One of natures best kept secrets to healthy skin are natural oils. A few years back they changed my approach to skincare entirely, and have since replaced almost all my regular skin care products, including lotions & cleansers. Not only are they amazing for our skin – they are also completely free of all the added chemicals, toxins & harsh ingredients that are found in most commercial skin care products.
Oils have for centuries been used to maintain & enhance the health of our hair, skin & nails, and they essentially work by improving the skin’s lipid barrier function, which in turn delays signs of ageing and wrinkles while enhancing the overall glow and appearance of our skin, since it makes the skin retain more moisture. Rather than stripping off the skin’s natural oils (sebum), like most harsh soaps & lotions tend to, natural oil instead restore & balance out the natural production of sebum – leaving our skin less prone to becoming excessively oily & dry. Here are three of my favorite oils that are all part of my daily skin routine…
Jojoba oil is one of my favourite oils and is unique in that it is the oil that most closely resembles the skin’s natural sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands. Using jojoba oil for oily skin may sound completely nuts, but it is a bit like “supply & demand”… when we constantly strip off the body’s sebum in an attempt to remove the oiliness – the body only produces more sebum to keep up. However, when we instead of removing oils, moisturize with jojoba, which naturally mimics the body’s sebum, the body’s production of sebum decreases & becomes balanced instead. Aside from moisturizing, Jojoba also makes a great facial cleanser as it has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial & anti inflammatory properties. I simply wash my face with water, then apply a few pumps of jojoba oil on a cotton pad and use that to clean off my face & eye make-up, which come of effortlessly without the oil being harsh or irritating.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is especially good for dry skin and is a bit oilier than the Jojoba oil. Aside from being rich in beneficial essential fats, almond oil also contains the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps prevent scarring. It also increases the elasticity of the skin and is a great oil to use during pregnancy, as it helps prevent the formation of stretch marks. After using it on my stomach every day throughout my own pregnancy I did not get one mark and highly recommend it – especially since pregnancy is also a very suitable time to limit exposure to the toxins & chemicals found in regular lotions, which are readily absorbed by the body. If you have a hard time dealing with the greasiness and want to avoid being too oily – apply the oil straight after the shower while the skin is still damp. The warm water opens the pores, allowing the oil to be absorbed more quickly. Alternatively, you can also apply the oil before the shower or add it to bath water, which will reduce the greasiness while still moisturizing the skin deeply. I add almond or Jojoba oil to my son’s bath every night and it has already worked wonders for his skin, since his skin is prone to dryness as well.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil is my preferred facial moisturizer. It smells divine and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A & beneficial omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, all of which promote healthy & radiant looking skin. Rosehip is often used for skin conditions, such as ezcema and dermatitis, and like almond oil, it helps fight the formation of scars & wrinkles, and is also good for sunburnt skin, since the antioxidants help protect against sun damage & premature ageing. I love using it on my nails & cuticles before bed as well, as it gives an intense treatment while preventing brittle nails.
Note: When buying natural oils be mindful to get a high quality product; organic cold or expeller-pressed oils are best, as these methods of extraction do not involve heat or any other solvents. The websites; Making Cosmetics & Starwest Botanicals sell a good variety of natural oils for decent prices, and have a lot of good information to help you decide what oils are best for you.
Do any of you use natural oils as part of your skin care routine? I would love to hear about your favorite oil!