Our friends have been asking us if using oil on your skin, especially your face, is a good idea. There are so many advertisements and commercials selling products to help fight oily skin and promise to rid your face of the ‘evil’ oils that cause breakouts, blackheads, and unwanted shine. So of course, now that organic and natural plant oils, and essential oils, are en vogue (queue the early 90’s quartet), people are curious and concerned about the mixed messages they are receiving about oils on the skin.
“Wait a minute,” you might think, “isn't oil bad for your skin? Isn't that what we've been trying to get rid of since puberty!?”
Free your mind!
Some oils ARE BAD for your skin, such as crude oil (duh), peanut oil and the oil in butter (we wouldn’t suggest buttering yourself up like a turkey). But some oils are not only GOOD for balancing and moisturizing, but also contain certain properties that help repair and prevent unwanted skin issues. Coconut Oil, for example, has been all the rage as of late because it absorbs quickly, moisturizes, and is thought to fight free radicals and other outside elements that can affect the skin negatively.
So here's the DEAL:
Just like your hair, your skin produces a natural oil, sebum, that helps maintain elasticity, prevent and repair damage, and keeps you moisturized. When we wash our skin or use harsh chemicals on our face and neck, our skin is stripped of its natural sebum. When this happens, our sebaceous glands begin to overproduce oil in order to compensate for the loss, and that's when you get that unwanted shine, blemishes, and so on. That is why, after washing your face, you are supposed to apply moisturizer immediately. If you strip your skin of its natural protective elements, or you don't apply moisturizer after using soapy cleansers, you can get the same results as if you didn't wash your face at all! And worse, robbing your skin of its natural moisturizers can cause premature wrinkles, flakiness, and potentially lead to other skin issues.
So where is the balance!? How can you cleanse your face, feel hydrated and moisturized, but not slick, and protect your skin's natural elements?
First, you have to determine what your skin is like. Everyone's skin is different; oily, dry, combination, etc. Also, depending on the weather, the season, life stages, the environment, and many other factors, your skin may change, become more sensitive, and react differently to different moisturizers and cleansers. So the first step is to be mindful and observant. Ditch the harsh cleansers for a few days and see how your skin reacts as it begins to regain balance. During these days, if possible, try not to wear makeup and simply wash your face with a gentle cleanser or just with water and follow with a simple moisturizer. If you have to wear makeup, consider using a simple cold cream to remove it. If your skin is producing a lot of oil then use a gentle natural toner or astringent for a refresher between washes (any hydrosol or floral water will do, or even some apple cider vinegar diluted in distilled water), and even consider an all natural powder to deal with shine (note that not all ‘mineral’ powders are necessarily ‘natural’; look on Etsy for one that is truly plant based and cruelty free). Most importantly, eat your daily serving of fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water to help your skin detox! Skin health really begins with what you put in your body! After a week or so, you should have a better idea of which ‘skin type’ you have (although your skin is uniquely yours!).
Classification of Skin Types:
Sensitive: If you have sensitive skin, you’ve got skin that is super reactive to the environment and products. It might be eczema or rash prone. The cold, dry air of winter and the hot, humid environment of the summer send your skin into panic mode; it freaks the f out! Note, however, that sensitive skin isn’t necessarily dry skin.
Dry: Dry skin lacks the natural oils that your skin needs to create its protective and nourishing barrier. As a result, your skin becomes flaky as it is exposed to the elements. Winter is a nightmare for this skin, but so is extreme, dry heat (hey, desert dwellers). It is prone to premature wrinkling (AH!). You might break out from time to time (not only oily skin can form blemishes). If you have dry skin, it is imperative not to over wash and to moisturize properly, but more on that later.
Oily: It’s pretty easy to tell if you have oily skin: You’ve just washed your face about an hour ago and you feel like you should probably do so again (try to resist!). Your makeup seems to slide off your face. Your pores are medium to large is size and they easily get clogged. You are probably prone to acne (but not always) and really despise hot and humid weather. Good news at least: you most likely won’t be prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Still though, this type of skin often becomes the most abused for the reasons stated above.
Combination: If you’re having a lot of trouble trying to figure out your skin type, chances are you have ‘combination’ skin. It might be a bit oily in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin area) and dry in other places. It might be normal in your cheeks and a blemish zoo in your T-zone. Note that being prone to acne on certain areas of your face might also be the result of hormonal imbalances, given your particular age. Regardless, if your skin doesn’t have one discernible type, you have combo skin (mmmm combos; JK: don’t eat overly processed foods if you want that J-Lo glow!).
Normal: Normal skin is balanced skin that is neither too oily nor too dry. Balanced skin is properly functioning skin. It is usually free from blemishes, although you might get some blackheads (those unfortunately are a reality for almost everyone!). When it’s hot and humid, you might get a little oily in the T-zone area, but nothing excessive. When it’s cold and dry, you might get a little dry, but, again, nothing excessive. Pores are small. This is skin we can all have given the right holistic treatment. If you already have it, kudos! You have been blessed and we all secretly hate you! (JK: You’re probably just treating yourself right / your ma and pa gave you some good genes).
And again, note that this ‘type’ might change throughout the year and will most definitely change throughout your life! Your skin type is also informed by what you put in your body as well as what you put on your body. So, be mindful and good to yourself in every way, shape, and form to find inner and outer radiance!
After you've determined which skin type most closely resembles yours, you can determine which plant based oils are best for your skin and the best way to use them.
So, here's the break down on a few GOOD OILS, and how you might use these oils to cleanse and moisturize, depending on your skin type. It gets a bit technical but nothing you lovelies can't handle.
HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO NOW... LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT
Keep in mind, everyone's skin is different and reacts differently to different oils so it is important to experiment and keep an open mind. Here are a few suggestions to try for your skin type and a little ditty about each oil which you might find helpful.
- Sensitive Skin: Jojoba, Rosehip Seed, Sweet Almond
- Dry Skin:Rosehip Seed, Sweet Almond, Hemp Seed
- Oily Skin:Hemp Seed, Jojoba, Grapeseed
- Combination Skin:Grapeseed, Jojoba, Sweet Almond
- Normal Skin:Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Grapeseed
Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil can act as a second skin, providing protection and emolliency while still allowing the skin to breathe. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax which closely resembles the skin's own sebum which helps regulate over production for oil skin types and supplies the essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids when needed for drier skin types (or both for combination). For sensitive skin this can be used as a cleansing oil while for oily and combination types this should be used as a nighttime moisturizer after a gentle, pH neutral to slightly acidic foaming cleanser.
Hemp Seed Oil: With its gentle nutty flavor and scent this oil is used to reduce skin discomfort by soothing and restoring dry or damaged skin and increasing the natural moisture retention capacity. With regular use, body care products containing hemp seed oil can help slow down the effects of skin aging and leave the skin smooth, soft and conditioned. Hemp seed oil contains all the essential amino acids and fatty acids necessary for human life. When applied topically, the high content of Linoleic acid in particular thins the sebum your skin produces which means less clogging and deeper cleaning. Hemp Seed Oil is also an absolute 0 on the comedogenic scale. For dry skin, apply as a moisturizer morning and night after oil cleansing with a mixture of the rosehip seed and sweet almond oils. For oily skin types, apply a small amount in the morning for day time moisture after cleansing with a gentle, pH neutral to slightly acidic foaming cleanser and toning with a floral water or Aloe Vera.
Sweet Almond Oil: Hypoallergenic oil that is great for all skin types, especially skin prone to eczema, sensitive, inflamed, and dry. Known for its ability to soften and soothe inflamed skin. Rich in Vitamins E and A, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium, and zinc. Penetrates skin easily, dislodging dirt and debris in the pores and hair follicles. For dry and sensitive skin types, combine sweet almond oil half and half with rosehip seed oil and use as a facial cleanser. For combination and normal skin types this oil makes a great nighttime moisturizer after a gentle cleanser.
Rosehip Seed Oil: Extremely high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin A (retinol), Vitamin B-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E which aid in hydrating, restoring, repairing, and protecting the skin from environmental stress. Easy absorption makes it an excellent protective barrier as well. Can help reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, UV damage, and fine lines. Excellent for Dermatitis and Eczema. For dry and sensitive skin, this oil combined with sweet almond oil makes an emollient cleansing oil. Combine a few drops of each oil in your palm and rub together to warm. apply to face and let sit for a couple of minutes and then gently wipe away with a soft microfiber cloth.
Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed Oil has a high natural astringency which tones and tightens the skin while reducing pore size making this ideal for oily types. The polyphenols and flavonoids found here contain strong antioxidant compounds such as oligomeric procyanidin. This compound in particular is about 50 times stronger than either Vitamin C or E and provides protection against cellular and tissue damage caused by free radicals. In addition to these qualities, Grapeseed oil is also anti inflammatory and an excellent source of Linoleic Acid (there it is again!) and Vitamin E. It has a fine non-greasy texture that doesn't leave a residue. Great daytime moisturizer for many skin types but it may not be heavy enough for very dry skin. Great under makeup because it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a residue for your makeup to slide off on.
When sourcing your oils make sure to look for organic and non GMO brands. Also, oils that are either expeller pressed or cold pressed are usually higher quality and have not been extracted using extra chemicals. There are always exceptions to every rule but those are a few good guidelines to follow before pressing the buy button.
And if you have any questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We'd love to hear from ya!