I don’t know about you, but I love looking after my skin these days. Where brushing teeth can (wrongly I know!) feel like a chore, taking care of my skin feels like a treat, especially when I find natural products that suit me. Unfortunately many of the compounds in beauty products are not good for us and some are downright toxic. The problem with applying products laced with petrochemical compounds on your skin is that our skin is a really good delivery system for things we want to get into our body (think insulin patches, nicotine patches, hormone patches). So what you put on your skin is going to end up in you blood stream as sure as if you injected or ate it. Therefore it’s important to look for skin care products that contain ingredients which have the same purity and quality you’d look for in the foods you choose to eat, and In terms of having beautiful and well-nourished skin, products containing high-quality plant-based ingredients are simply a better choice.
The only problem I find is knowing where to start – these days there are so many good products and so many choices to make – oil or serum? Rich or light creams? What cleansing routine should I use? And if it is nearly overwhelming to choose what to use on my face, it’s even worse choosing what to stock in Organico; firstly, because there are ‘so many’ good natural skincare ranges out there and new ranges coming along all the time. But we have limited space on our shelves, and limited patience so it can start to feel like we’ve seen it all. So when a new range comes along, it needs to be really ‘really’ good to even be considered. If we think it’s really really good, we research it, test it, discuss it, test it again – and nearly always reject it (we are mean with our shelf space!) But when we tried Dr Maher’s we quickly realised that it was a very different proposition to anything else we stock.
We liked a few things about the Dr Maher’s range right away – it’s Irish, and made in Kerry by Neil Maher and it is a limited range – two Oils, a Soap and a Wash. It’s completely hypoallergenic and 100 per cent natural – no scent, which was odd to get used to at first but which I now love, as the products feel very pure and I know that they only contain beneficial ingredients. Dr Neil Maher is a Biochemist and has worked for the last 12 years as a Cosmetic Chemist, researching a unique method called the Eco-C Method, involving the harvesting of seaweeds to use in skincare. And his entire range is formulated to care for psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and all kinds of irritated and dry skin as well as maintaining normal skin and reducing dryness.
For me one of the most unusual things about the Dr Maher’s range is that they have no face cream. No creams at all in fact! This led me to do some research into the cream vs oil debate – and also to change my routine and see what the effect was.
Face Oils vs. Creams
My research informed me that creams are mostly waxes and water, with a few oils thrown in. Waxes form what’s called an ‘occlusive layer’ on the skin, which helps to hold moisture in. There are two downsides to waxes: wax build up may lead to clogged pores, and the wax barrier may prevent the oil component of the cream (the part of the product that actually benefits skin) from penetrating. This is likely the reason why creams appear to work, at first, because they help to initially hold in moisture, but as time goes on the wax barricade may prevent oils from delivering nutrients, like essential fatty acids, to the skin. This is especially important to remember when treating something like eczema – a cream might seem to be working wonderfully at first but can often stop working after repeated applications.
Compared creams, natural oils deliver all of the benefits with none of the downsides. So if you’re looking to have healthier, younger-looking skin without exposure to chemicals, toxins or harsh treatments, consider adding face oils to your skincare routine. Just as oils rich in essential fatty acids are required in our daily diet to keep our bodies healthy, the right skin care oils are also necessary to keep your skin healthy.
Since I first got the Maher’s testers before Christmas, I have been religiously oiling my face morning and night. A good natural oil will soak into your skin quickly and easily (provided the pores are open) and it feels fantastic to use, and you always use it before your skin cream for maximum benefit. Using a purely natural (meaning plant-based rather than petrochemical based) oils are not a new idea and are are ideal for all skin condition including for treating problem skin – Dr Hauschka have long recommended their Facial Oil for treating Oily skin, Trilogy became famous for their Rosehip Oil and Kinvara introduced us to the idea of cleansing using simply oil and a hot cloth to remove everything, even makeup. But a skincare range that felt complete with no creams at all is pretty unusual.
The Dr Maher’s range contains two oil-based products, the first of which is called the 7 Berry Facial Serum, and it is this one that I use; it contains a blend of 72 per cent essential fatty acids and natural lipids (oils) including Rosehip Oil, Acai Berry, Blackcurrant, Blueberry, Pomegranate, Red Raspberry and Grape seed oils and seaweed extracts from Co Kerry. It soaks in very quickly and leaves my skin feeling smooth and supple. It is as all-round oil for all ages, ideal for mature skin. The second product is called Liberty Serum and is more anti-inflammatory, with some of the same oils but also with others, which are even more intensely moisturising for irritated skin.
Interestingly though, for Rosacea and very irritated skin, the Hero product in the Dr Maher’s range could well be the Soap Bar. One of our staff members has another half who suffers from rosacea and since she is a beautician with a strong interest in natural skincare they have tried everything, but he still suffered regular flare-ups. But after a few weeks of using the Dr Maher’s soap the redness and soreness had nearly completely gone and he hasn’t had a flare up since. We only wish we had taken before and after photos!
My final test opportunity was when my seven-year old developed a moderate case of eczema on her tummy. She had had it when she was a baby and it had gone away eventually. But just before Christmas it came up again, and she was itching in bed at night and finding it hard to get to sleep. We had a small tester bottle left of the LIberty Corrective Serum left and decided to try it out. We applied it thinly morning and night, and after an amazingly short time – perhaps six or seven days, if that – she stopped complaining, and shortly afterwards we realised her skin was soft and supple again.
So Dr Maher’s products made it onto our shelves. Come along and try them out, and see if you think they are as magic as we do.