For a healthy skin makeover
Soothing and nourishing
Oils not only help replenish our complexions and protect us from the harsh elements, but also contain their own special therapeutic properties. Some oils can support sensitive skin with anti-inflammatory actions, while others can combat breakouts by killing bacteria.
There are so many beautifying plant-derived oils that it’s simply a matter of finding which one is best for your skin type, condition, and skin care goals.
Sensitive skin and redness
Sensitive skin is a common concern this time of year due to the dry, dehydrating winter weather. This dryness can tax delicate skin types and aggravate inflammatory conditions such as eczema and rosacea. Oils serve as protectors, acting as barriers against the irritating environment. Some oils, such as borage and camellia, also soothe inflammation and help rebuild the skin’s strength and immunity.
Borage oil is one of the best oils to alleviate eczema as it’s high in gamma-linolenic acid, a nourishing essential fatty acid. It helps bolster the health of skin tissue, promotes its elasticity, and has itch-reducing properties.
Borage oil makes an excellent facial moisturizer but it can also be used anywhere on the body or scalp. It’s so therapeutic that it has even been incorporated into the fabric of undershirts to help soothe childhood eczema.
Camellia oil is another calming oil that’s effective on rosacea and many other inflammatory conditions. Camellia is the same flower that green tea is made from and shares its antioxidant properties that help combat free-radical damage. This oil also strengthens skin tissue, making complexions more resilient and robust. Camellia oil has a wonderful silky texture that makes for a light moisturizer and a good base for makeup.
Oils are inherently good for antiaging as they nourish and soften the skin as well as create a barrier that locks in hydration.
Avocado oil, in particular, is excellent for antiaging as it’s richer and heavier than most other oils. This moisturizing property helps prevent transepidermal water loss. Avocado oil is best used over a hydrating, water-based serum as its heavier texture seals the light serum into skin tissue, making it more effective in protecting the skin. Avocado oil is incredible for repairing skin, healing wounds, and combatting aging caused by everyday damage.
Evening primrose oil
Another oil that is commonly used for antiaging is evening primrose oil. This flower oil can be applied topically and taken orally for its hormone-balancing properties (consult your natural health practitioner for dosage advice). This oil can provide support for the body as it transitions into menopause and the changes in the skin that accompany this. Evening primrose oil has also been found to be effective for treating hyperpigmentation and UV damage, as well as diminishing age spots.
Sun damage and dark spots
Hyperpigmentation is an especially difficult skin condition to treat. Conventional dermatology prescribes bleaching agents and peels, but these have been found to have negative effects such as the potential to cause further damage and sun sensitivity. Some skin-lightening chemicals have even been identified as possible carcinogens.
Oils can provide a natural, safer alternative to conventional lightening methods as some have hyperpigmentation-diminishing properties. Research has found rosehip oil to be effective in reducing pigmentation. Its antioxidant activity, provided by the rosehip fruit’s high vitamin A and C content, aids skin repair and reduces scarring.
Tamanu oil is also good for uneven skin tone, specifically for fading skin marks and scars. Derived from the nut kernels of the tropical tamanu tree, this oil is famed for its wound-healing actions and scar-fading properties.
This may come as a surprise, but facial oils treat acne. Acne-prone people tend to fear oil because there’s a common misconception that oil causes blemishes and clogged pores. In fact, many oils have the ability to regulate the oil glands and decrease the skin’s oiliness.
This is a nurturing approach to acne that will not irritate and dehydrate skin. Conventional blemish treatments such as peels and drying agents can sensitize and damage complexions, making them short-sighted strategies.
Argan (and camellia) are two such oils; applying one of these daily can help control sebaceous (oil gland) activity. Facial oils can also possess antibacterial properties. Along with regulating oil secretions, argan oil also guards the skin against infections, working to prevent breakouts and the formation of pustules and acne cysts.
Neem is another clarifying oil with powerful antiseptic actions. Neem is a plant indigenous to India, and its oil is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine to treat infections, parasites, and inflammation. Its antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent option for breakouts and other skin infections.
Skin oils have a variety of unconventional uses that go beyond simply lubricating the skin’s surface. Facial oils can be used as multifaceted beauty treatments that address a variety of skin ailments at once, making them therapeutic and practical. Choosing the right oil based on your specific needs and concerns can arm you with skin care tools that can tackle any New Year’s skin rejuvenation resolution.
Supplements for skin rejuvenation
These supplements feed your skin from the inside out.
|vitamin C||antioxidant, antiaging|
|fish oil||anti-inflammatory, moisturizing|
|green tea extract||Antioxidant|
About the Author
Kristen Ma is an esthetician, Ayurvedic practitioner, spa owner, beauty blogger, and the author of Beauty: Pure+Simple (McArthur & Co., 2010).