When it comes to fuelling your system for optimum health, you’ve probably heard the warning: “if you don’t recognize or understand what an ingredient is, don’t put it into your body”. In the world of preventive medicine, we’ve now begun approaching the skin, your body’s largest organ, the same way.
Respect your body, respect the environment
Take a moment to look at your skin, hair and other body products. Hand, face and body washes, hand sanitizers, lotions, creams, shampoos, make-up — the list is extensive. What is absorbed into your body on a daily basis? Do they pass the ingredient recognition test? If not, it may be time to consider a change of heart, and a change of (some) products.
A great resource for this sometimes massive undertaking is The Environmental Working Group. To look out for the health of your family (as well as our furry friends and the environment), this is a good place to see if your products pass a clean, healthy and green test.
The process can be overwhelming, so start by tackling one product at a time, starting with the ones you use most regularly. As a mum of two boys, hand sanitizer tops my regular-use list (for good reason!), and my usual product didn’t pass.
When in doubt, make your own
So, I decided to make my own. As always, I wanted to harness the healing (and in this case, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal) properties of nature. Adding from my Western medical repertoire what I knew to be effective and safe, my end-product also needed a concentration of at least 65% alcohol to meet CDC germ-busting requirements. Finally, I wanted something gentle on skin, pleasant to the olfactory senses, and safe for the environment.
Below is one of my favourites, but feel free to play around with any combination of essential oils that have their own natural germ-busting properties, such as clary sage, rose geranium or tea tree oil. Be careful with any citrus-based essential oil, such as bergamot, because skin staining and pigment changes can occur when sun exposure follows.
HEALTHY HAND SANITIZER
1/3 cup pure aloe vera gel
2/3 cup isopropyl alcohol
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus oil
1. Mix aloe and isopropyl alcohol in a bowl.
2. Use a funnel to fill your pump/bottle and add essential oils. Shake well.
3. Apply enough product to palm in order to wet hands completely; rub hands together vigorously until product is completely dried.
In the end, whether you make your own, or find a ready-made wash (please share — I’m always on the lookout for amazing natural products!), feel good about what you’re applying to your skin. Be healthy and radiant, inside and out.
And help keep our environment healthy too.