Remember I warned you that Out of My Mind blogging might take a weird turn sometimes? Well, this is one of those times. This post has zero to do with writing—except that I wrote it, of course. Skin and hair health is what’s on my mind today.
Nearly three years ago, when an unexpected financial crisis threw me into a tailspin, the stress caused my occasional skin problems to rage. Rare and mild eczema and psoriasis outbreaks became constant and serious. So, as I do everything, I researched solutions online.
Soon, I suspected sodium lauryl sulfate as a contributing factor. If you don’t know, SLS is a foaming agent, and since we’ve been conditioned to think cleansers need foam or suds to work, it’s an ingredient in nearly every commercial soap, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, etc. Commercial SLS-free cleansers can be expensive, but I discovered I already had or could make some much cheaper in my kitchen.
Did you know that hair is only “squeaky clean” when you’ve stripped all the healthy, natural oils? That’s why commercial shampoo makers sell conditioners and oil treatments—to repair the damage their shampoos cause. I haven’t used shampoo in sixteen months. You might imagine my hair is so greasy by now that I can’t keep my head from slipping off the pillow at night. You’d be wrong. My hair is clean and shiny. I wash it with baking soda and water. I condition with apple cider vinegar and water with a coconut oil deep-conditioning every few months. (The vinegar smell goes away when your hair dries.)
Here’s another shocker—I wash my face with oil. Yes, I said oil. After I tried the no-shampoo routine for a while and found the itchy, scaly patches on my scalp nearly gone, I suspected my facial skin problems might be related. I tried a homemade alternative to the SLS-laden face wash I’d been using. I created a mixture of castor, olive, and avocado oils, which I’ve used for over a year with great results.
Not only did the rough, dry patches around my eyes, nose, and mouth disappear, but my skin is the healthiest it’s ever looked, the color is good, the pores have shrunk, and the T-zone oil slick I’d fought my whole life is gone. When you strip all the natural oils from your face, it only increases production to replace them. Also, I no longer have to use expensive serums and oils to repair the damage the commercial cleansers cause. Once a month, I use a sugar scrub and about three times a week, I pat just a touch of apricot kernel oil around my eyes, and my aging skin is definitely none the worse. Plus, my eyelashes grow a bit longer and thicker.
My body freaks out from stress in many ways besides skin problems, and I’m working on those too, but finding natural solutions not only improved my skin health, but saves me a lot of money. Win win!
Warning: If you have cystic acne, please read this comment before you try the oil wash method.