If you have struggled with breakouts, what you typically hear is that you have oily skin, and that you must fight the good fight to keep the oil off your skin at all costs. You probably end up using seriously harsh products that leave your skin feeling taut and dry.
The problem is, when you strip your skin of the oil it naturally produces, the glands get triggered to produce even more oil. A much healthier approach is to use oil to both wash and moisturize your face. This approach can help you simplify and streamline your skin care routine and is beneficial for any skin type.
When I was in grad school I used to go to the Whole Foods near my house several days a week to decompress. I would take tiny samples of cheese, and then spend 20 minutes in the beauty aisle using as many Dr. Hauschka samples as I could get my hands on. It was probably a sad sight, a grown woman surreptitiously eating more cheese samples than she should, and slathering herself with various skin oils.
But I fell in love with Dr. Haushka products, most of which are oils formulated as face cleansers and moisturizers. I read up a little on their philosophy back in the day, and here is an interesting thing on their website called “7 Facts that Will Change Your Skin.” It says:
“Drying, soap-based products and oil-free acne treatments can rob the skin of its defenses, leaving it vulnerable and triggering the sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. Normalizing Day Oil provides a light, clean layer of pure plant oils and botanical extracts that balance excessive oiliness while helping to soothe and minimize the appearance of blemishes and irritation.”
Now, I am not an heiress, and so I can’t afford this Normalizing Day Oil (though I have been daydreaming of using some Christmas money to buy it and you know what? maybe I will), but from the times I tried it at the Whole Foods on Broad Street in Durham, it was lovely. It felt like pure bless on my skin.
Less expensive alternatives, and uses
Anyway, if you can’t afford Dr. Haushka products, (and, well, can any of us really afford that?) there are way more inexpensive ways to use the enriching benefits of oil for any skin type.
To cleanse: Put a quarter-sized amount of an oil that suits your skin type (see list below) into your hands. Rub together to warm the oil, and then massage gently onto your skin. Wipe off with a wash cloth and rinse with lukewarm water. Pat dry. (I prefer to use disposable make-up removal cloths to avoid the possibility of bacteria that often live in washcloths.)
To moisturize: Splash your face with water and massage a pea sized amount of oil onto the skin.
I have seen pure extra virgin olive oil sold as a skin care serum, and so I have put some (just from the kitchen) in a little glass dropper, and use a few drops occasionally to moisturize my skin. I also typically use some jojoba (which you can buy at Trader Joes) or grapeseed oil as a makeup remover and cleanser. These oils are inexpensive (try to look for “pure cold pressed” or “pure expeller pressed” and organic varieties) and will nourish your skin beautifully.
Oils for Different Skin Types
The use of oil on the face is part of the Ayurvedic system of health, which I have been reading about in depth in a book called Absolute Beauty, by Pratima Raichur. (Right now you can buy a new copy on Amazon for $12.)
The oils she recommends, based on your particular skin type are as follows:
For dry skin: sesame, avocado, almond, olive, castor, walnut, ghee
For sensitive skin: almond, coconut, apricot kernel, olive, ghee
For oily skin: safflower, grapeseed, almond, apricot kernel
(You can find most of those in the personal care aisles at a health food store, or from the online supplier Mountain Rose Herbs)
And then there’s Argan Oil, which I wrote about recently, and which you can buy very inexpensively here (same stuff but cheaper than Josie Maran!). Mine came in the mail yesterday, and after about 18 hours my skin is noticeably clearer and calmer. This is good for any skin type, and I HIGHLY recommend it.