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An All-Natural Approach to Skin Care

Natural Remedies and Products for Healthy, Beautiful Skin

It's no secret that more women are turning to all-natural personal care and beauty products. But few take their search more seriously than Crystel Riggs of Clemson, S.C. For Riggs, using naturally-formulated products has become a way of life.

One Woman's Story

Riggs' oldest daughter is prone to allergic outbreaks of eczema, which cause her skin to break open and bleed within days of using an offending skin care product. This painful process prompted Riggs to investigate using all-natural products for her family.

She began her search at a local health food store, where she discovered castile soap, an all-natural product made with 100-percent pure essential oils. The soap can be used for everyday body washing and as shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent and more. It is available in several varieties including peppermint, almond, lavender, lemon and rose, baby mild aloe-vera, eucalyptus and tea tree.

For Riggs, however, simply finding one acceptable product wasn't enough. She took her quest to provide natural products for her family a step further – she now makes her own liquid soaps.

"I use a liquid castile soap blend as a base for the shampoos and body washes and add the oils according to what I need them to do," says Riggs. "The kids use the shampoo that I make, and I add lavender and rosemary to it. Rosemary promotes a healthy scalp and hair growth, and lavender helps them avoid head lice infestations when it goes around at school."

Riggs swears by the natural body products she makes for herself and her family. She is now preparing a room in her home to produce bar soaps made from oils and butters. Riggs admits she has done extensive research on the products she creates and cautions parents against using any of the essential oils on their children without first learning about them. "There are very few oils that are recommended for children under 12," says Riggs. "Getting the proper usage rates is also important."

Riggs' daughter has not had an eczema outbreak in more than five years – the same length of time the family has been using all-natural products.

Holistic Skin Care

Carrie M. Laymon, M.Ed., owner of Pathfinder, a holistic care practice in Austin, Texas, believes there is a large increase in the use of holistic healing therapies, prevention and self-care among women. More consumers are demanding natural ingredients in health and personal care markets, she says.

"Increasing news reports of food and meat contaminates, pharmaceutical drug deaths, various product recalls and genetic engineering of foods are helping to increase the average person's awareness of the impact of pesticides, environmental toxins and chemicals on our bodies and health," says Laymon. "What is best for us is that which resonates with our natural state of being."

Personal care and beauty products are a steadily growing industry, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. The industry saw substantial growth in the natural personal care category in 2001, including aromatherapy, which grew 22 percent. Organic personal care grew 42 percent, according to Natural Foods Merchandiser's 2001 Market Overview survey, which tracked natural products sales.

Women are looking for simpler and more natural products in response to their increasingly stressful lives. They are demanding natural ingredients now more than ever, according to industry experts.

"I make my own specific facial cleanser using German chamomile, lavender, frankincense and other oils recommended for older skin," says Riggs. "I use blends of different oils such as wheat germ, grape seed, jojoba and olive to make body oils to use instead of lotions."

Riggs uses these ingredients in salt scrubs to exfoliate her skin. She says the oils are extremely moisturizing, full of vitamins and her skin feels wonderful. For her dental care, she makes a tooth powder from baking soda, clove essential oil and peppermint.

"I also make my own perfume using a jojoba oil base and blends of essential oils," says Riggs. "Good books on aromatherapy are a must for anyone who wants to make their own products."

Vegetarian Skin

"Women are using essential oils to enhance their overall well-being," agrees Maraline Krey, president of Biogro Products, L.L.C., of Dana Point, Calif. "We carry Sappo Hill soaps, which are vegetarian soaps that are very popular in the natural stores. Women are finding the natural soaps are softening and effective without harsh chemicals."

Biogro is a distributor and broker of natural and organic products that promote health and wellness.

"C-Products from the Dead Sea in Jordan has a full line of mineral soaps, beauty products, body and bath products made from minerals and muds harvested from the Dead Sea," says Krey. "Beauty, therapy and wellness all rolled into one."

Biogro, like many natural- and organic-based companies, strives to find new products that enhance the health and well-being of its customers, says Krey. Organic cotton pads and organic cotton tampons made by Organic Essentials are just two of the products Biogro hopes to add to its roster in the near future.

"There is also a product that is called Sea Pearls Sponge Tampons," says Krey. "It's an absorbent sea sponge, and women report that it is very comfortable. That is another line we are looking at for Biogro."

Pampering the Senses

"The spa industry is one of the fastest growing industries in America," says Eva-Marie Lind, a practicing aromathologist in Portland, Ore., and author of Aromatiques: A Sensualist's Guide to Aromatic Oils (Bay/Soma Publishing, 2002). "No longer is this therapy looked upon as 'pampering,' but now we seek these therapies for general support of our health, stamina and well-being."

Lind describes how something as simple as routine salt bathing can encourage the ability to fight free radicals, thus improving our ability to have stronger immune systems.

"Women, in general, are quite in touch with their senses," says Lind. "They are also fascinated when they are introduced to the knowledge that what we inhale can actually have a physical and emotional impact on our state of being and our health."

The primary focus of Lind's book is to educate consumers in the use of essential oils with blending instructions and recipes for fragrant baths, massages, facials and more. For women looking to uncover the potential essential oils and aromatherapy can bring to their everyday lives, Lind recommends conducting personal research.

There are many products available for women – and more showing up on the shelves every day – that offer organic solutions for personal care needs. Cosmetics, deodorants, perfumes and more are becoming increasingly popular as women respond to the need for something more. Women are searching to take care of the whole self – body and soul.

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