I'd say one of the most popular posts I've ever written is this post about how to detox your home. But in that post, I didn't really fill you in too much on how to detox that incredibly important organ that covers your entire anatomy: your skin.
And I'll unabashedly admit it.
Despite getting plenty of compliments on my ability to pull off a youthful, Zoolander-esque Blue Steel model pose (as pictured above), I have officially quit my daily habit (that I have mentioned many a time on podcasts) of smearing extra virgin olive oil on my skin.
Huh? Olive oil?
OK, allow me to back things up a bit. For several years now, I've been simply smearing extra virgin olive oil on my face as a daily skin tonic and moisturizer. Not only that, but (as I've also mentioned on a few podcasts before) when I'm traveling and staying in a hotel, I'll actually call down to the restaurant and have them hand-deliver olive oil to my room. If they ask “why”, I tell them I'm allergic to the lotion in the room and then proceed to smear my face and neck with the stuff. OK, OK, I'm not technically allergic to the lotion at hotels, but there's just something about smearing liquid estrogen and testosterone disruptors onto my skin that makes me squirm, so sue me.
Anyways, the hotel staff probably thinks I'm some strange, olive-oil fetish creep, and the rest of the folks around me simply think I smell like a giant, walking pizza.
But in this article you're going to discover why I have recently quit slathering olive oil on my skin, the other compounds that I now completely avoid getting anywhere near my skin, and twelve natural ingredients proven to remove wrinkles, shrink cellulite, nourish connective tissue, fade scars, kill bad bacteria, and rejuvenate damaged skin, giving you a smooth, glowing complexion and much, much more.
The Dirty Dozen Of Cosmetics
Let's start here: ever heard of the “dirty dozen of cosmetics”?
That’s right…just like there’s a dirty dozen for produce, there are a plethora of ingredients in beauty products that aren’t exactly beautiful. In the US, research has shown that a significant portion of the over 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors – including plasticizers, degreasers, and surfactants.
And I'm constantly shocked at the number of health-conscious folks who are unknowingly slapping, slathering, rubbing, spraying, spritzing and massaging these chemicals onto the skin, which readily soak up these chemicals. You'd probably be surprised too if you flung open your bathroom cupboard and learned what was really inside that skin tonic, shampoo or soap you bought at your local health foods store.
For more detailed information on the dirty dozen of cosmetics, you can check out this helpful Cosmetic Dirty Dozen background report, but in the meantime, I recommend you head to your bathroom cupboard, inspect the labels of your personal care products and toss out anything that contains the following twelve ingredients:
1. BHA or BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer.
2. Coal tar dyes: Indicated by the word “p-phenylenediamine”, colors listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number, or colors such as “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”. These have potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
3. DEA, MEA or TEA-related ingredients: Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos, these can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer.
4. Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance): Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics – even in products advertised as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
8. PEG compounds: Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also look for propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
9. Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lipsticks and moisturizers. This is a petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
10. Siloxanes: Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane).
11. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
12. Triclosan: Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpaste, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
When I first heard about the dirty dozen, I was tempted to simply shrug and just make sure I continued to do things like use natural deodorant, keep avoiding fluoride in my toothpaste, and continue to avoid using sunscreen unless absolutely necessary.
But recently I read new research – specifically, the first peer-reviewed assessment of a large number of hormone disruptors and dangerous chemicals in a variety of household products. The research is quite shocking because it reveals consumer products commonly labeled “green”, “non-toxic” and “healthy” are actually laden with dangerous chemicals. And these are products that health-conscious consumers commonly buy, bring into our homes, and proceed to soak in, rub into our hair, smother into our armpits and teeth and slather on our skin.
So I've personally switched to following a basic rule that may seem silly at first glance, but that seems pretty safe to me:
If you can’t eat it without getting seriously sick, don’t use it as a personal care product.
That’s right – your skin is a mouth, and slathering chemicals on it is pretty dang close to the equivalent of swallowing the stuff.
Your skin is a mouth?
Yes, that's not woo-woo, alternative health quack speak. Do keep reading.
How Your Skin Absorbs Toxins
Skin absorption, also known as “dermal absorption” is a known route by which substances can enter your body and blood through your skin. Along with inhalation, ingestion and injection, dermal absorption is not only a route of exposure for toxic substances, but can also be a route of administration for medication.
To be absorbed through your skin, a chemical must pass through a few layers: particularly your epidermis, glands, or hair follicles. But since sweat glands and hair follicles make up only about 0.1 to 1.0 percent of the total skin surface, only small amounts of chemicals enter the body rapidly through the glands or hair follicles, and most of the absorption happens through what you probably know as your skin: your epidermis.
Now, take heart: it's not as though you're some weak, defenseless, blob of goo and bones covered by a tiny, thin layer of cellophane-like material. Instead, chemicals must pass through seven different cell layers of your epidermis before finally entering the dermis, where they can then enter your bloodstream or lymph fluid and proceed to circulate to other areas of the body, like your liver, brain, etc.
Toxins and toxicants move through this seven-layer dip that is your skin via a process known as “passive diffusion”, and your stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of your epidermis, is the rate-limiting barrier in the absorption of any agent. So, how quickly something passes through this thicker outer layer of your skin determines the overall absorption.
So why am I show-and-telling you all this? Well, your stratum corneum is primarily composed of lipophilic cholesterol, cholesterol esters and ceramides. These are all basically types of fats. This means that although nearly all molecules penetrate your skin to some degree, lipid-soluble (AKA fat-soluble) chemicals make it through this outer skin layer and into the circulation faster.
And unfortunately, most beauty products and skin cosmetics are chock-full of fat-soluble compounds that your stratus corneum readily soaks up…that's right: just like a mouth.
What kind of fat-soluble compounds am I talking about here? Just take a look at this screenshot of a list of dangerous ingredients in the “average” skin care and skin moisturizing product (you know, the one at the health food store that advertises itself as chocolate-mango bliss for your skin):
The fact is, because the majority of the skin cosmetic ingredients listed above can easily pass through your stratus corneum, and then proceed through the rest of your skin, along with passing through your sweat glands and hair follicles, it winds up in your bloodstream and then moves on to your precious organs.
Just think about nicotine and birth control patches. Many people administer potent and effective doses of these agents through the skin to the bloodstream, enabling them to forgo a daily oral pill in lieu of a patch that weans one off smoking or prevents pregnancy.
Sadly, via respiration, oral consumption and, yes, skin absorption, many of these chemicals are winding up in babies. In 2005, the Environmental Working Group published a combination of two studies that found toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. They screened for more than 400 chemicals, and an astounding 287 toxins were detected within the umbilical cord blood of these newborns. Of these 287 chemicals, 217 were neurotoxins, and 208 were known to damage growth development or cause birth defects. These toxins included mercury, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans (PBCD/F and PBDD/F), perflorinated chemicals (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides like DDT and chlordane, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and many others.
These study results have been largely ignored by the media, and conveniently shoved under the radar by the commercial cosmetics industry. And so, for a few years now, I have simply been smearing olive oil on my skin.
Why I Used To Smear My Face With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Yep, and here's why:
Olive oil contains three major antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. These antioxidants can help protect the skin from premature skin aging. Vitamin E partly accounts for the anti-aging benefits of olive oil, because it helps restore skin smoothness and protects against ultraviolet light. Hydroxytyrosol, a rather rare compound found in olive oil, also prevents free radical damage to the skin, particularly sunlight damage.
Olive oil doesn't clog the pores, doesn't give the annoying sheen on the skin that something like coconut oil (another natural moisturizer and skin protectant) does, and the color in a good extra virgin olive oil can actually add tone and glow to the skin.
But yet, I don't use olive oil anymore. I quit, and it has nothing to do with anything against my beloved Italians.
Instead, there are several reasons why.
First, I've been studying the skin microbiome quite a bit lately, and, as a matter of fact, just a couple months ago sent my stool, skin and mouth microbiome samples off to the Human Microbiome Project to get analyzed.
The long and short of it is this:
The skin is the human body’s largest organ and is colonized by a diverse milieu of microorganisms. This colonization is driven by the ecology of the skin surface, which is highly variable, and dependent on, among other things, geographic location, health of the “host” (you!) exogenous environmental factors (e.g. whichever skin product you happen to be using).
This skin microbiota actually functions in “educating” your immune system, passing information from the environment and into your body, allowing you to better thrive in whichever geographical location you happen to be in and allowing you to build a healthy and robust immune system. Yep – your skin microbiome actually changes as you travel. Fascinating, eh?
In research, the human microbiome, including the virus, bacterium, fungus and mites pictured above, and paired with the skin has even been referred to as a “super-organism”. Of course, none of the positive, immune-boosting, complexion-enhancing effects of a healthy skin microbiome will happen if you are:
A) constantly bathing yourself in antibacterial soaps and cosmetic toxins;
or perhaps less well-known;
B) not “feeding” your skin with compounds that allow your good skin bacteria to flourish.
Unfortunately, olive oil – while rich in skin antioxidants – doesn't really feed the skin microbiome.
There's also very little evidence that olive oil can help produce youthful collagen and elastin, remove wrinkles, shrink cellulite, nourish connective tissue, fade scars, kill bad bacteria, or rejuvenate damaged skin. One of the reasons you age and get wrinkles is because your body’s cellular defense systems deteriorate over time, and the free radicals that are produced as part of your normal metabolic processes can overwhelm your skin's own natural antioxidant defenses. Olive oil can help a little bit with this, but isn't really a complete panacea.
So, especially as I age, I've been searching for a better solution.
I've been looking for other natural oils and ingredients that provide not only antioxidants and “glow”, but also have an anti-aging, wrinkle-reducing, cellulite-shrinking, scar-removing and, of course, microbiome-feeding effect.
The Best Twelve Ingredients To Get Rid Of Wrinkles & Keep Your Skin Young
But some ingredients can actually help replenish and support your skin's antioxidant defenses, help your skin cells return to optimal function by helping produce new youthful collagen and elastin, which are the key building blocks of healthy skin, feed your skin's microbiome and more.
So my wife Jessa (who has extremely sensitive skin and can only handle the most hypo-allergenic of substances on her skin), my aunt Cynthia Greenfield (a former attorney and the formulator of the Wild Mediterranean Oil of Oregano I use), and I (a formerly olive-oil obsessesed giant walking pizza) – set out on an expedition to begin searching and sourcing from the four corners of the planet for the best, most organic, most hypo-allergenic ingredients that have been actually proven and tested to reduce wrinkles, smooth cellulite, nourish connective tissue, fade scars, kill bad bacteria, rejuvenate damaged skin, give you a smooth, glowing complexion, feed your skin microbiome and much, much more.
We have been receiving strange bottles of oils, tonics and tinctures in the mail from all over the face of the planet, and over the course of our year-long quest, we've narrowed our choice down to twelve natural skin-care compounds (and you'll be blown away by how easy it is to keep your skin young with these).
And now (drumroll please), in no particular order of importance, here are the ingredients we've identified as the top tonics to smooth on our skin each day:
1. Organic Aloe Vera
This stuff absorbs into human skin up to four times faster than water and provides a natural barrier that shields the cells from toxins. Naturally rich in vitamins A, C, D, E, and B12, Aloe Vera has soothing and cooling properties that relieve redness, irritation and itchiness, while nourishing your skin and tissues. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, it works to speed the healing of cuts, bruises and sunburns, as well as minimize scarring. More research here.
2. Organic Jojoba Oil
Very similar to the composition of human sebum, making it extremely compatible with your skin. Rich in vitamin E and antioxidant properties, leaves skin smooth, supple and balanced. As a “humectant”, it also draws water to the skin's surface, creating a protective barrier that seals in moisture. More research here.
3. Organic Amla
Also referred as Indian Gooseberry, amla (which grows just 50 feet from my front door here in the forest in Washington state!) is an antioxidant that contains the richest and highest natural source of vitamin C, with antibacterial and astringent properties that help prevent infection and promote the healing of skin. It is referred to in ancient text as the best medicine to prevent aging and also as a rasayana (a promoter of health, longevity and great complexion). Amla contains a high concentration of minerals, amino acids and a high density of tannins and polyophenols and flavonoids, as well as strong immune-boosting properties. Promotes glow on the skin and delays wrinkles. More research here.
4. Organic Triphala
Translating as ‘three fruit', triphala contains the herbs Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki and is one of the best natural sources of vitamin C. Highly anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, it helps in the production of collagen, keeps skin supple and thick and enhances the skin's natural resistance to free radical damage and photo-sensitivity. In Ayurvedic medicine, triphala works to balances all three Doshas, is highly rejuvenating, and based on high molecular weight polyphenols (which many of these other ingredients also contain), helps to activate skin microbiome bacteria. More research here.
5. Organic Lavender
Has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and analgesic properties. Extremely healing and valuable in the treatment of many skin disorders and injuries, disinfects scalp and skin and enhances blood circulation. Also has cognitive-boosting properties and was used by medieval knights and ladies as a precious fragrance. More research (and an excellent article on lavender) here.
6. Organic Wild Oregano Oil
Most of the health benefits of oregano oil can be attributed to the presence of carvacrol and thymol compounds, as they have the ability to kill harmful microbes in the body, while allowing good, natural bacteria to thrive and flourish. These powerful phenols have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties, all without killing the good bacteria on your skin. Good podcast and research here.
7. Organic Geranium
Invigorates complexion, improves elasticity and has a tremendous balancing effect on every skin type. A natural astringent, it promotes proper blood flow, helps minimize scar tissue and rapidly heals wounds. Contains strong antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. On an aroma-therapeutic level, it promotes stability and balance. More research here.
8. Organic Palmarosa
A tropical grass that is antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial and hydrating. Helps stimulate cell reproduction, moisturize skin and speed healing. More research here.
9. Organic Turmeric
Considered one of the greatest skin healers, turmeric is antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antiallergenic. Rich in antioxidants, it effectively protects the skin cells from damage, rejuvenates cellular tissue, helps reduce pigmentation and provides smooth and glowing skin. More research here.
10. Organic Juniper Berry
Well known for its stimulating and cleansing properties, juniper helps treat a variety of ailments, from skin irritations to arthritis. With high levels of astringent and antiseptic properties, many people swear by using it for treating cellulite by stimulating the skin’s connective tissue and encouraging circulation, collagen production and making skin firmer. Also helps prevent tissue degeneration, calms redness and inflammation and excellent for treating aches and pains. More research here.
11. Organic Lemon
With natural nutrients and a rich content of vitamin C, lemon is detoxifying, astringent, antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-infection, antifungal, carminative and stimulating. Lemon increases the luster of dull skin, aids in purification and rejuvenates the skin. Its antiseptic properties treat blemishes and various skin disorders. It’s also an effective hair tonic (and yes, you can put lemon oil in your hair for a bit of added shine and shimmer!). More research here.
12. Organic Patchouli
An excellent skin tonic used to promote and stimulate new cell growth, prevent the formation of scar tissue and help to calm inflamed skin. Also regulates combination and oily skin conditions and helps rejuvenate chapped, cracked, mature or sensitive skin types. Patchouli is astringent and anti-septic, and when used in balanced, sane amounts it does not, contrary to popular belief, actually make you smell like a hairy hippie. More research here.
So that's it: aloe, jojoba, amla, triphala, lavender, oregano, geranium, palmarosa, turmeric, juniper berry, lemon and patchouli.
You figure out a way to combine all these in proper ratios, package them, get them all on your skin in one fell swoop, and you've got yourself one potent, anti-aging skin serum.
The New Anti-Aging Kion Skin Serum
The problem is, before now these never existed in one spot.
You'd have to get a bit of this on Amazon, a bit of that at your local health food store, some of another on a random oils website, figure out a way to package it all in your home, and then keep your fingers crossed that the final product is actually not just organic, but non-GMO, sustainably sourced, all-natural, toxin-free and, if you possess super sensitive skin like my wife Jessa, hypo-allergenic, meaning free of traces of things like gluten and soy.
Through meticulous research and a passion to develop healthy, high-quality natural body care products, I'm proud to introduce the new Kion Serum, an innovative beauty product for men and women that is guilt-free, organic, nourishing, and leaves your skin young and glowing.
This new serum, fresh off the presses but even better than extra virgin olive oil, is vegan, non-GMO, sustainable, gluten-free, soy-free, all-natural, toxin-free and contains each and every one of the ingredients above, mixed in a perfect ratio and meticulously tested by the team at Kion.
The result is an easy-to-use skin treatment that contains incredibly effective anti-wrinkle components which may help reduce the appearance of crow's feet, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, brown spots, and skin discoloration. It may also reduce the thinning of skin that occurs with aging. Within just a few weeks of daily use, you'll find that your skin becomes denser and more firm, and your age spots fade. And if you don't yet have skin “issues”, then this serum will guarantee that you keep them at bay.
Because it is a completely natural and hypo-allergenic formula, the Kion Serum can be used on all skin types, including hypersensitive skin. You can use it to completely replace your moisturizer, or you can use it alongside your other skincare products for extra effect. It also combines perfectly with sunscreens and any other moisturizers for all-day skin repair and protection.
We made a decision to package the Kion Serum in durable, dark glass (not plastic!), to protect the precious ingredients from sunlight, heat and oxidation. There are absolutely no toxic preservatives, endocrine disruptors or chemicals in the formulation, and in designing the ingredients, we've followed closely my personal rule that I wouldn't put anything onto my body or skin that I couldn't actually eat.
And of course, it even feeds your skin microbiome and nourishes damaged hair.
I'll admit: it was tough to actually get all this stuff in it's certified organic form, but we managed to pull it off, and the Kion Serum contains, in balanced ratios that we personally tested over and over again to achieve the right balance for skin absorption, completely organic aloe, jojoba, amla, triphala, lavender, oregano, geranium, palmarosa, turmeric, juniper berry, lemon and patchouli.
My wife and I now swear by this stuff. Every person we've given a bottle to has been completely blown away by the fragrance (which works perfectly for men and women), the ease-of-use, and the youthful look and feel their skin gets within just a couple applications.
As a matter of fact, aside from the twin boys I helped make nine years ago, this skin serum is probably one of the coolest things I've ever created. Can you tell I'm excited?
So yeah, it's true. Your skin is a mouth.
It's also a living microbiome.
To be a complete skin, it also needs more than simply, say, olive oil or coconut oil.
And your skin definitely doesn't need the dozens of chemicals you find in the average skin cosmetic, even the cosmetic you get at your local health food store.
But I'll vouch for and give you a 100% guarantee that, when combined and used daily, every ingredient you just discovered and that I've packed into the new anti-aging serum will actually work when it comes to giving you the age-defying and microbiome-feeding effect your skin deserves.
That's why every morning and evening, I now simply give a bottle of Kion Serum a good shake, and then apply a small amount (2-3 pumps) to my face. Every week, to keep my lovely locks nourished, I put 10 pumps into my hair. Since it smells so nice and works so fast, I can simply waltz out of my bathroom with no other products on my skin or hair whatsoever (and I'm definitely no longer calling down to the hotel restaurant for olive oil to smear on my face).
Here's the deal: you can get this new anti-aging skin serum now, but we're only starting with a limited number of bottles available, and they're probably going to disappear fast…
…especially since every single bottle comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You can click here to get the new Kion Serum now. Enjoy. I'm super proud of this new formulation and guarantee you're going to love this stuff.
Questions, comments or feedback? Leave them below! Me or my wife Jessa can jump in and answer any questions you have on skin beauty, skin longevity, toxic skin care products, olive oil (ha!) and this new anti-aging serum, and remember, you can click here to get the new Kion Serum now (includes a 30-day money back guarantee.)
Q: Are there any other active or non-active ingredients in this? Any natural preservatives, etc.?
The only ingredients are those on the label. Zero preservatives, zero additives, zero fillers.
Q. How do you keep the Vitamin C and other antioxidants in this serum from degrading?
The serum is packaged in a glass amber bottle, which limits oxidation. You can also keep your serum in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator to slow oxidation even further.
Q. I cannot tolerate the strong smell of patchouli oil. How strong does this serum smell?
Patchouli is listed as the last ingredient, as it is the least plentiful ingredient in the serum. There is definitely not a strong patchouli scent in the serum.
Q. Is this something to use all over or primarily the face?
Due to the presence of and potent nature of essential oils, 2-3 pumps actually go a long way, and is enough for the entire face and neck, although the serum can be used anywhere on the body, including the hair, on cuts/scrapes/bruises, dry skin on arms and legs, etc.
Q. Serums are often used in addition to a “toner” and “moisturizer”. Should I use this on its own, or with another product?
Most use it all on its own, but some people like to add a natural moisturizer such as coconut oil afterward. Try it on its own first though.
Q. How long should I expect a bottle to last with normal use?
With normal use, your serum will last 30-45 days.
Q. What would be the best thing to use to cleanse your skin before applying the serum?
Frequent use of soap can be harsh on the face, and you can simply cleanse with warm water, or the occasional use of a good, clean soap such as Dr. Bronners.
Q. When should this serum be applied? AM/PM? After I cleanse my face?
We recommend you use once a day, ideally in the morning if you want the added benefit of the pleasant scent on your skin during the day.
Q. You mention the ingredients listed in a perfect ratio for the anti-aging serum. Does this mean all parts are in equal amounts? If not, is it possible to have the exact number or ratio of each ingredient?
Here's the deal: we can't give out the nitty-gritty details on the exact ratios because, frankly, it's proprietary and we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot! But we guarantee that we did a ton of experimentation with getting the ratios just right, and you're going to love the final result.
Q. Does this serum work as well as something like Retin-A for anti-aging and acne/eczema prevention?
The serum is far safer, far more natural and completely absent of hormonal disruptors and dangerous ingredients like many of the Retin-A or other acne/eczema products.
So there you have it. Get your Kion Serum today by clicking the photo below!