14 Apr Getting Creative With Skin Care
I’m a big proponent of creative expression. Even if your life’s work centers around buying and selling, interpreting, communicating, or destroying, I think it’s worthwhile to make time for creating. Create music, or art, or gardens, or recipes, or whatever feels good. There’s something about tapping into our source of creative inspiration that is good for us in a way that’s different from other activities.
I consider myself lucky to have so many opportunities to get creative in my work. Along with the collection of tinctures, liniments, creams, and patches I created for The Dragontree, Briana and I have developed some really cool body scrubs, and we recently decide to get creative and develop three new scrubs to promote radiant skin.
This process always begins in the kitchen with dozens of bags of raw herbs, salts, sugar crystals, seeds, oils, and bottles of aromatic plant extracts. It’s messy, it smells wonderful, it takes a lot of trial and error, and above all, it’s fun.
First, we wanted to make a scrub that utilized activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is fascinating stuff. When you look at it under a microscope, there are so many minuscule nooks and crannies all over each particle that it has a tremendous surface area. A teaspoon of activated charcoal has the surface area of about half a football field! And all this surface area amount to many binding sites for whatever gunk it comes into contact with – including stinky odors and toxins. Drinking a slurry of activated charcoal in water is a first intervention for many kinds of poisoning, and it’s often taken in capsules for intestinal gas. Once in the Sky Mall catalog, I saw a comforter that was filled with activated charcoal for the purpose of preserving matrimonial harmony when one member of the couple has bad gas.
We combined the charcoal with raw sugar crystals for exfoliating power; coconut oil for a thicker consistency, deep moisturizing, and some antimicrobial activity; vitamin E as an antioxidant and skin conditioner; and our Transcend essential oil blend of amber, vetiver, ginger, and other oils. At first we used way too much charcoal and our skin was stained black. After adjusting proportions, we arrived at a great new blend (that won’t stain your skin).
Next, we wanted to make a scrub incorporating clay and honey. Clay draws toxins from the skin. When it’s hydrated, it becomes like a highly porous sponge. Clay poultices have a long history of topical use for treating acne, boils, venomous bites and stings, as well as certain itchy rashes. In this scrub, the clay particles are so minuscule that they act kind of like the absolute finest grade sandpaper, to “polish” the skin a bit. We decided the clay alone wasn’t scrubby enough, though, so we added some fine sea salt as well, for a combination of “fine grit” and “ultra fine grit” polishing.
The honey was included as a nice soothing agent to promote skin healing and enhance skin moisture (as a “humectant”). We again utilized coconut oil as a thick, moist base and vitamin E as an antioxidant and skin supporter. Due to the finer nature of these scrub ingredients, we decided this blend would be well suited to our Peace essential oil blend, which contains rose, chamomile, sweet orange, and other bright, calming oils.
Third, we wanted to craft a scrub with mother of pearl and pumice powder, since this combination has long been a favorite at our spas. Pearls and mother of pearl are made of a substance called nacre, composed of a calcium rich crystal known as aragonite. This substance is legendary in Asian skin care for smoothing skin and clearing blemishes. Almost as fine as the clay in the previous scrub, mother of pearl powder acts as a finishing “polish” in this exfoliant.
For additional grit to clear dead skin, we used pumice powder that’s just a bit coarser than the pearl. Pumice is a pitted volcanic glass which is widely used as an abrasive for smoothing the skin. Finally, we wanted a third grade of grit, coarser still, but gentle, so we added sea salt. The nice thing about sea salt crystals for exfoliation is that when combined with water in a shower or bath, the water takes off any sharp edges so it’s not too rough. Along with coconut oil and vitamin E, we added our Relax essential oil blend to this scrub, which features, lavender, lime, and ylang ylang. Ylang ylang (pronounced “EE-lahng EE-lahng”) is a delicate flower oil with relaxing properties. In Indonesia, it’s sprinkled on the bed of new married couples.
After lots of experimentation we had our formulatrix, Meredith, make numerous batches and tinker with proportions, and the result was three great new scrubs. We’re proud of them. And you’ll be relieved to know that we’ve been bathing more than ever. If you or a friend are in need of a subtle incentive to get cleaner, smoother, and brighter skin, please give them a try and share your feedback with us.
Dr. Peter Borten