With everything going on from working remotely to the summer heat, all while being amidst the global COVID-19 crisis, needless to say my body has undergone a tremendous amount of stress. As I begin to deal with this transitory state my skin is always the first to respond. With both my eczema and acne breaking out, a skin care regime is necessary, along with practicing health hygiene habits and remembering to stay hydrated being the most important regimens. I just wanted to share with all of you all some of the amazing products that work wonders on calming my skin. 

Aztec Healing Clay mask

The first of five products I will introduce today is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay facial treatment, this skin care mask being made of 100 percent natural calcium bentonite clay powder. Costing about $10, it comes in a one-pound tub and is one of the most reviewed beauty products on the web, with the slogan “FEEL YOUR FACE PULSATE!” Essentially this mask is a green glop you apply to your face but it is much more than that. According to the company’s website the clay comes from Death Valley, “where it is sun-dried for up to six months in temperatures that sometimes reach 134 degrees.” Common applications are to detox pores, even out scars, and tighten epithelial layers. Their website lists some of the many concoctions from Honey Mask to Green Tea Mask. Specifically, the directions recommend mixing with equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar. 

Ah yes, the elixir of the Gods (well at least in my world), all natural ACV has many applications to effectively renew your skin. According to "Apple Cider Vinegar For Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar," author Britt Brandon explains that the boosted immunomodulatory agents, antimicrobial activity, and antioxidant enzymes of ACV on the skin. “ACV’s most impressive benefit (to the skin) is the reduction in free radical damage to the skin on a cellular level, improving the health of the skin, and prevent further damage from further exposure to everyday toxins like smoke, UV light, and air pollution.” ACV works to do this by balancing oil production, restoring beneficial pH balance, and ridding the skin of harmful deposits like airborne elements and tangible dirt and grime. 

Avene XeraCalm cream

The second product I am recommending to my readers is the XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream made by Avène EAU THERMALE. This lotion is a breakthrough moisturizer aimed to nourish and restore skin prone to atopic dermatitis and eczema. As a long time sufferer of these conditions I swear by this lotion! It runs a little steep with a price tag for $34.00 for 6.7 fluid oz. A bottle this size usually lasts me 2 months with applications over three times a day. According to Avène’s website, what makes this cream so unique are the special key ingredients like the “patented I-Modulia®” and the “Cer-Omega” which are powerful complexes derived from Thermal Spring Water and primrose ceramides. In the article “Should I Keep Spraying This Water on My Face?” from The Atlantic, dermatologist Annie Chiu explains that “Thermal-spring waters usually have a unique mix of minerals that contribute to the overall health of what we call the skin biome. The skin essentially has a complex ecosystem with a delicate balance of minerals, fatty acids, and even good bacteria," saying that if harsher soaps are used or if there is inflammation due to acne or rosacea, "a thermal-water spray could theoretically rebalance this micro environment for a healthier skin barrier.” Thermal Spring Water can help to alleviate irritation, redness, itching, while providing moisture to help protect flora variables and the epidermal barrier.

Goop balm

I couldn't resist the opportunity to shout out the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op, as they have the best locally sourced products. If your skin is anything like mine, it is very fragile and subject to cuts and abrasions, which is why I am recommending the healing salve, All Good Goop, $6.99 for 2 oz. This product is made with olive oil and organic herbs. Some of the leading ingredients include Beeswax and Calendula which have remarkable healing and antiseptic properties for the skin. According to the 2011 study, "Evaluation of various functional skin parameters using a topical cream of Calendula officinalis extract," Calendula has been reported to stimulate “anti-inflammatory affects in repairing the skin barrier, retaining/increasing water content, restoring the lipid barrier’s ability to attract, hold and redistribute water, and maintaining skin integrity and appearance.”

Mud mask

 

I know the trendy sheet mask movement is all the craze right now with leading beauty retailers but, for me personally it's hard to find a brand that doesn't irritate my skin. To be honest, it is somewhat alarming to me the amount of active ingredients listed on the back of the brightly colored, cute packaging. Many of which are harmful to the human skin, these chemicals that act as cosmetic preservatives like parabens, formaldehyde, and phenoxyethanol, can have an effect on the brain and the central nervous system. They also irritate skin and eyes, and can cause blistering on skin as well. Other harmful ingredients include perfumes, sulfates, acrylates, and phthalates. According to the Oragid, chemical preservatives like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are known to have anti-grease properties that “strip away valuable moisture and protective barriers, irritating the skin more.” One trusted face mask that I like to use is the Annie’s Dead Sea Saturated Amazing Minerals Mud Mask, also available at the Co-op for less than $5. This vegan mud intensive facial infused with Jojoba Seed Oil, Aloe, and minerals will leave your face smooth and refreshed. 

Sheet mask

If you truly love the sheet mask route I recommend the SKINFOOD Healthy Food Mask Sheet DN_A. After washing and toning I apply this mask for 10 minutes and wake in the morning with more hydrated and youthful looking skin. However, it is important to note that like many things sheet masks are good in moderation due to increased foreign agents and sustainability reasons. Ultimately, we should be avoiding sheet masks because of the plastic or aluminum packaging and because many of the ones on the market are soaked in chemicals that make them non-biodegradable. 

Aside from products that can be applied to your skin there are many natural occurring resources that can immediately impact how our systems respond to pathogens. YES, WATER! There are a of myriad benefits to drinking more water, but more importantly hot water with lemon. No, this beverage will not protect you from the coronavirus, however it is said by leading health professionals that hot water with lemon can give your immune system a boost. According to the article, “Natural miracles: What functional foods can do for you?” authro Leila Kiani explains that citrus fruits are packed with antioxidant nutrients including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. The vitamin C in lemons can help alleviate stress and fight viral infections and sore throats, while reducing inflammation and helping to cleanse the system. Remember to stay active because immune cells seem to be stimulated by even mild exercise and soaking up some sun. In the article, “Sunlight offers a surprise benefit: It energizes infection fighting T cells,” Georgetown University Medical Center researchers concluded that “the molecular pathway activated by sunlight drove the motility response in T cells that have to move to have an impact on immunity.” Sunlight as well, helps to make vitamin D in the body another active agent in supporting a healthy immune system.

I know there is a lot going on in the world right now. I want to remind our readers that health, wellness, and self-care should always be prioritized in times of stress. I'm here to remind you that it will not always be pretty and lavish. I have spent so many hours applying different creams that I thought it was best to recommend products that have actually have made an impact on my skin.  From face masks to salves I have discussed five skincare products, most of which are natural ingredient based products, to help renew your summer skin. Take the time to appreciate and nurture your body. Wishing you all the best and thank you for taking the time to read.

Be well and best wishes,

Jess

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