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5/1/2013
Get Real
Get Real

It’s the time of year to draw back your curtains, throw open the windows, let the fresh air in and get out the mop for the annual spring clean we all know so well. After you’re finished fluffing the pillows and sweeping under the sofa, don’t forget to clean out your beauty cabinet. Make sure it’s healthy for you and your family — meaning free of conventional skin-care products that contain potentially toxic chemical ingredients. Mounting evidence shows that many of these substances, including triclosan, phthalates and parabens, can alter our bodies’ healthy functioning and seep into the environment.

It’s the potential long-term effects of repeated exposure to these chemicals that are so concerning. Every morning, tens of millions of women apply 12 to 20 products to their skin, according to the Personal Care Product Council. The average American adult is exposed to more than 100 distinct chemicals every day through these very products. Given this volume, we have to at least wonder where these chemicals are going and what they are doing to our environment and us.

Weleda has been making plant-based, natural products since the 1920s — before the proliferation of manmade chemicals and back when the wonders of the world came from nature. Our founders, Dr. Rudolf Steiner and Dr. Ita Wegman, knew long ago that beauty and health come from pure, direct-from-nature vitamins and minerals. They took the time to note how plants reacted naturally to their environment and correlated those findings to how your skin and body could benefit from their use. This is a much different approach than forcing an ingredient to do what you want in a lab.

“The cornerstone of Weleda products is that you see visible benefits with natural ingredients that work with your body, not against it,” says Robert Genco, Weleda’s holistic skin-care educator. “With pure, real ingredients, you can expect results without worrying about chemical ingredients that might be too strong for your skin or burdening your body with toxicity.”

Follow Nature’s Lead

Genco gives the example of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that protects skin from damage and helps brighten dark spots. “You can buy natural products that are made with vitamin C, but the vitamin C is basically a ground-up vitamin tablet that’s added to the formula. That form of vitamin C is not plant-based or a naturally occurring component of a plant,” explains Genco. “Weleda’s Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream is made differently. It contains rosehip seed oil, which is naturally rich in vitamin C, so it’s like getting vitamin C from food instead of taking a supplement made with a synthetic version. When you get the ingredients from the plant itself, the vitamin is symbiotic with the ingredients and with your skin; it’s more potent and less irritating than the chemical copy. It contains the life force from nature that the synthetic vitamin simply does not have.”

The Weleda product development process begins with a deep understanding of our skin and nature. By observing how plants behave in nature, we can see the effect they will have on the skin. The almond nut grows safely protected in its hard outer shell; the vitamin E found in the nut offers your skin the same kind of comfort and defense against external irritants. The pomegranate is an energetic fruit, so full of life that when it’s ripe, it pops right off of the tree branch. Its tiny, jewel-like seeds bring this same energy to your skin in the form of vitamins A, C and E.

Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that protect your skin from free radicals, help lessen dark spots and help speed cell renewal. “Free-radical damage is happening all of the time, but when you’re young, your body can fend it off pretty easily,” says Genco. “But the cumulative effect of exposure to pollution, stress and sun eventually takes its toll. As you age, your body and skin are less able to protect themselves from free-radical damage. That is when antioxidant support in the form of supplements or skin care is necessary because your body isn’t able to mitigate that damage on its own and bounce back as quickly.”

Pomegranate seed oil contains important ingredients like polyphenol antioxidants and punicic acid, an essential fatty acid and healthy fat that helps keep skin hydrated, healthy and younger looking. Our Pomegranate Firming Facial Care is intended for mature skin, and according to Genco, you don’t need to use these highly active products until your skin really needs them. “Using the Weleda Pomegranate Firming Facial Care in your 20s is like overeating,” he says. “You’re snacking on rich foods that taste good, but you’re giving your skin too much. You’re asking the 25-year-old skin to be more active than it needs to be. It doesn’t require regeneration yet, and it won’t know how to handle that.” Genco recommends the Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Care for skin in the 20s and 30s that is just beginning to show the first signs of aging.

A Lifestyle Choice

Eating whole, organic foods, drinking plenty of water, meditating, getting outdoors, practicing yoga — all of these things are part of a lifestyle focused on caring for your body, soul and spirit. Using natural products can be an important part of a holistic lifestyle by helping support your overall health and well-being. The harmonizing aroma of organic Rosa damascena flowers from Turkey, found in Weleda’s Wild Rose products, can help you feel balanced; lavender from Moldova in the Lavender Relaxing Body Oil will gently melt your stress away.

One aspect of living a healthy lifestyle is knowing where your food comes from and what’s in it. Traceability is a growing trend in skin care as well. With Weleda products, you can know where the pomegranate seed oil was sourced, where the iris root was extracted and in what village in Turkey the rose petals were picked. Michael Straub, the head gardener of Weleda’s Biodynamic® gardens in Germany, knows the names of hundreds of farmers in Turkey who grow the Rosa damascena flowers Weleda uses to fragrance its Wild Rose skin and body care products.

Even ingredients that are components of Weleda’s essential oil blends, like sandalwood, sourced through long-term cooperation with partners we know by name. The plants they grow harness the richness of healthy soil, the energy of the sun, the nutrients of the rain to thrive. Most of the plants are grown organically or biodynamically. Some are wild-crafted, meaning they grow wild in their natural habitat but are protected from overharvesting. They develop an incredible healing power and potency, which is locked within each Weleda product.

Every ingredient in Weleda’s products has a purpose; nothing is superfluous or added as a filler. “All ingredients communicate and work with each other and with your skin to deliver the benefits,” says Genco. “Weleda has the collective experience of 90-plus years of understanding how ingredients come together to maximize their effectiveness.”

Research shows that real, plant-based ingredients like pomegranate seed oil and argan oil, important oils in our Pomegranate Firming Facial Care, are highly active ingredients with dynamic effects on the skin. Weleda’s third-party efficacy tests showed that women who used Pomegranate Firming Facial Serum twice daily for 28 days saw a 29% reduction in wrinkles.* “If you eat antioxidant-rich foods or take a supplement because you know they are good for your body on the inside, why not see what they can do for you on the outside,” says Genco. “A lot of people will avoid chemicals in their food and on their body, but when it comes to their face, they will turn to the harshest chemicals to keep the wrinkles at bay. Why compromise when there are safe, natural products that are proven effective just a few steps away in the personal care aisle.” Carrie Ruehlman

*What women at least 30-years-old experienced when used twice daily.