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3/11/2009
Balanced beauty
Balanced beauty

SCRUB. SLOUGH. Peel. Our beauty-addicted, no-pain-no-gain cultural mentality has encouraged the misconception that the more skin we remove from our bodies, the more we will radiate health with a youthful glow. The reality: our skin provides an essential protective layer. Reduce it and we’re left susceptible to anything and everything with which we come in contact.

Our skin plays a critical role in maintaining our body’s health. It is our largest organ, and one of its main jobs is to act as a barrier between our internal organs and the outside world. Like the rest of our bodies, it follows a finely tuned rhythm of regeneration. It makes way for the new (living skin cells) by ridding itself of the old (dead skin cells). “Skin cells are bound to the rhythm of the moon,” explains Helga Heller-Waltjen, head esthetician for Weleda. “Healthy, living skin cells are formed over a period of 28 days and are then shed. So in any one patch of skin, there will always be skin cells in a range of developmental phases.”

Healthy, balanced skin can continuously renew itself. Yet as external factors such as indoor and outdoor environments, climate, diet, exercise and stress come into play, our skin’s natural equilibrium and rhythmic cycle of regeneration can easily falter. As a result, the skin often needs support to maintain health and balanced beauty.

Aggressive, skin-sloughing chemical and mechanical treatments can therefore take a hefty toll. “Exfoliating products are not always beneficial to the skin. They disturb the skin’s own regeneration rhythm, and the exfoliation agents or active chemical ingredients within a product can damage the cells,“ says Heller-Waljten. “Overly frequent use [of such products] or a non-optimal product formulation can damage immature cells and disturb the skin’s immune protection.”

A skin-supporting solution in the form of a natural, gentle treatment is, therefore, what’s needed. Under these guidelines, Weleda developed its new Birch Body Scrub. This formulation helps the skin in an innovative way. Unlike most exfoliating products, which purposely remove the upper skin layer, “Weleda’s Birch Body Scrub unburdens the skin by gently massaging away only those skin cells that are already dead and that the skin already wants to get rid of,” explains Heller-Waltjen. “If used once a week, the Birch Body Scrub will gently smooth your skin by getting rid of old skin flakes. Your skin will feel silky smooth and cleansed, and it will remain healthy—ready to receive oils and lotions.”

The product’s power lies in its unique blend of natural ingredients, all gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin. Beeswax, carnauba wax and castor oil plant wax are bound into perfectly round pearls that gently massage the skin, relieving it of dead skin and supporting circulation. These wax pearls are imbedded into a creamy, gently cleansing base of plant oils and extracts. Organic birch leaves, known for their purifying and detoxifying effects, help improve the skin’s appearance. Other key ingredients—including organic sesame seed oil, apricot kernel oil, ruscus, organic rosemary and fresh, citrus essential oils—replenish the skin and support its regenerative process. The skin is simultaneously cleansed with sugar-based tensides from the dried pulp and sugar of the coconut plant.

Through this body-balancing treatment the skin is renewed, glowing and healthy—and so is Helga Heller-Waltjen. “For years I have had a critical opinion toward exfoliating products,” she admits. “Thus I went so far as to inspect the wax pearls under a microscope. I really like that it exfoliates so gently with the massaging wax pearls and extracts of tried and tested plants. Weleda products respect the wonderful abilities of the skin.”