How Harmful is Your Lotion?

TYLER, Texas — In today’s society, handmade items are a pop culture phenomenon. Just take into consideration how many times a day you see someone post about crafting a do-it-yourself (DIY). The term is everywhere and the items being contrived are only getting more creative: home décor, clothes, food, basically anything.

One of the major players in the DIY category is skin care products such as deodorant, soaps and lotions. People are steering clear of store bought items in favor of making them at home. Many do this as a hobby, but some, like Katelynn Correa, have turned this into a side business. For Correa, the process of creating homemade skin care products goes beyond just participating in a pop culture fad. Going to fully homemade products was a change of lifestyle.

At first, Correa tried going organic, but realized it was still not what she needed to feel completely healthy, so she made the decided to develop her own skin care products.

“Before I got saved [converted to Christianity], I did a lot of things that were bad for my whole body. I couldn’t smell because I smoked cigarettes and so I didn’t really care if I had a fragrance on or whatever,” Correa said of wearing mainstream skin care products. “But once I started getting healthier, I just felt convicted about taking care of my whole body. So I started getting stuff from organic stores and I liked it, but I still didn’t know what half of the ingredients on the back were and I didn’t like [that].”

Correa began her DIY journey a few months ago, starting with deodorant. She had never had skin problems growing up and did not have to think too much about what she applied. However, as she got older she realized her skin was becoming dry and she was more sensitive to mainstream products and fragrances.

“Our skin is our largest absorbing organ, especially for our underarms. They absorb more toxins than anywhere else,” Correa said. “If there are artificial synthetic fragrances it makes it hard for me to breathe. It irritates my skin.”

When she made the switch to homemade products she realized something valuable: her skin was becoming less irritated. To Correa, the smaller the list of ingredients the healthier the product is for her skin.

What is in Mainstream Products?

Dr. Larry L. Smith, who owns his own dermatology practice in Longview, agrees with Correa’s reasoning. He explained that a lot of mainstream products and organic products contain high levels of alcohol that will irritate a person with sensitive skin. Fragrances can be a problem as well.

“Sensitive skin individuals are going to have hundreds or thousands of products that break out their skin,” Smith said. “Fragrances are usually a ‘fragrance mix’ so it’s not usually one type of derived fragrance, but often a mixture of several.”

This mixture is often what causes the irritations. It is not always known what chemicals are included in the mixture. According to Environmental Working Group, “personal [skin] care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients.” In addition, the EWG records that only 11 percent of ingredients being tested for safety. Correa uses 4 to 5 ingredients in her products. For many, the idea of knowing exactly where the ingredients in their products come from is a draw when DIY’ing skin care products.

“You can know every ingredient in [the product], that every ingredient is 100% pure, and that there is no question of where it comes from,” Correa said. “It is just stuff naturally God made; nothing synthetic. It comes from the earth.”

Some of these harmful chemicals are parabens and phthalates. These are some of the most common chemicals included in mainstream products. According to Dr. Smith, parabens are an allergen. This means that the person would have to be allergic to the chemical for it to affect them.

Real Results

This is the case with Correa’s boyfriend Dylan Peterson.

“Dylan has really bad eczema and all sorts of skin issues that he has had his whole life. He is allergic to a lot of fragrances and has asthma,” Correa said. “He had cracked skin on his ankles, hands and elbows and his skin would break out a lot. He wasn’t putting anything on it because it would make it worse and more irritated.”

As Correa began making her own products she shared them with Peterson. “It made my itchy eczema vanish almost instantaneously,” said Peterson. He would apply the face creams and lotions after getting out of the shower and saw immediate results.

“His skin still sometimes gets red, but it doesn’t crack open anymore,” Correa said. “He hasn’t been bleeding [and] he hasn’t gotten blisters.”

DIY’ing is more than just a fad. Making products herself, Correa has completely changed her lifestyle and the health of her and her boyfriend.

Do you have sensitive skin or allergic reactions to your skin care products? Want to know how you can achieve this change? Look below for a DIY from Correa!

Make Your Own Lotion

In this How-To Video Slide Show you can learn the recipe that Correa uses to treat Peterson’s skin care problems. Follow the steps to have healthier skin!