Monday, 1 April 2013

Skin - Best way to moisturise, nourish and heal your skin all over.

Having always had very dry and sensitive skin, prone to eczema and psoriasis, I grew up being rather obsessive about moisturising. During the winter especially I would get insanely itchy skin after showering, I had seen different doctors but the creams I had prescribed had a horrible smell, didn't prove to be very effective, and were also full of steroids etc, so I avoided them. When you're moisturising your whole body you need to be careful what your body is absorbing.

Your skin always feels most supple and moisturised whilst you are in the shower, then when you dry off this is where you are most dry, as your natural oils are stripped from soap and warm water. As baby oil advertise their products, you need to 'lock in' the moisture whilst your skin is still wet. But after using baby oil for a while I noticed that it was simply moisturising temporarily - no added goodness to help rebuild your moisture barrier long term or feed your skin. This can be risky and you can feel that your skin really relies on the product, reducing it's own natural oil production so if you stop using the product, it can feel worse than before you started.

I'd read a lot about olive oil being good for the skin so I tried that - amazing. Definitely more moisturising than baby oil and it really fed my skin, resulting in long term moisturisation and a beautiful glow. Since I was so happy with the results I was keen to find out more about the different oils available.

Now living in Istanbul, Turkey, organic and natural beauty products are affordable and plentiful. You can find a shop on every corner where they sell a massive variety of different soaps and oils. This helped me to hone in and learn exactly what ingredient helps with what skin concern*:

Carrier oils - Can be used alone or mixed with essential oils. Fully absorbs.

Tamanu oil - All skin types. Penetrates all 3 layers of the skin. Skin healing and due to ability to produce new skin cell tissue it reduces scarring, including acne scars. Also used as a natural deodorant as reduces body odour. Antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, promoting blemish free skin and helping skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Rosehip oil - Great for sun damage; shown to fade sun spots almost completely - also helps to reduce signs of ageing, especially fine lines around eyes and mouth because very high levels of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids.
Aloe vera oil - Great for sensitive skins, about the same ph as skin and hypo-allergenic - relieves dryness, rich and nourishing but soothing and cooling - Encourage skin rejuvenation, sun protection treatment and of sunburn, blood circulation, reduces scarring, anti-inflammatory.
Calendula oil - Helps any sore, inflamed, itchy skin conditions: eczema, cracked nipples. Used to treat thread and spider veins as well as varicose veins.
Hazelnut oil - Great moisturising. Firm and tighten the skin, strengthening capillaries and assisting in cell regeneration.
Macadamia oil - Very emollient so great for dry and ageing skin - helps to replace sebum that aged skins produce less of.
Coconut oil - Make sure you get the pure virgin coconut oil, otherwise the cheaper versions can solidify at body temperature and block your pores. Comes either as a solid cold pressed oil or semi solid.  General skin health with vitamins and high fat content so very moisturising. Contains antioxidants so repair damage, treats sunburn. Natural spf protection (4-10 factor) Best kept in fridge.
Wheatgerm oil - Nutty aroma. Too sticky and heavy consistency to use alone so needs to be mixed with another carrier oil. Relieves dermatitis symptoms, promotes new skin cell formation, improves blood circulation, reduces scarring and sun damage.
Grape seed oil - Fine, light, easily absorbed, best kept in fridge. Great moisturising. Mildly tones and tightens, and regenerative and restructuring properties.
Pomegranate seed oil - Deeply penetrating, full of antioxidants so protects skin from harmful aspects of environment. Strengthens the epidermis, improves elasticity
Sesame oil - Can be strong smelling but good source of vits and mins. Thick oil, best mixed to make it lighter. Very moisturising, helps conditions such as eczema, peoriasis. Great for older mature skin and for fading blemishes.
Apricot oil - Fine, easily absorbd, no oily feeling, slightly warming. Brightening/ radiant glow so perfect for face. Especially for dehydrated, delicate, mature or sensitive skins, soothes inflammation. Revitalising. Best kept in fridge
Argan oil - Anti ageing, dry or dehydrated skin, as well as oily skin (regulates the sebum secretion) Good for treatment of skin inflammatory diseases like acne and psoriasis. Strengthens nails and smoothes cuticles. Well absorbed, no oily residue.
Sweet almond oil - my staple go-to oil, spreads easily, nourishing, for all skin types. Balances loss and absorption of moisture, softening and soothing. Relieves irritation, inflammation and itching.
Avocado oil - One of the most penetrating, rich in vits. Often for dry or mature skin, and treating sun or climate damaged skin that is dehydrated and undernourished, as helps to regenerate the skin and soften the tissue. Also used for eczema or psoriasis.
Olive oil - Acidity levels range from 0.2% - 2, the less acid the better.
Cocoa oil - Reduces stress marks and other scars. We all know cocoa butter is great for smoothing out any uneven skin tone so it's the same result with the oil.
Emu oil - Very penetrating moisturisation. Anti-inflammatory properties so good for psoriasis, rosacea, eczema. Stretch marks, chapped lips,hypo-allergenic, can reduce wrinkles.
Jojoba oil - One of the most powerful natural healers - full of vitamins and promotes growth of new cells. Removes stretch marks, gets rid of wrinkles and its antibacterial, so great for acne.

Essential oils - Cannot be used neat! To be diluted with carrier oils; no more than 10 drops of essential oil per 20ml of carrier oil.

Cinnamon oil - Suitable for allergic and sensitive skins, calming soothing.
Rose oil  - Good for sensitive skins, rebuilding skins protective barrier.
Vanilla oil  - Great for the face, helps removes scars.
Sage oil  - Reduces pore size, psoriasis, dermatitis, stops dispersion of acne.
Juniper oil - Healing eczema and itchy skin conditions
Strawberry oil - Tones skin, lightens freckles, helps fight wrinkles.
Jasmine oil - Reduces stretch marks and other scarring
Bergamot oil - Kills germs so stops dispersion of acne.
Kiwi oil - Maintains skins moisture balance and preventing drying and scaling. Great anti ageing, and for lips and hair.
Daisy oil - Deep toning properties - used especially to firm the bust area, also enhancing texture and suppleness  - apply morning and evening and you will notice results in 3-4 weeks.
Carrot seed - Soft earthy smell. Powerful detoxifier, fighting skin problems - psoriasis, eczema. Stimulates and rejuvenating the skin in general, thereby adding elasticity to any skin. Keeps wrinkles at bay and flights age spots.
Fennel oil - Used for general skincare - livens dull complexions, disperses bruises, removes cellulite, clears excess oily from oily skins, fighting wrinkles (due to estrogenic properties of oil).

Along with using oils in place of moisturising creams, I also eat a lot more fresh olive oil - (I think this is the secret to the French's gorgeous skin). Drinking lots of water, and keeping your showers/baths as cold and short as possible are other ways you can avoid dry and dehydrated skin.

Let me know if you've tried it and what results you've had; always happy to hear your thoughts! :)

*I want to add that I have not personally tried and tested each ingredient against each concern, but from the oils I have tried I wholeheartedly recommend -I now often receive compliments about my skin when I never used to!

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