31 Mar Spring clean your bathroom and your skin products
Confession time: how many never-used or barely touched bottles, jars, packets and containers of skin products do you have in your bathroom cabinet?
The answer is probably quite a few.
It’s very hard not to fall for product ads that promise to smooth, lift, refine or clarify your skin. And it’s so easy to just throw a couple of extra products in with the weekly shop as you wander down the cosmetics aisle of the supermarket without really taking the time to consider whether you need them.
And that’s before you even think about all those birthday or Christmas gifts from well-meaning friends and family that you’ve never used! The chances are that you have a collection of things like smelly soaps, gloopy body creams and odd-coloured eyeshadows tucked away in the cupboard under your basin too.
Get rid of unwanted skin products
If you’ve been taking advantage of extra time at home to do a bit of spring cleaning, now may be the time to have a good sort out of unwanted skin products.
According to the annual awareness campaign, Zero Waste Week, the beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year, most of which are in containers that are not recyclable.
Your beauty products could be doing you more harm than good
In addition to harming the planet, the wrong beauty and skin products can actually worsen or even cause the very problem you were trying to solve in the first place.
An article in Huffington Post explains how many of our fashionable skincare products are likely to be of no use, and could actually be detrimental to your health. For example, many of us have been brought up on a regime of cleansing, toning and moisturising every night before we go to bed. But according to US dermatologist Zain Husein if your toner contains alcohol, it could be contributing to flare-ups, “Facial toners dehydrate the skin, which can cause inflammation, sometimes exacerbating acne.”
Imagine that: Something that you thought was helping your skin could actually be making it worse!
It’s not just toners that can cause problems. If you have very dry skin, you may be tempted to fork out large sums for fancy moisturisers containing vitamins or minerals to improve the situation.
Many products claim to deliver vitamins or nutrients into your skin, but this is generally a complete fallacy. Our skin is specifically designed to STOP foreign bodies or toxins entering our body or bloodstream, so it’s not going to allow vitamin-infused cream in its tough outer layers. Added to this, moisturisers that contain a high percentage of oil or scents are likely to cause breakouts by blocking pores.
Take extra care with eczema-prone skin
If you suffer from eczema, you need to be even more careful about choosing the right products. According to the Eczema Society, anything containing detergent is likely to aggravate your skin. You should also avoid products containing isothiazolinone, which is found in some baby or face wipes, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which can be used to thicken shampoos and lotions.
Support your skin naturally from the inside
The best way to support troubled skin is to keep it clean with gentle, natural products that preserve the skin’s delicate pH balance, and flush out toxins with plenty of water and healthy food. If your diet is not as good as it could be, it’s worth thinking about taking a probiotic or prebiotic to improve gut health as when you’re well on the inside, it will shine through your skin on the outside.
Many people find that taking a herbal medicine such as HRI Clear Complexion helpful too. It contains natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties with extract of Blue Flag and Burdock Root. And because HRI Clear Complexion tablets are swallowed, rather than being applied to the outside of your all-but-impenetrable epidermis, they can actually start doing some good from the inside out.
What can you do with unwanted beauty products?
If you have a stash of unused lotions and potions in your cupboard, what are you supposed to do? If you throw them away, won’t you just be contributing to the wastefulness of the beauty industry?
Luckily, there’s an answer which means you can declutter your bathroom cabinet, free your skin and do some good all at the same time!
There are schemes in the UK that can find a good home for quality, unused cosmetics and beauty products for projects that support women to get back into work.
One such scheme is Dress for Success Greater London, which empowers women into the workplace from positions of disadvantage by providing professional clothing and styling, interview coaching and ongoing support once they rejoin the workplace. They also need ‘gently used’ business clothing, handbags and shoes, so this could be a chance for a real blitz to get some room in your wardrobe whilst doing good!
We leave the final word with Marie Kondo, author of the cult book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: “It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially ‘detox’ our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.”