It seems somehow intimate to talk about what we put on our skin or personal hygiene, but I did want to share this with you.
I've had excema all my life and acne (not terrible, but always there) and I've always had trouble finding creams for my hands and face that don't feel too heavy and greasy, or that I don't react to in a nasty painful fashion.
My hands are a particular problem for me. Over the years they've actually gotten better, but my summers are spent with my hands in the dirt. Constant washing isn't great for them, nor is the contact with plants. I've never liked gloves, so I usually work without. Actually, I've finally found some I like this year which may change life for my hands, but that's not for today.
For my face, I tend to find a cream that I like and then stick to it for years. Oil of Olay was my favourite for a long time. Then I switched to something offered through a mail service called Silky Essence. I've read too much maybe about how much your skin absorbs and how terrible all of the ingredients are that I had to stop. I don't understand all of the science, but at it's simplist I'm trying not to put on or in my body things that I can't pronounce or find easily in nature. I couldn't even find the ingredients of Silky Essence which is usually a sign that something isn't "revealable".
For my hands, nothing really has worked well except for cortisone. That always comes with a warning from the doctor about longterm use. Yeah, yeah, whatever. What are the options? Well, there are some actually.
Last year I made my first lotion. It wasn't an unqualified success because it didn't emulsify properly. Basically it was bees wax and calendula-infused olive oil. Although it didn't look good, it was great on my hands and face and even on my lips. I didn't have chapped lips at all this winter and my hands and face felt great. I also spray my face with witch hazel after washing as a toner. Together, the witch hazel and cream work really well for me.
I ran out a few weeks ago, and my calendula wasn't blooming yet. I had to start using cortisone cream again, which I haven't done for months. Luckily, my calendula flowers just started blooming, so I was able to try a new recipe yesterday and made this:
It looks like lotion this time, my hands don't react to anything in it, and it feels nice. The coconut smell reminds me of the 1970's and suntan lotion, so in the future I may try a fragrance in it, but for now I am pleased with the result.
Ingredients: Coconut oil, calendula flowers, bees wax, witch hazel, Vitamin E capsule, water.
Easy to make (it's like making mayonnaise), simple and few ingredients, everything is pronouncable, and if you're interested, there is a lot of science behind the healing properties of witch hazel, calendula, coconut oil and bees wax. This website (Frugally Sustainable) explains a lot of it. I just know it works for me.