While plant oils have been used throughout time in the kitchen and in certain cosmetics, it is only more recently that they are being taken more seriously for restoring the skin’s balance and helping to heal many skin diseases.
Common oils like olive, sunflower seed, coconut, sesame, avocado, borage, sweet almond and rose hip are anti-inflammatory and have nourishing effects that promote wound healing while also repairing the skin’s barrier. If your skin is chronically stripped of its natural barrier, your first line of immune defense is not much of a defense after all.
The skin’s barrier function is primarily dependent on the integrity of the surface layer of the skin and with it constantly encountering a daily onslaught of unhealthy external stimuli, injuries and/or infections happen that can lead to wounds, premature skin aging and even skin cancer. If you are suffering from inflammation, it is happening in response to a damages skin barrier. So, if you are using tons of products or even a few, but they are old, cheap and mass-produced ones made with industrial chemicals, you are definitely compromised. The good news? Knowing that maintaining a healthy barrier of the skin not only has you looking radiant and absolutely gorgeous but you are protected against foreign substances entering the body and causing infections and even disease. Way more important than how you look right?
Yes, your overall health depends first on your skin and a healthy barrier!
Plant oils have been used on the skin for ages because they have many positive physiological benefits like acting as a protective barrier to the skin which allows it to retain moisture, resulting in decreased trans-epidermal water loss values. Additionally, using oils topically have a localized effect rather than a systemic one meaning that without deep penetration of the skin, their job is to remain on the surface where they are better kept to be that healthy barrier you need. Because cold-pressed oils do not involve heat or chemical treatments, their natural composition and therapeutic effects are intact whereas refined oils or those that are chemically extracted have the opposite effect and lack many therapeutic benefits. Some of the benefits of a quality unrefined and certified organic oil are their influence skin physiology (skin barrier, inflammatory status, antioxidant response, and proliferation.
Studies have shown that application of saturated fatty acids (think solid oils like coconut or cocoa butter) and unsaturated fatty acids (think more fixed and liquid plant oils like almond, avocado and sesame) showed differences in trans-epidermal water loss and irritant skin response. I suggest layering these oils for optimal protection so cleanse, remove eye makeup and moisturize with them. They can only benefit you. However when cleansing please make sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.
Below are some of my favorite oils for cleansing and moisturizing the skin:
Olive oil has antioxidant properties higher than those of vitamin E and this antioxidant activity exhibit anti-inflammatory properties when olive oil is included not just in your regular diet but as a skin and hair product as well. Studies on mice have shown that topical application of olive oil has anti-inflammatory effects as it reduces oxidative damage and promotes dermal reconstruction. Studies have also shown that a mixture of olive oil, sesame oil, and honey was demonstrated to be a useful treatment for burns, by preventing infections and accelerating tissue repair. Hello Sweet Clean! Ingredients? Honey, olive, sesame, almond and coconut oil! No wonder it’s a best-seller. The results speak for themselves. Extra virgin olive oil was also found to delay the onset and reduced the incidence of skin cancer development after UV exposure when applied to the skin. I remember when I was in Sicily everyone had gorgeous skin and hair and it was because apart from eating superb quality olive oil on the daily, they used it topically too.
Sunflower seed oil has been shown in studies to preserve the integrity of the skin and improve the hydration levels of the skin. Sunflower seed oil is high in linoleic acid which enhances skin barrier repair. Sunflower seed oil is one of the main oils used in Crème Honey Berry and why so many of you notice the improvement of your skin’s hydration levels and overall texture texture after using it.
Grape seed oil is another oil used in Crème Honey Berry chosen for its high palmitic acid content, the same fatty acid that makes up most of our skin’s sebum. Grape seed also contains resveratrol, a polyphenols that acts like an antioxidant, protecting the body against UV damage. This oil has wound healing and antimicrobial benefits and is also high in vitamin E, an essential skin food for maintaining the healthy renewal and vitality of the skin.
Coconut oil has been shown to be an effective and safe moisturizer for dry skin and in a study of pediatric patients with atopic dermatitis, virgin coconut oil applied topically decreased the severity of its symptoms. It improves barrier function and has shown to be an effective wound healer while contributing to a healthy protective barrier function. Studies also show that after UV exposure, inflammation was lower in the coconut oil-treated group. This is a great cleanser and eye-makeup remover too. And because it has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, oil pulling with coconut oil is always a good idea.
Sesame seed oil has been used in Ayurveda for over 6000 years. The seeds contain significant amounts of lignans which have antioxidative activity and the research has shown that sesame oil applied topically reduces oxidative stress to the skin. Massaging the skin with sesame oil has also shown to reduce the pain severity in the limbs of patients and when used orally (i.e. oil pulling) reduces inflammation. Sesame oil also helps protect the skin from UV radiation and has been demonstrated to play a role in cancer prevention. Sesame oil is a prized preventative medicine in Ayurveda and is found in many of our products, notably Sweet Clean & Terre Floral
Avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of the fruit and is filled with fatty acids, carotenes lecithin, minerals, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. This is an amazing superfood for the skin and why it is used as a primary oil in Smooth and Crème Vert. It is protein rich too and excellent for enriching dry, damaged or chapped skin, improve scar tissue, increase collagen synthesis and decrease the numbers of inflammatory cells during the wound healing process.
Borage oil contains high levels of Omega 6 essential fatty acids that are important in skin structure and function and contribute to therapeutic actions in atopic dermatitis. Topical application of borage oil in infants and children with seborrheic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis has been shown to normalize their skin barrier function. It is a highly effective oil in repairing dry skin. Borage oil is found in Crème Vert and Smooth.
Sweet almond oil is highly emollient and improves complexion and skin tone. The oil’s fatty acid content may help dissolve excess oil in skin troubled with while the retinoids in the oil can aid in reducing inflammation and improve cell turnover. Sweet almond oil is one of the oils in our Sweet Clean. Studies have shown that the vitamin E in sweet almond oil can help reduce damage to the skin caused by UV exposure. It is also an oil widely used to help with the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Sweet almond oil is found in Sweet Clean.
Rose hip seed oil has a high composition of unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants that offer a relatively high protection against inflammation and oxidative stress. Rose hip seed oil contains phenols that have been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and contains a wealth of essential fatty acids, to acids help to keep cell walls strong, preserving their water content and improving your skin’s hydration. Because rose hip oil is high in vitamins A and C, it encourages skin cell turnover and cell regeneration, boosting overall radiance via a natural exfoliation process that can help reduce dullness and leave you with glowing, vibrant skin. Rose hip seed oil can be found in Smooth, Smooth Berry, Crème Vert and Crème Honey Berry.
All of these oils can be used to cleanse the skin and applied topically to treat and moisturize it further.
CLEANSING WITH OILS IS SUPER EASY:
Always compress the face first! Skin should be warm and moist whenever using oils on the skin. After compressing, apply 5-7 drops of oil to the hands and spread across your face and neck. If you want to include a spritz of your favorite beautifying water then by all means do it! Then, with open palms work your oil as you would any cleanser, spending time around nose, chin and jaw. Take your time and make sure where there is inflammation to use a light hand. When ready, remove oil with a warm washcloth. Please make sure to use a thick soft cloth like our facial cloths– especially if your skin is inflamed – so not to irritate the skin. Once oil is removed, spritz with hydrosols and with open palms, press everything into the skin. Use a few drops of oils or your favorite crème to moisturize. Voila!
Cleansing with oils can be a part of your morning and/or evening cleansing routine. Oils are tougher than you think and make an effective cleanser to remove makeup and other debris from a day out and about.
REMEMBER: Always make sure your oils are unrefined, certified organic and cold-pressed so they do not irritate the skin and cause reactions like breakouts and dry patches.
Many of these oils can be found in your local grocery store or can be ordered online. Smooth and Smooth Rose Kernel can also be used to cleanse the skin.
Have fun and please leave a comment below to share your experience.