For the LOVE of ALL that is Good and Decent in this World…STOP Putting Coconut Oil on Your Skin!!!
I know, an eye catching headline, but it completely underlines my complete frustration with a growing trend. Look on Facebook on any given day and you will see homemade recipes for shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc., most of which are not written by doctors, skin care scientists and even make claims that are outright false.
Major Problems with Online Recipes:
1. The recipes are almost never are pH balanced!
2. YOU are going to manufacture the product and there are BIG Problems with that…don’t get insulted, I’ll explain in a bit!
3. Claims of the nutrients your skin will receive are outright false or completely over exaggerated!
4. Study after study shows that you will NOT save money in the long run!
5. The skin is WAY more complex than a sponge that just soaks up what you slather on it!
The Recipes are Almost Never pH Balanced!
pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity. When something has a pH less than 7, we consider that substance to be acidic. When something has a pH of 7 (like water), we consider that substance to be neutral. When a substance has a pH of greater than 7 we consider it alkaline. Our skin naturally has a pH of around 4.5-5. This slightly acidic pH is necessary for normal skin function as the skin can act as the first line of defense in bacterial and fungal infections because many bacteria and fungus can’t grow in an acidic environment.
When we put something on our skin that is not pH balanced, we throw the skin’s natural pH out of balance. Too much acidity and our skin will produce excess oil to bring the pH back to the 4.5-5 range. Neutral products do not tend to cleanse very well or be accepted by the skin very well and alkaline substances (like COCONUT OIL) force the skin to produce EXTRA ACID to bring the pH back down to the correct level.
So what does that do to the skin? First, your skin cells will start to draw apart. This will break their holding structures and release the skin’s natural water (or hydration). The opened space between the skin cells will begin to allow environmental toxins and harmful sun rays to get UNDER the top surface of the skin. So… HELLO WRINKLES!!!
Second. The now compromised skin will be left defenseless against a bacterial infection, which can irritate the skin – causing more free radicals – and thus, accelerate aging. In addition, the imbalance of bacteria can cause acne or rosacea. So…HELLO ZITS!!!
You are Going to Manufacture the Product and There are BIG Problems with That…
The issue lies with your utensils and your work environment. When skin care scientists formulate and later manufacture skin care products, they use sterile equipment and package products in a sterile environment. The world is COVERED in bacteria. And just as avocados and coconut oil can feed your body – bacteria will LOVE the smorgasbord you are creating for them. Since you are not usually going to cook your skin care product, those bacteria will continue to grow and multiply. Giving you a nice, bacteria-laden product to smother yourself with – BLECH!
Secondly we have the issue of metal contamination. All materials in an actual skin care scientist’s lab or in a skin care manufacturing facilities room are typically high grade stainless steel to prevent contamination and for easy sterilization of the equipment. Also, to keep heavy metals like Nickel, Cadmium and Cobalt out of the manufacturing process. For years, in our kitchen, we have gathered utensils that contain various metals to make them less expensive or they may be a porous plastic with little scratches for bacteria to hide. That knife that you chop the avocado with, for example, probably was forged with some nickel so that it could be mass produced and sold at a lower price. And each slice of the avocado injects that Nickel into your face cream. What’s the big deal with Nickel, Cadmium and Cobalt? The answer is allergies and irritation, both which compromise the overall health of the skin.
Claims of the Nutrients Your Skin Will Receive are Completely Over Exaggerated Outright False !
Think of the most exclusive night club in New York and picture the bouncer that hardly lets anyone in… your skin is that bouncer. And that’s how it should be. You can place a banana on your skin, your skin is not going to absorb that banana, no matter how long you sit there (but do this for too long and, instead people will question your sanity).
Let’s look at how your skin cell usually gets the Vitamin C from an orange. You eat it. Your body ingests it. The Vitamin C in that orange is then processed so that it can be delivered to the cells – typically using an Enzyme, acting as sort of a UPS delivery man. The skin cell gets the “knock” from the enzyme (UPS guy) – if it wants the Vitamin C – it will open a doorway in its membrane so that the Vitamin C can enter. Does this mean that Vitamin C can only get into your skin cells through the food you eat? No, I just use this example to illustrate how finicky your skin cells are, BUT you need to use some sort of method to get the skin cell to accept that package of Vitamin C.
Skin care scientists will use enzymes, ingredient pairing and size manipulation to increase the chance that the nutrients are actually accepted by the skin – it usually takes special equipment and training to do that.
Also, many skin care formulations talk about Fatty acids – they are supposed to be the moisture in the moisturizer. Fatty Acids are long hydrocarbon molecules that very rarely are accepted by the skin, because the skin has its own fatty acid that it prefers, it may allow some fatty acids in, but you should be aware of the color and pH level of the fatty acid you are putting on your skin. Some fatty acids give off a bluish hue which can make you look older than you are. Fatty acids that aren’t accepted can stay on the skin’s surface and clog pores. Alas, there is no PERFECT Fatty Acid….yet. It will probably be a mixture of several fatty acids that give off the right color, pH and size that will benefit your skin.
So all of the Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamins C and E that they claim to deliver to your skin will probably sit there until the next time you clean your skin so all of the “benefits” that your skin was supposed to receive from the homemade recipe never happen.
Study after Study Shows That You Will NOT Save Money in the Long Run!
When a skin care company wants avocado in their skin care – they buy it in bulk, they buy it in sterile containers and they have facilities that can store it in the perfect light, temperature and humidity. The avocado is then processed to allow for good absorption to the skin so that the bang for the buck is there. Something your store bought avocado probably isn’t going to achieve with the instruments you have available in the kitchen. The fact that skin care companies buy in bulk should tell you that they are paying a whole lot less for that avocado that you are.
Typical skin care companies create a “cocktail” of everything the skin needs to be healthy, prevent aging and clear acne. The 7-8 ingredients you buy for that “All Natural Face Mask” recipe cannot come close to matching all those ingredients without a pretty big grocery bill.
Finally, since you did not formulate in a sterile environment – it is always advised to use that product right away. Otherwise, again, HUGE bacteria party on your face or body. So the problem is you only get to use your mixture one time before it is compromised.
Off the subject, but along the same lines, having dealt with co-ops that do fair trade deals for ingredients, I am a little sensitive to food waste, knowing that some of the countries have serious famine issues. I often wonder what they feel about seeing people mash up bananas, avocados, oatmeal and slather it on their face only to be washed down the drain and wasted forever. Is it truly sustainable for us to waste food in such a manner?
The Skin is WAY More Complex than a Sponge That Just Soaks up What You Slather on It!
We have really low standards for companies that formulate skin care here in the United States. Many countries would never allow someone without at least a science degree to put a personal care product on the market. The factory that manufactures a lot of the products we sell is in Italy where there are 6 doctors on staff whose primary purpose is to work and rework formulations according to the latest scientific findings on skin care and aging issues. Their doctorate degrees are actually a pharmacology degree that educated them to determine the best care for a specific person’s skin and how to formulate products to match.
I could bore you with the process of how the skin forms a collagen molecule and what minerals are used to make sure that process happens. I could go on for hours on the chemical reactions, signals and internal cell processes that are involved in aging. Heck, an entire college semester of mine was dedicated to cell and molecular biology. Add to that, people that scientifically formulate skin care (even with natural ingredients) must be aware of the physiological processes across the membrane of the skin.
With a little education you can quickly realize that those home skin care recipes are not only ineffective, but a drain on your pocketbook – wouldn’t you rather spend your money on a good skin care product that is pH balanced and is formulated based on the latest in scientific research?