Don't Believe the Hype - 6 Easy Steps to Nourish Your Skin

There is a lot of confusion surrounding skin care products, especially when it comes to facial cleansers, creams and moisturizers.  Which should you use?  How often?  What do they really do?

Alexa Campbell, Owner of Penny Lane Organics is here to share her simple guide to get you started with nourished skin.

Cleanse, gently, don't overdo it!

A lot of people are unsure of how often to wash their face.  We recommend washing a maximum of two times per day.  Minimize soaps and harsh chemicals as much as possible.  If you wear makeup, use a gentle makeup remover at the end of each day.  In the morning, you can simply rinse your face with warm water.  If you have dry or sensitive skin, be extra gentle and make sure to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing.

If you have oily skin, it can be tempting to wash often, but over washing can signal your pores to go into overdrive and your skin will end up even more greasy.  use an oil free cleanser or foaming face wash. 

Our 100% Natural Cleansing Milk and Makeup Remover is a lovely, gentle face wash which won the 2016 Clean Choice Award for Best Face Wash!

Exfoliate (with care)

Avoid exfoliating too often.  Once or twice a week is a good starting point.  If you have sensitive skin, avoid scrubbing as much as possible, especially with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.  Look for exfoliating products that do not contain plastic micro-beads, which are polluting our oceans and waterways, and instead opt for a natural exfoliant.  Penny Lane Organics Coconut Scrub uses a combination of apricot shell and pumice powders to deep clean your pores, and coconut oil to smooth and moisturize for a fresh and rejuvenated look and feel.

Tone & Moisturize

If your skin is oily, a good toner can help to dull that shine and keep oil production at bay.  If your skin is dry, it is best to stay away from alcohol based products.  Our alcohol free, Natural Clarifying Toner is non-drying and mildly astringent, making it an excellent choice for all skin types. When it comes to moisturizing, there are so many products on the market it's hard to keep track!  Here are some basic rules for the three basic skin types:

If your skin is oily, or you are prone to breakouts, use a light, water based moisturizing lotion or cream that allows your pores to breathe.

If your skin is dry, make sure to use a heavier cream or emollient.  Something oil based works best.

For severely dry or cracked skin, use a balm to really soothe, heal and protect the irritated areas.  Use soothing ingredients like aloe and chamomile.  Penny Lane Organics natural Rough Skin Balm (with hemp seed oil) is often featured as a top eczema cream by newspapers and magazines.  Hemp seed oil contains the ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 and is rich in vitamin D.  This rich balm prevents moisture loss by creating a protective film on your skin.  It helps relieve irritations caused by rashes, burns and skin dryness.

Penny Lane Organics Rough Skin Balm with hemp seed oil banishes my winter eczema.
— Adria Vasil, Echoic, Now Magazine

Nourish & Hydrate

The first step in properly nourishing your skin, is making sure you are properly hydrated!  Those 8+ glasses of water a day are essential to overall health.  Water helps the body get ride of toxins, and a well hydrated body produces healthier, smoother skin.  Other forms of body nourishment also apply to our general skin condition.  A balanced diet with a healthy dose of natural vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants is vital to skin health.  Eating fish like salmon, tuna and cod is a good way to keep wrinkles at bay.  For some meat free options - whole grains, seeds, nuts and mushrooms are great additions to your daily skin care routine.  A variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, as well as leafy greens will provide you with a beneficial dose of vitamins A, C & E.  Follow up your meal with a cup of warm green tea for an additional boost of nutrients and antioxidants.

Outside of what we put IN our bodies, there are many skin care products on the market that contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, which can be applied directly to the skin.  Vitamin E serum is one of the most popular products available to aide in the battle against time.  I have accepted that I MUST age, but I will do my best to prevent early onset wrinkles!

Protect (from the elements)

Pay attention to what your skin is telling you.  Consider the elements.  We all know the sun's rays can be detrimental to our skin, but we also need to consider things like the wind, frost and heat.  Wind can cold can cause skin to dry out, and cause painful cracks to already sensitive skin.

Other elements in our lives can also have an impact, like swimming in a chlorinated pool or hot tub, working in a garden and being exposed to certain types of plants, or using certain types of skin care products that are intended to heal our skin, but can ultimately cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.  Even the clothes we wear and the bedding we sleep on can affect our skin.  Minimize exposure to harsh chemicals by using a simple, natural laundry detergent, and avoid fabrics that cause irritation.  Some parts of our skin can be more sensitive than others - lips, crevices around the nose and eyes, elbows, knees and knuckles.  If you suffer from cracked skin, try a soothing balm which helps to retrain moisture much longer than a regular moisturizing lotion.

Always be aware of any symptoms and avoid using a product if it is causing you any sort of discomfort or allergic reaction.

Go Beyond Facial Care

We tend to pay the most attention to our hands and our faces, but of course the rest of our body is just as important.  You can follow these same tips for all over skin health.  Clean and exfoliate (but don't over do it), moisturize, nourish and protect from the elements.  Always wash your hands before you eat or touch your face, but avoid over sanitizing and killing germs all day every day!  It has become all too common practice to carry around that travel sized hand sanitizer, applying and re-applying to your hands all day long.  Be aware that sanitizers can be very harsh on your skin and may even have negative health effects.  Obsessively disinfecting your hands is not only unnecessary and harsh on the skin, but may also have other negative side effects, like a weakened immune system, antibiotic resistance and hormonal disruption.

So, if you need to clean your hands, use a mild hand soap as necessary.  If you spend a lot of time washing dishes or scrubbing bath tubs, make sure to avoid harsh chemicals and/or protect your hands with gloves.  If you are allergic to latex, purchase Nitrile (medical grade) gloves.

It doesn't have to be complicated, but it is important to be educated.  What you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood steam.  Making healthy choices for your skin means you are making healthy choices for your entire being.  Therefore, use the same diligence for buying skin care products that you would use for buying food.  It is the most nourishing choice!