Topic: Healthy & Effective Skin Care Products
Guest Expert: Mira Herman, DC, Lac, creator of Rosemira
As we said in your bio, you’re both a licensed acupuncturist and a doctor of chiropractic. How did you get interested in creating skincare products?
I became a chiropractor in 1986 and an acupuncturist in 1999. Over the span of the years since then while treating patients I’ve gone through different periods when I felt that I needed a change, learn a new technique, deepen an existing one or do something altogether different. At one such juncture it was when I went back to school and became an acupuncturist which fueled my excitement about my chiropractic practice as well as my new skills. 11 years ago I became a mother and wanted to spend more time with my boy so I scaled down my practice. At the same time something started gnawing at me. Since I was 19 I had been making my own moisturizing cream which was the only cream I’ve used since then, about 35 years now.
When Burt’s Bees came out I was excited to try them out, but very fast I became dissatisfied and went back to my cream. So throughout those years I was out of touch with the commercial skin care industry. I was also young and was not too interested in wrinkle prevention. I was using my cream since I liked making it. I also had dry skin since I was slightly hypo-thyroid so it felt good to use cream , and I loved the feedback from people that I smelled good (I made the cream in Citrus & Vanilla). What became apparent over the 35 years I’d been using my own moisturizing cream (and later my own toners, masques and exfoliating scrubs ) was that my skin did not age as my friends’ skin did (besides the ones who used my cream). It was not too long before people started asking me what it is that I had been doing, and sharing with me what they were using, some of the products very expensive and sometimes cosmetic surgery, aggressive peels, Botox and such. I began looking into the products people mentioned and was shocked to discover the ingredients used in those products. As a health care professional, food and nutrition were a strong part of the education I offered my patients. And all these years since I never purchased commercial skin care products I had no idea people were actually applying these products day in and day out to their face, body and hair. At that point it became a mission to inform anyone who would listen as to the dangers inherent in skin care. And hand in hand I had to offer solutions. I started with my existing cream, toners and masques and suddenly a flood gate of creation opened up and over a period of about 4 years many formulas came into being and developed into an extensive offering with three strong lines of products for various skin types as well as many products which are not limited within a skin type. Making skin care products is akin to cooking and I was a cook since I was a teenager (my father was a cook and I followed in his footsteps). As a young adult I cooked professionally for a while and loved it. Now I could get back to cooking, but instead of feeding people’s bellies I was feeding their skin. It felt like I was coming full circle in a way, both were offering nourishment.
As the years went by the message softened some and it has become about education, about providing information for women to make educated choices. Also as I aged it became about feeling invisible, feeling acutely the fading of beauty and yet some other beauty emerged and now it was also about empowering women to feel their inner beauty, to feel the beauty inherent in their wisdom, to feel sexy through soft and fragrant skin and to slow down early signs of aging.
What are the most important ingredients to avoid when buying products for our skin and why?
1. Isopropyl Alcohol, denatured alcohol: A solvent found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. This petroleum-derived substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and coma.
2. Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl): Used as preservatives and are still often not found on labels. Have been found in breast cancer tumors, contribute to male sterility, hormone imbalance in females and early puberty.
3. PEG (Polyetheylene Glycol): Dissolves oil and grease and thickens products. Found in caustic spray-on oven cleansers and many personal care products. Contribute to stripping the Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic. Dangerous levels of dioxin fond as a by product of the manufacturing of this ingredient.
4. PG (Propylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol: Petroleum plastics. EPA considers PG so toxic it requires gloves, clothing, goggles and disposal by burying. Skin contact is associated with brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.
5. SLS & SLES (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate): Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers and 90% of foaming personal care products. Associated with eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, skin irritation and death.
6. Sunscreen Chemicals: Avobenzone, Benzphenone, PABA: These are comonly used ingredients and are known free radical generators. Believed to damage DNA or lead to cancer.
7. Triclosan: Synthetic antibacterial ingrdient. EPA registers it as pesticide with health risk to humans and to the environment. Classified as Chlorophenol which is chemical suspected in causing cancer.
8. SMDM Hydantoin and Urea (Imidazolidinyl): Two preservatives that release formaldehyde . Can cause joint pain, cancer, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and insomnia.
9. FD & C color and pigment: Synthetic colors from Coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins in skin and cause skin sensitivities irritation. Animal studies show almost all are carcinogenic.
10. Benzoyl Peroxide: Used in Acne skin care products. MSDS states: Possible tumor promoter, may act as mutagen, DNA damage in humans and other mammalian cells, toxic by inhalation to eyes, skin and respiratory irritant.
11. Cyclomethicone: Silicon derived, DEA: diethanolamine, fragrance, Aluminum, Phenoxyethanol: Preservative which is an irritatnt to eye, skin & lungs, organ system toxicity
In your opinion, what ingredients are ideal for Every Woman to use to have radiant skin?
Ingredients that are alive, not highly processed. I love using ingredients that are recommended as healthy eating choices: antioxidant oils: Olive Oil, Pomegranate Oil, Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil; generally highly nutritious oils high such as Avocado Oil (vit A, B, D, E, amino acids, fatty acids etc); various berry oils: Raspberry Seed, Blackberry Seed, Blueberry: all antioxidants, free radical scavengers, anti-inflammatory properties, high in essential fatty acids, carotenoides etc. Fruit extracts (pineapple, apple, grapefruit, fig, watermellon), honey, (black cumin oil) and essential oils and herbs. Basically what I am saying is that good ingredients are key, but also the method of preparation, the way they are combined together – synergistic effect and method of delivery: serum vs cream, (juice vs salad).
Your line is all organic, as we mentioned.Why do you feel so strongly about using organics?
Because organic farmers nourish the soil that feeds our food. Research shows that organically-produced foods are higher in antioxidants and other nutrients than their conventional counterparts. Why would I care so much about the particular ingredients I am using if they don’t contain the highest level of nutrition possible?
Secondly, organically grown foods are grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers designed to kill living organisms. Persistent pesticide use is harmful to wildlife and human health, especially as they contaminate our food, air and water or accumulate in our cells. Synthetic fertilizers require large quantities of fossil fuels to produce, and contribute to soil degradation and ocean dead zones. There are many studies implicating pesticides in numerous serious health disorders from premature birth to behavioral disorders and cancer. These are absorbed through the skin similarly as they are absorbed through the digestive tract with a cumulative effect
Thirdly no GMO’s: Genetically engineered crops which is a relatively recent technology with potentially devastating impact on ecosystems and human and animal health. Organic regulations forbid use of genetically engineered seeds or animals .
So in the quality of the ingredients I choose to use my choices can contribute towards better growing practices and a better world or do the opposite.
Are natural/organic products as effective for improving skin as commercially produced skin care products?
I would say they are for many reasons, some of which I mentioned: the quality of ingredients used cannot be duplicated commercially, nor can the freshness of the ingredients (natural products /or products from smaller manufacturers don’t sit in warehouses, store shelves etc.) The choice of quality of ingredients is not dictated as much by the bottom line of profit margin as it is by the results desired to achieve. Beyond the obvious nutritious component there is also a subtle yet quite powerful energetic difference, which some people feel, and even if they don’t it is at play. There is an energy that is part of the process of creating a formula and manufacturing it and that is lacking in commercially produced products. The intention behind producing, them the degree of dissociation from the user, etc.
If there were one or two things you could encourage (convince) women to do to nourish their skin, what would they be?
To stop using products with harmful ingredients and replace them with the best quality products they can find and that doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive either. But best quality.
Second, if I were to approach it from a more complete perspective, that would be to make sure they eat well, drink enough water, sleep well , it is mostly a complete self care system which involves the choices they make in their skin care products just a part of a larger puzzle of choices.
If I were to speak within the area of skin care, what products to use I would say stop or reduce the use of foaming cleansers and increase alcohol free toners and highly concentrated- nutrient dense serums.