Preparing Skin Gels And Skin Creams

    Posted before Dec-31-2007

Nearly all of us use skin gels and skin creams to nourish as well as maintain the natural glow of the skin. However, most of us purchase these skin gels and skin creams from the market. This is because either do are not aware how to prepare them with natural substances or we do not have enough time for this. Nevertheless, preparing your own skin gels and skin creams with natural/ herbal ingredients may not only be fun, but also a wise thing to do. In this case, you not only avoid any side effects that may occur from the commercially available skin care products, but also can make substantial savings every month. Here we present brief discussions on how to prepare your own skin care products at home.

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Skin gels

A gel or jelly is prepared by blending a number of substances, primarily water and a coagulating medium. Other elements of a gel are added for different reasons usually determined by the use of the gel. Generally, all gels are transparent substances and are used in items that require possessing slight or no fatty substance.

Gels are prepared best blended by utilizing a water-based agent. Nevertheless, if you desire to have a little bit of fat in it, you may add vegetable oil as little as just five per cent. It is important to note that gels only have a capacity to hold an essential oil up to a maximum of five per cent of their total content. In case you add either of these substances - vegetable oil or essential oil, in excess, these ingredients will distribute themselves disproportionately in the product. In fact, the thicker the gel will be the more amount of vegetable or essential oil it will be able to hold. The coagulating agents that are used in any gel may completely be synthetically produced, for instance a polymer, or be totally natural like a polysaccharide. The thickening agents used in gels may perform different functions, such as preserving moisture, guarding the skin as well as act as an acerbic. Such coagulating mediums are not soaked up by the skin. While preparing a gel, the choice of the thickening agent to be used in it entirely depends on the discrimination of the individual and not on 'feeling' - the manner in when the gel will feel when it is rubbed on the skin and the experience one has when the dampness has vanished.

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While synthetic thickening agents, such as a polymer, may be produced using a number of artificial or man-made substances, natural coagulating mediums like polysaccharides are derived from plants or algae. In addition, natural polysaccharides are also present in substantial amounts in the substances mentioned below:

  • A natural polysaccharide known as carrageen is derived from the seaweed called carrageen.
  • Alginate is another natural polysaccharide that is extracted from the peel of citrus.
  • Wood fibre yields a natural polysaccharide called Cellulose Gum.
  • Another natural polysaccharide known as Xanthan Gum is developed from bacteria.

As discussed above, you may use any of these natural polysaccharides as a thickening agent in the gel depending upon how it feels when massaged on the skin or the experience you have when the gel loses its dampness. Besides, people use different coagulating mediums while preparing gels so that the gel may hold different elements. Each of these coagulating mediums also influences the skin in different ways. While some are effective in retaining the moisture for longer periods, others may be more useful guarding the skin. Again, there may be some that may be made use of as an astringent. It is important to note that none of the thickening agents in gels are soaked up by the skin.

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Most people generally choose to use Xanthan Gum (scientific name Xanthomonas compestris) in gels as this natural polysaccharide is also used in medicinal and cosmetic products. However, you may choose any of the natural substances as a thickening agent depending on your liking and suitability. In fact, you will be required to adopt a trial and error method in order to find the appropriate amounts of each of the ingredients that you need to prepare a gel. For instance, if you are using Cellulose Gum as a thickening agent in gel, compared to Xanthan Gum, you will need more of this natural polysaccharide to prepare a gel of an equivalent uniformity. Again, if you are using a blend of Xanthan Gum, water and essential oils in the proportion of four per cent to five per cent, you will not be required to add any stabilizer to the gel. On the other hand, if you desire to add something else in the gel, you should add a preservative with a view to play it safe by contributing to the shelf life of the gel.

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Gel making process

Once you have decided on the ingredients that you would be using to prepare the gel, follow the simple steps mentioned below to have your own skin care gel. Here is an example using Xanthan Gum as a thickening agent.

  • Take adequate amount of water and heat it up till it attains the blood temperature - a point at which Xanthan Gum will thaw without any problems.
  • Put in the Xanthan Gum to the warm water and whisk forcefully. Take care to stroke the bottom of the pot with the whisk in order to evade formation of air bubbles.
  • One the Xanthan Gum has melted completely, add the other ingredients of the gel into the pot.
  • Please note that if you are preparing gels for hemorrhoid or foot, you need to add the allantoin/ carbamide to water before putting in the Xanthan Gum.

Here is an important tip: if you find that the gel you are preparing gets chunky or uneven, you may put the substance in a food processor or use a hand blender to make it consistent.

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Skin creams

Preparing your skin creams by yourself is not only an easy thing to do, but it is also enjoyable and economically gainful. The advantage of preparing your own skincare products is not only being familiar with the precise constituents of the products, but also having the opportunity to use only unadulterated and natural elements blended in formulas that are suitable for your type of skin and are effective in curing your skin conditions. For instance, if there is any constituent that causes allergic reactions in you, you are free to prepare the skin cream without it or substitute it with any other suitable ingredient. All you need to do is follow a few fundamental guidelines and in the remaining part you are free to experiment with anything that you may deem proper. In fact, making your own skincare creams provides you with ample opportunities for creating new formulas. At the same time, you are able to make pure and natural products that would specifically suit you or your family's requirements.

Simply speaking, any cream comprises a mixing of oil and water. However, to be able to blend water and oil properly, you will require an emulsifier - an agent that facilitates usually non-mixable constituents to blend together.

Here we present a list of things that you will be requiring to prepare a skincare cream. First and foremost, you will require a stainless steel saucepan, stainless steel bowls that are oven-proof, a thermometer that can measure up to at least 100°C, a whisk, spatula, measuring spoons and measuring jug. In addition, you will also require scales to weigh the different ingredients that you intend to use in the cream. Nevertheless, if you don't have one, you may also make use of a conversion table to determine the precise amount of each ingredient, rather than using them according to weight. Remember, it is essential that you are exact to the last decimal while using the ingredients either by their weight or amount. At the same time, you need to be very cautious about the purity of the water that you would be using in the skincare products you make.

Cream making process

Having selected the ingredients of the cream you intend to prepare, you need to follow these simple fundamental steps to have your own pure and natural skincare product.

  • To begin with, place all the ingredients in a double boiler (a saucepan placed in a larger saucepan with water) and heat them up till all the elements melt and the temperature reaches 70°C to 80°C. This part is known as the fat stage.
  • Simultaneously, heat up the water stage in an additional saucepan till it attains a temperature of 70°C to 80°C.
  • Mix the fat stage with the water stage by gradually decanting them in a narrow, but consistent flow and continue striking the blend throughout with the whisk.
  • Maintain the warmth of the cream blend by keeping the water in the bottom or bigger saucepan boiler hot and, at the same time, continue beating the mixture from one side to another at the base of the saucepan for another five to ten minutes. Utilize the spatula to scratch the cream mixture from the sides of the saucepan.
  • Next, let the cream to become cold while you continue to stir it all along. It is essential to stroke at the base of the saucepan to avoid introduction of air bubbles in the cream. You may smooth as well as speed the progress of the process by placing the smaller saucepan in a larger saucepan containing cold water.
  • When the temperature of the cream drops to around 35°C to 40°C, you need to add specific active ingredients, such as vitamin E, which you intend to use in the skincare cream. This is the third stage of preparing the cream and you need to put in the thicker elements first.
  • Keep on whisking the blend till its temperature has dropped to around 25°C. At this stage, add the essential oils comprehensively. Once this is done and the mixture has cooled down, you have your skincare cream ready. Now, empty them into glass jars and attach appropriate labels on the containers.

It may be noted here that you may modify the formulas of preparing these creams in a number of ways. For example, if you choose, you may also add some hydrolats or tinctures to the skincare creams for additional benefits. Nevertheless, in such cases you need to lessen the quantity of spring water that you use in the water stage of the cream making process as per requirement. It is essential to add the tinctures to the creams at a later stage when the mixture has cooled sufficiently and its temperature will not spoil the properties of the tinctures. On the other hand, you may add infused oils like calendula oil during the fat stage of the cream making process as a substitute of or include it as a percentage of the vegetable oils that you may be using in the cream. Inclusion of different essential oils in the cream will not only add to the aroma of the cream, but also enhance its remedial action. In fact, when you add essential oils to your creams, they may be used to address specific skin problems as well as different types of skin.

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