SkinCareFilter: Non-Toxic anti-aging skin care?
November 17, 2008 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Help my skin glow while avoiding toxic chemicals!

I'm 31, and I'm looking for skin care products that will give me gorgeous skin. (I currently battle dark under-eye circles and fine lines.) Problem is, a lot of chemicals in skin care products are linked to serious health consequences (neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, etc. etc.) .

So, my potentially quixotic quest: to find moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acid, cleansers, toners that are the least harmful and most effective.

Any MeFites have success with a similar quest? So far I've come up with Ole Henriksen as a potentially viable line or products-- success with this, or others? Thanks a mill.
posted by airguitar2 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind giving up fancy packaging, fragrance, etc., I've had good luck with the Paula's Choice line of skin care products. All ingredients, including inactive ones, are listed, so you can look them up if you like.
posted by magicbus at 5:49 PM on November 17, 2008

You can't get much less toxic than green tea.

Make yourself and somebody else a cup of delicious green tea using two teabags. Allow the bags to cool (you can stick them in the fridge) while you each enjoy your beverage. Then find a quiet spot to recline, close eyes, place bags on eyes, and relax for a few minutes, say five. This is great for dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness around the eye socket.

As for moisturizers, try something with tea tree oil in it. My special lady friend uses a cream she swears by and it smells great, moisturizes like crazy, and is free of harsh chemicals and toxins. Unfortunately I don't remember the brand, but it's local (Australian) so probably not available wherever you are anyway. It isn't by The Body Shop but they've got one you might like to try. Jurlique also have a great range of natural and effective products, and are widely available.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:58 PM on November 17, 2008

I would suggest trying the oil cleansing method. I currently use this method and it's great and very gentle. plus it's cheap/homemade! (I use a mix of 1/2 olive oil to 1/2 castor oil, plus an essential oil for scent; usually lavender).

I would also suggest looking on etsy for natural skincare. littleflowers is a great etsy site selling wonderful skincare products. the skin toning serum is especially gentle and effective. there are many other excellent etsy sellers, too.
posted by sucre at 6:21 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Check out the Desert Essence website. I think they stick to a lot of natural ingredients, but you'll have to check to be sure.
posted by at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Off topic: I read your teaser question and the chemist in me immediately thought you were actually trying to get your skin glow. Luminol crossed my mind? Yeah that's probably not good for your skin.

On topic: I have had a lot of friends have good luck with products from Arbonne, which pushes naturally derived ingredients, etc. It is direct sales (like Mary Kay) but you can order it online or find a rep in your area. I have mostly tried some of the hand lotions and foot creams, and they are quite nice. My friends have had good luck with the acne system and the NutriMinc anti-aging stuff. It is more expensive than drug store products, but comparable with dept store type products. The rep we dealt with was pretty cool, and I think it is company policy that you can return partially-used bottles if the product isn't working for you -- in fact, my roommate returned the acne system after trying it for a month and it not working for her; she switched to the anti-aging system and has liked the results. Another friend has used the acne system for a while with good results.
posted by sararah at 7:11 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Poke around the Jurlique website.
posted by sugarfish at 7:23 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

LUSH products are 100% vegetarian handmade skincare products that have a minimum of preservatives. They have moisturizers, cleansers, and toners, in addition to other bath products.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:22 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't know if Lush has changed their formulations recently, but they used to be full of SLS and methyl/propyl parabens. All of the skincare stuff tended to irritate me and break me out, and it was prohibitively expensive for the quality.

I've been quite pleased with Jason products- a few of their products have stuff that I don't like so you have to look at the ingredients, but most of their products are free of harmful chemicals. I've been using the Red Elements line for the past six months, and I love it. The cleanser gets my skin clean without feeling like it's stripping all of the oil, and the moisturizer doesn't make me break out. I'm also a big fan of the Tea Tree toothpaste, Citrus body wash, Biotin Shampoo & Conditioner and there's probably more that I can't remember- they're products are for the most part natural, they work, and they're affordable.

I get Jason stuff from They have a pretty large selection of natural skincare- they usually post all of the ingredients and note what the product is free of- parabens, SLS, etc. They carry Avalon Organics and several other brands that I like, too.
posted by andeluria at 10:47 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding Jason.

Also, if you live near a Whole Foods, check out their toiletries section. Lots of interesting, natural / organic products.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:07 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: I had similar problems with my skin, and what's actually been working great is:

Moisturizer : jojoba oil, a tiny drop every evening, gently rubbed onto the face
Toner : pure rose water

I've gotten lots of compliments since making just those couple of changes, and it worked in a fairly harsh (dry, windy, hot) environment, too.
posted by HopperFan at 11:40 PM on November 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

I use a modified oil cleansing method like sucre mentions (jojoba only, and I use lukewarm water. There's no such thing as opening and closing pores, so you don't actually need to steam your face every time). I also use BodyTime's line of botanical moisturizers. The firming renewal cream is my favorite moisturizer for nighttime. I stay away from Lush because my skin finds cocoa butter to be comedogenic, and it's in nearly everything they make. I use Jason sunscreen everywhere but my face; for that I rely on Aromaleigh Mineral Foundation and a hat. Recently I began using Aromaleigh's Nocturne treatment at night, and my skin texture seems to have improved.

Every so often I exfoliate with sugar and jojoba oil or give myself a green clay mask (I think I got my green clay from Whole Food's bulk section years ago).
posted by oneirodynia at 11:47 PM on November 17, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all, this is great.

I'm currently using a sort of oil cleansing treatment-- I wash my face with Kiss My Face olive oil soap, which the Skin Deep cosmetics database lists as the least hazardous soap available. (It takes off eye makeup, too!) I've been using olive oil as a moisturizer, but if I wear eye makeup, the oil residue on my face dissolves the makeup, leaving me with a modified raccoon look. Charming for goth night; not as useful for work.

I think what I'm looking for specifically are facial products that you use that a) have actually visibly improved the quality of your skin and b) are free of parabens and other nasty ingredients. If you have a favorite product, can you tell me why, specifically?

My understanding is that alpha hydroxy acids really do work-- but so far I've mostly found glycolic acid and lactic acid listed in products that also feature parabens. Any luck with alpha hydroxy potions?
posted by airguitar2 at 11:24 AM on November 18, 2008

I love Dr hauschka's Normalizing Day Oil, it is free of nasty ingredients and has visibly improved my skin--I didn't use it recently on a 3-week trip overseas and it was really obvious when I got back and started using it again. It's pricey but a bottle lasts me 6-8 months as I just use a drop a day.
posted by beckish at 4:00 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

on re-read, it is a moisturizer but doesn't have alpha-hydroxy in it.
posted by beckish at 4:01 PM on November 18, 2008

« Older What is an appropriate Alice in Wonderland quote...   |   Help me find movers for one piece of furniture. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.