Ravaged by the stresses of modern life, a girlfriend and I recently embarked on a celebratory retreat weekend into the mountains of New Hampshire, armed with good music, whole foods and several yoga/relaxation sessions to work on. Along the way, between playing steering wheel drums and sticking our heads out the open windows on the highway, we stopped at a local organic foods store to grab up some products for a “natural facial.” I was shocked to find that each item I grabbed- even the ones in muted, sand-toned bottles, with satisfying names like “Marshmallow Miracle”- contained a slew of ingredients I didn’t recognize. Concerned by this new-found battery of chemicals my friend and I were about to slather all over our skin, we promptly evacuated the aisle and agreed judiciously to leave this piece of our pampering for another day.
Wrinkles and Pimples and Blemishes, Oh My!
As westerners, we hold a lot of anxiety about the look of our skin. When one is young, it's acne that threatens social status and as one ages, the oh-so-dreaded wrinkle-fear comes marching in with a shameful pointing finger. But what many don’t realize is that this quickly judged “skin-we-are-in” is not a devoid covering, but a vibrant, living organ! If we don’t treat it right, the vitality of it is lost. Looking at the success rate of current mainstream solutions (benzoyl peroxide, sunscreen, Accutane, eliminating dietary fats) there is something askew- and unfortunately the underlying ramifications cannot simply be airbrushed away!
It All Starts With Diet
The skin is an extremely sensitive organ, and provides a window that gives a “sneak-peak” at the functioning of the body’s inner mechanics. Thus, healthy skin is inextricably linked with the tenants of a correct diet, rich in nutrient-dense foods, proteins, saturated fats like coconut oil, and the fat soluble vitamins found in cod liver oil.
Commerical Lotions Aren't Always What They Seem
Unfortunately commercial creams are made mostly of water (a conveniently cheap resource), which floods into and expands the tissues, transiently providing a lush and “healthy glow.” This quickly disappears however, when the water is whisked away into the bloodstream and cha-ching! once again, time for more products.
Surprise! Time to look back to the ancient, time-tested habits of our predecessors. According to Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, the Polynesians who traditionally spent generations living in exposure to hot blistering sun, clad in little clothing, were frequent consumers and appliers of coconut oil. They suffered from few skin ailments, blemishes and cancers.
Learn the Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Unadulterated and Free of Harsh Chemicals In addition to water, many of the commercial creams contain various “medications” and synthetic acids that are meant to alter the skin of its natural characteristics and obtain a “pure” blemish-free look. In reality, these additives are often too harsh for the skin, making it dry, dull and flaky. Coconut oil is also free of pesticides!
- Free of Refined Vegetable Oils Found in many manufactured products as a bulking agent, these create free-radical reactions on the skin that actually cause degeneration of the underlying connective tissue. Over time, these reactions cumulatively destroy the elasticity and structural integrity of the skin itself making it age much faster.
- Easily Absorbed Because of its small molecular structure, Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin. This quality allows for quick-acting and deep-reaching benefits without leaving you appearing as though you just rubbed your face in a pan of bacon grease.
- Removes Dead Skin Our skin includes a superficial layer of dead skin cells that slough off over time, and are replaced by new ones. As we age or health conditions prevail, this natural process slows, causing an accumulation of dead cells on the surface that dulls its appearance and can be itchy and irritating. Coconut oil aids in the timely removal of this layer revealing the smooth, youthful surface beneath and providing instant relief for chapped skin.
- Long Term Structural Benefits Beyond exfoliating properties, coconut oil also provides long-term healing properties to the very cell structure of connective tissue by providing it with the necessary nutrients and healing antioxidants. This creates a consistently-textured surface that light reflects off evenly to create a youthful glow.
- Germ Fighting Capabilities The skin has a complex protective layer composed of various acids and organisms that prevent unwanted bacteria and fungi from gaining entry to the body. Where as many commercial products contain antimicrobials that strip the skin of these essential defense organisms, coconut oil does just the opposite. In fact, coconut oil is actually composed of triglycerides that, when applied to the skin, convert to antimicrobial-free fatty acids which bolster infection-fighting abilities.
Needless to say, facial-day round two was far less glamourous for my girlfriend and I. We spent the afternoon hovering over the kitchen sink and reaching our fingers gingerly into the unrefined virgin coconut oil jar. But, we smelt like the tropics, laughed and reveled in the wholesome, sustainable nature of our afternoon. The best part of all? Coconut oil really works!
Coconut oil is great for use everyday, but when feeling like a splurge I use another great line of products: Rosemira Organics Body Butters. These smooth, moisturizing cremes have enticing fragrances and a velvety feel on application, that are well worth the extra money. In addition to the benefits of coconut oil, Rosemira Organics Body Butters also include mango butter, avocado oil, and essential vanilla bourbon oil making them delightfully complex. A bonus? They are stored in reusable VioLiv containers that enhance the contents with age, and very importantly- look great on the counterl