Soothing skin--one of the most difficult things to do naturally!! Even "natural" lotions contain petroleum byproducts and synthetic fragrances. Even those from companies people think are natural like Shaklee, Melaleuca, Nature's Gate, etc. contain so many of these toxic ingredients listed below.
“Fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredient list actually represents a trade secret fragrance recipe that could be made up of not just one or two chemicals, but hundreds of synthetic chemicals. These chemicals are selected from a reservoir of 5,000 ingredients. And of this large number of ingredients, none of them actually have to be disclosed or tested for safety.
According to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, 72% of products with the ingredient “fragrance” contained endocrine disruptors called phthalates. Phthalates have been linked to diabetes, obesity, liver and breast cancer, hormone disruption affecting fertility and development as well as linked to ADHD and Autism in first and third trimester prenatal exposure.
Up to 95% of these the synthetic chemicals used to make fragrance recipes are derived from petrochemicals. These particular ingredients are known (according to a 1991 EPA analysis) to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders, asthma, and allergies. To make matters even worse for the unsuspecting public, many products labeled as “unscented” are actually the fragranced product with the addition of another masking fragrance.
Other Toxic Ingredients
Synthetic fragrances are just a small part of the problem when it comes to conventional body care products. Parabens, petroleum byproducts, and other common lotion ingredients negatively impact our health. And not just after long-term use.
Research found that common lotions like Eucerin and other brands found to increase risk of tumors by 69% with using once/day 5 days/week for just 17 weeks.
This research demonstrates just how real and immediate the synthetic chemicals in everyday body care products negatively affect our health.
I encourage you to read the ingredients label on your lotion (and other body care products)!!
So What Do I Use?
Because it is so hard to find a natural way to soothe skin, I make my own tallow balm. I render tallow from grass-fed beef fat, mix it with a little bit of olive oil (to make it creamier at room temp), and essential oils.
I use a blend of lavender, copaiba, and Frankincense because these oils work fabulous for even the most serious skin needs. ;) This blend never lets us down for whatever we need it for. These oils are very soothing to skin and provide a multitude of therapeutic benefits. There really is nothing that I don't use this blend of oils for!
But quality is crucial. Because an essential oil labeled as "pure" can really be, for example, a hybrid, distilled incorrectly to make an oil cheaper but leaves no therapeutic benefits, and/or even contain synthetic chemicals. For example, lavender distillation is one part of the process that is crucial for ensuring that it has therapeutic benefits:
(Note: All three of these essential oils come as part of Young Living's
which is the cheapest way to get these oils as well as other everyday oils and a diffuser. For those who are not currently wholesale members with the company, purchasing this kit also gives you 24% off the retail price on all purchases without any obligation at all. Just like having a Costco or Sam's Club membership! Only you get products with your membership fee!
and be sure to
for more information because there are always freebies and stuff going on!)
In my experience, tallow is far superior to coconut oil as a moisturizer (despite the fact that coconut oil is amazing!). Besides being less greasy, tallow contains the abundant natural fat-soluble activators, vitamins A, D, and K, as well as vitamin E, which are found only in animal fats and which are all necessary for general health and for skin health. Tallow (from grass-fed animals) also contains fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
For more information on the benefits and history of tallow for skin:
How I render tallow: I place ground grass-fed beef fat (I have the butcher grind it up) in a metal strainer on top of a stock pot in the oven at 220*F. Leave it in there until all the fat has liquified and the only thing left is crunchy pieces in the strainer. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and strain into jars. (I add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil per 4-ounce jar of tallow.) Then let cool (but not harden) before adding essential oils. Stir in essential oils well and refrigerate to harden. Tallow balm is stable at room temperature for a long time!
(I recommend wiping out strainer and stock pot before washing as tallow can clog drains once it hardens.)
Buying grass-fed tallow already rendered can be expensive, so it's good to call around to local butchers and grass-fed farms to ask for beef fat from grass-fed cows. It's best to do it right before the main butchering season for beef in your area. If you purchase your beef by the 1/4, 1/2, etc., be sure to ask for your portion of the beef fat with your order!
And let me tell you, it's worth the extra $0.25/lb or whatever to have them grind it up for you! It saves a lot of time and makes it so easy to render tallow! Here's me before I figured that bit of info out (not sure why I'm smiling!):
So do yourself a favor and get the beef fat ground. ;)
And the possibilities are endless!
For other great oils for skin, you can add carrot seed, manuka, patchouli, and lavender essential oils.
For making a homemade invigorating chest balm, add eucalyptus and/or Idaho Balsam Fir.
For a facial balm, use tea tree oil.
For a floral perfume balm, use rose, geranium, neroli, ylang ylang, and/or the blend Joy.
There you go! I hope you discover the many benefits and bonuses of nourishing your family's skin naturally!
(And for those of you who aren't really DIY'ers or are having a hard time sourcing some grass-fed beef tallow, you can click here to check out
Blessings of good health,
~Sara Jo Poff
Holistic Health Practitioner