Non-surgical facelift specialist Alexandra Soveral, beloved for her organic products and honest advice, reminds us how to thoughtfully care for our skin.

1 – Oil
In skincare, oil is the most misunderstood ingredient. It is sometimes referred as a serum, which is totally wrong. A serum is water based, which is the opposite of what oil is. Then there are oils that are petroleum based, which are known as mineral oils—these offer no nutrient value to the skin.
The true skin friend are vegetable oils, however, some are so processed that the final product no longer contains the vitamins and antioxidants that benefit the skin. Organic and freshly cold pressed oils are the ones that contain all the goodness that feed the skin with what it needs to thrive.
A little time should be spent finding out which face oils suits our skin. This will be time well spent as once our skin is happy with oil it will regenerate and show just how good oils can be for it.

2 – Hyaluronic Acid
The magical ingredient that every skincare brand is shouting about. HA does have amazing water binding qualities and it is also true that our bodies do produce it naturally. There are however two major issues with this ingredient. The first is the ethical aspect, and the second is the secondary effects it may have on our health.
The vast majority of HA is extracted from combs of turkeys that have been given hormones to grow bigger than usual combs filled with the substance. These animals live in terrible conditions and their combs are so heavy that some have to drag them on the floor. Apart the suffering the animals go through, there’s also the question if the hormones they are pumped with end up being absorbed by our skin and what affect that is having on our health.
There are ways to produce HA from the fermentation of cabbage, but this is an expensive and lengthy process that most skincare brands are not willing to consider.

3 – Fragrance
Synthetic fragrance is a really obvious issue, both environmentally as well as for our health, yet it is one that is vastly ignored by both skincare and consumers alike. The role of fragrance in skincare is one of simply scenting the product at the cost of further polluting the planet and endangering our health. A product that is well formulated does not need to be fragranced; it will have a nice faint botanical smell.
Many natural products have been scented with essential oils, however these oils should only be in a product for their therapeutic value as otherwise they may have undesirable effects on the skin such as being irritating. Choose unscented skincare products or those that are formulated with essential oils from an aromatherapy based brand.

4 – Hair washing damages the environment
We all now know that sulphates are bad for the skin as well as over drying the scalp, but little has been said about the impact that daily hair washing and conditioning is having on our water supply. The chemicals in shampoo such as sulphates and fragrance are difficult to remove from water, yet the worst offender is the conditioning ingredients that detangle the hair and make it soft. These are a major issue in blocking drains and the water cleaning system of a city.
The answer is to look for eco-friendly products and reduce the amount of product we use. I estimate that most people could reduce the amount of shampoo and conditioner they use by half. Equally, fabric softener has the same effect on the environment… do we actually need it?

5 – Over cleansing
The trend towards removing the first layer off the skin with the use of acids (including natural ones) and harsh detergents is creating a huge wave of over sensitive skin conditions that are prone to acne breakouts. Every time we wash or cleanse the skin with such products we are removing our first line of defence, our acid mantle that together with the first few layers of the skin (almost dead skin) create a barrier against dangerous pathogens. Without this protective layer we are more at risk to infection. Just as with everything else, whatever is not good for the skin is equally not good for the environment. When such ingredients are washed down the drain they have a negative impact on it.

You can find Alexandra Soveral here and follow here.

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