OILS IN SKINCARE
Your skin naturally produces oil because it needs it to heal, protect, lubricate and moisturise. Some people believe that it is wrong to use oil on your face because it congests the skin causing pimples, blackheads and the like. Usually these problems are caused by hormone activity or dead skin cells and not due to the oil itself. One fact that I find is not widely known is that oils can actually dissolve other oils of a similar chemical structure.
Basically a cream is made from wax, water and oils. The science of formulating a fabulous cream comes down to the right oil selection. It wasn’t that long ago that many of the oils used in skincare were petroleum based. And I’m talking about the leading brands as well. Fortunately, in recent years most good skincare use naturally derived oils. The trick is to use oils that will balance the the skin. There are some really fabulous fruit and vegetable oils that we can use these days. Take Watermelon seed oil for example – very balancing and calming. Baobab oil from the Tree of Life, packed with Vitamins A,C,and E. Marula, a beautiful oil with a very high Vitamin C content. In Africa, the Marula is valued so highly that to give someone a Marula kernel represents the greatest mark of friendship. Red Raspberry seed oils, with its natural sun protection, Cranberry, Goji Berry, Blackcurrant and Kiwi Seed oils all with great antioxidant properties that protect and help repair the skin.
All of these oils are fine in texture and are easily absorbed into the skin leaving it feeling silky and smooth. They do not clog the pores. I use oils on my skin morning and night either alone, over one of my serums or under my day or night cream. It gives my skin a polished look and feel.
Well known and widely used oils such as Apricot Kernel oil and Sweet Almond oil certainly have their place. I don’t use these in my products because in my view there are many other wonderful oils with greater properties but for use in massage they are eminently suitable.
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I am constantly being asked about antioxidants. What are they? What do they do and why do I like them so much in skin care?
Firstly, it is important to remember that the skin is the body’s largest organ. Antioxidants are chemicals that protect the skin cells from the inside by neutralising external forces (such as damage from the sun, pollution, wind, and temperature.
Antioxidants are necessary because they combat free radicals. Free radicals are by-products that are formed when oxygen is used by the body. They start a chain reaction under the skin’s surface, which begins a process of destruction. Without getting too technical, the aftermath of this reaction is that the structure of the skin is damaged and the cellular structure is weakened.
Antioxidants in skincare products can do a lot for the health and appearance of your skin, including reducing the signs of ageing. It is interesting to note that antioxidants work 25% better applied topically then taken internally for the skin.
To get the maximum benefit and best results from antioxidants in skincare, you need a range of different antioxidants. Green Tea for example has EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate) that protects the DNA in skin cells from sun damage, pomegranate has ellagic and punicic acid and these two antioxidants are outstanding free radical scavengers. Coenzyme Q10 is another, as is Vitamin A. And don’t forget the those super berries, Blueberry, Raspberry (high sun protection Cranberry, Blackcurrant all have different antioxidants that the skin needs to minimise age spots and reduce inflammation. Black raspberry is one of nature’s most potent antoxidants by virtue of the fact it contains up to 85% EFAs (essential fatty acids) and is high in linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids. They are all cell communicators.
So, when it comes to good skincare the old adage of strength in numbers is the way to go.
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