils (5 drops) or even real vanilla to the bath.

Bath salt recipes coming in next update

epsomsuola
Photo Photoholgic on Unsplash

Gloomy autumn and dark winter are good times to pamper yourself. What’s more wonderful than enjoying warm foot baths in the evenings. For those who have a bath tub, I also recommend full body baths.

There will be few good Epsom salt recipes in my next blog post.

Now I want to introduce you to one of the safest and most useful ingredients in cosmetics. Lecithin is rarely talked about in connection with home cosmetics. However, it is an ingredient used in many commercial cosmetic products. Lecithin is a very useful ingredient as it is very natural and suitable for almost everyone’s skin. Perhaps you are familiar with the health benefits of lecithin?  In skin care, lecithin is usually not mentioned. Now we are focusing on the properties of lecithin in skin and hair care. How can you use nourishing, protective and moisturizing lecithin in your cosmetics?

super-moisturizing-lecithin
Lecithin creme

What is Lecithin?

Lecithin consists mainly of fatty substances called phospholipids. Phospholipids are building material of cell membranes that are particularly rich in choline for humans.

Lecithin is found naturally from many sources like eggs, soy and sunflower seeds. Lecithin is a thick, waxy substance that is soluble in water but also in fat. Lecithin contains, in addition to choline, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, glycerol and small amounts of biotin. Lecithin is used as a food supplement as it is believed to lower cholesterol level in blood. That’s why it is very easy to find soy lecithin on the shelves of supermarkets.

Lecithin is a very common ingredient in many industrial products

You can easily find lecithin as an ingredient in both cosmetics and foods. Sometimes lecithin may also be called as phosphatidylcholine. Lecithin acts as a thickener and emulsifier in foods. Not so many people are aware that for instance chocolate, is an emulsion in which lecithin is the emulsifier. In mayonnaise, lecithin is an essential ingredient. Humans are not generally allergic to lecithin. Naturally some may be. That is why it is so commonly used by food industry.

Lecithin is used in many cosmetic products precisely because of its emulsifying ability. However, lecithin is also rich in skin care properties. However, the utility of lecithin is rarely highlighted. Lecithin is at its best in creams with high percentage of oils. It is widely used in combination with other emulsifiers and thickeners.  More steady emulsion is obtained by combining other emulsifiers and thickeners with lecithin.

How is Lecithin Made?

Lecithin granules available in shops are usually are made from soy. There is also lecithin made from sunflower seeds, which is sold in liquid and powder forms. Sunflower lecithin is significantly less common than soybean lecithin. Many people prefer liquid sunflower lecithin in cosmetics because it is easy to use. Also, sunflower lecithin is not GMO modified as soy products often are. The soy lecithin I use is GMO free. Sunflower lecithin is extracted much gentler than soybean lecithin. Its production does not require any toxic chemicals.

Use of lecithin as an emulsifier in cosmetics

Lecithin is not a very easy emulsifier. The problems are its slow dissolution in both water and oil. Grinding of lecithin granules helps a little the dissolution. Liquid lecithin is ready for use immediately. If you find some, just buy it.

Dissolve lecithin, preferably in oil

Although lecithin is soluble in both oil and water, I personally prefer dissolving it in oil. I have tested different methods of preparing lecithin creams. It is much easier to get the result you want by dissolving lecithin in oil first and then add the liquid to it. The emulsion requires particularly strong whipping. I recommend the use of an (electric) mixer.

Pure water is the safest liquid in lecithin emulsion

Boiled water is the safe choice for Lecithin emulsified creams. Lecithin is a delicate emulsifier that does not like all ingredients. I managed to dissolve the emulsion simply by adding a few drops of preservative to it.  I will study making of lecithin creams more carefully in the future. I want to find suitable liquids and preservatives for the lecithin emulsion.

Lecithin cream is challenging but worth the effort

lecithin

One weakness of lecithin is its slow absorption. The skin remains sticky for a long time. That’s why I recommend making lecithin cream as night cream. Allow it to absorb slowly. I do understand well why lecithin as an emulsifier has not been very popular in commercial creams. It is also quite a challenging ingredient in home cosmetics. Despite all of these problems, I am fond of lecithin cream. It makes the skin feel very comfortable, soft and moisturized. There is no any other type of ointment that can deeply moisturize dry winter skin in the same way.

Lecithin is a skin nurturant ingredient

In this article, I’d like to emphasize the skin care properties of lecithin. Because lecithin is generally used as emulsifier, its effects on the skin has not been notified. By using lecithin, you can make a simple lotion and many other products with all the nurturant ingredients.

Lecithin also takes care of the hair

Lecithin is really good for hair care. Big haircare product manufacturers use commonly lecithin in their products. As a moisturizing ingredient, lecithin-containing products can be used to treat dry ends. The scalp also benefits from lecithin. Add lecithin to your hair masks.

How can lecithin be used in home cosmetics?

In home cosmetics, lecithin suits well to nourishing creams. Lecithin as an emulsifier is at its best in formulas with equal amounts of oil and water. A very light cream with lecithin cannot be made unless you use other emulsifiers. You can also combine beeswax or vegetable butter with lecithin. This naturally gives you more product stability without using any potentially toxic chemicals.

You can add small amounts of lecithin to the facial lotions. It helps the facial lotions to soften the skin and create a matte, non-shiny finish on the skin. Please bear in mind that lecithin colours the facial water grey.

Learn how to use lecithin in your products

lecithin
Soy Lecithin

Once you learn how to use lecithin, you will no longer want to give it up. I’ve used lecithin in my own products for a while now and I’m really excited. I always come up with new uses for lecithin.

I also find it great that I can easily purchase all the cosmetics ingredients I need from local store. Lecithin is a safe ingredient. It is a food that is intended as a supplement. Such cosmetic ingredients are the best. Cosmetics should not contain any toxic chemicals. Everything we apply to our skin is also absorbed by our body. Therefore, we should choose only really safe ingredients for our cosmetic products.

Have you used lecithin before?

fiSuomi