January 16, 2012

making changes

Last night I was cruising around Pinterest when I saw this picture:

It led me here, and from there I started clicking and reading and before I knew it, I was mixing oils in bottles and clearing the shampoo and conditioner out of my shower. I've been down this road before (some of it) and stuck with it for quite a while - about a year total, probably. But I always seem to get pulled back to the "dark side" of chemical products. Apparently advertising works on me, or something. I'll have to work on that.

The "oil cleansing method" on my face is new, though. And so far I really like it. It feels good (facial massage and steam, who could ask for more?), and even on my troubled skin it seems to be working. I've been taking oral steroids (prednisone) for longer than I can remember (on and off for 2+ years, and steady for over a year now), and along with every other lovely side effect from this evil drug (or miracle drug - it's a love/hate relationship), my skin has really taken a beating. It's thinned, fragile, and I've broken out in "steroid acne." I never really struggled that much with acne, even as a teenager, so this is new to me and I've tried just about everything in the book to combat it. "Natural" products, truly natural products from Etsy sellers (two of my favorites are Rainwater Botanicals and DressGreen), and most recently the Bare Minerals line of skin care. I also started using prescription clindamycin (an antibiotic) on my face. Nothing worked all that great. So now? I'm cleansing with a mixture of 1:1 sweet almond oil and jojoba oil with lavender essential oil added, and moisturizing (using only a few drops) with jojoba oil and essential oils with healing or antibacterial properties (right now I'm using lavender, clary sage, lemon, and tea tree). I'm still using the clindamycin as well - maybe if all goes well I'll consider eliminating it. I'm not expecting a miracle cure here or anything, but it's an enjoyable process so as long as it doesn't make my skin worse I'll probably stick with it.

I also washed my hair with baking soda and vinegar last night. I've done the 'no-poo' thing before and I know it pretty much works but I also like to use handmade soap shampoo bars, so I'm going with a combination of these for now. You'll find plenty of explanation as to why it's a good idea to stop using shampoo and conditioner (and body wash - that's where good old Dr. Bronner comes in) on Google, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. But I'll tell you what it's done for me. First off and most noticeable, I'm just as clean as ever. I'm all about being a hippy, but I don't want to stink. So that's taken care of. The next thing, and what occurred to me as I massaged my scalp with baking soda and water, is that using natural - truly natural - methods of cleaning and taking care of your body changes the focus of your attention during your daily routines. Instead of noticing the product (its smell, the foamy lather), you notice your skin and your hair, and in doing so makes you feel better about yourself and take better care of yourself.

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