Although “oil-free” is still seen as a prized label for some skin care products, it’s time we stop villainizing oils on the face because the fact is, they’re highly beneficial for just about any skin ailment.
Plant oils have been used for a variety of purposes throughout time. Various plant oils have been successfully incorporated into diets and even used as pharmaceuticals. Today, they are recognized for their therapeutic, anti-aging, and restorative effects on the health of our skin.
When it comes to natural skin care, there are two classes of oils for the face that are must-haves; those are the plant carrier oils (specifically coconut, olive oil, and jojoba, amongst others) and various essential oils. These are, in our eyes, and according to most scientists/researchers, the true powerhouse ingredients that make skin healthy, dewy, and problem-free.
Today, you will discover the interesting, and miraculously therapeutic benefits of topically applied facial oils. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin, select plant oils are capable of preserving, regenerating and repairing the skin.
Getting to Know Essential Oils
Essential oils are rising in popularity and good thing as these oils not only provide a delicious, non-toxic aroma but also many medicinal health benefits. In addition to their use in diffusers for aromatic purposes, essential oils are being more commonly used in skin care products.
Applied to the skin, there are numerous essential oils that can positively affect the functioning of the skin. But because these botanical extracts are extremely concentrated and therefore powerful, they must be mixed with a carrier oil, like olive, jojoba, or grapeseed oil. Most essential oils possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, mitigating the most harmful offenders to radiant and healthy skin.
The Best Essential Oils For Your Skin
Lavender Essential Oil: helps heal skin irritations, calms the skin (and the mind with its amazing scent), stimulates circulation for the delivery of nutrients, and reduces inflammation of the skin; suitable for all skin types.
Geranium Essential Oil: balances the skin’s production of oil making it useful for both oily and dry skin, helps reduce inflammation and is antibacterial making it a great treatment for acne and other skin conditions, and may help fade scars; suitable for all skin types.
Frankincense Essential Oil: reduces dark spots, age spots, acne scars and uneven skin tone, treats wrinkles and boosts skin elasticity to tighten skin; best for aging skin.
Lemongrass Essential Oil: reduces acne and pore size while also fighting skin aging for a healthy glow and even moisture; suitable for all skin types.
German Chamomile Essential Oil: calms and soothes the skin with its anti-inflammatory properties and promotes moisture retention; great for sensitive skin.
Tea Tree Essential Oil: powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties make this an effective remedy for toenail fungus, warts, corns, calluses, burns, bug bites, and is used widely to treat pimples and acne; great for acne prone skin.
Lemon Essential Oil: potent antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-aging effects even skin tone, reduce wrinkles, and fight acne and acne scars; best for acne-prone and aging skin.
Neroli Essential Oil: helps smooth wrinkles and lift sagging skin with its skin regeneration properties, balances facial oil production, reduces pore appearance, and the natural chemical called citral in neroli helps prevent and reduce stretch marks; good for oily and aging skin.
How To Use Essential Oils On Your Face
Essential oils should almost never be applied directly to your skin unless they are diluted in a carrier oil. A 5% concentration of essential oil is considered the maximum safe potency.
There are a few ways to measure your facial oils. For small amounts, 1 milliliter (ml) of oil is 20 drops, so for every 1 ml or 20 drops of carrier oil, add 1 drop of essential oil.
Taking this further, 1 ounce (oz) is 29 ml, so for every 1 oz of carrier oil, add 29 drops of essential oil.
So what exactly is a carrier oil? Read on!
The Best Carrier Oils For Your Face
Carrier oils are plants oils that moisturize and repair the skin. Essential oils can be added to carrier oils to increase the therapeutic benefits. These natural oils easily absorb into the skin, seal in moisture, and protect your skin to give you a healthy, dewy glow. These oils will not cause acne or clogged pores when used in the right combination for your skin type and in fact will balance oil production, improve the moisture and texture of your skin, reduce skin aging, treat acne, and all without harmful synthetic chemicals!
Jojoba Oil: This lightweight oil absorbs readily into the skin, dissolves your skin’s sebum to balance your face’s oil, and delivers nutrients deep into the skin. It is moisturizing and healing for all skin types and will carry therapeutic essential oils deep into your pores.
Argan Oil: This anti-aging powerhouse contains high levels of vitamin E antioxidants and skin softening agents that help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, tighten the skin, and restore moisture. It absorbs easily without feeling oily.
Rose Hip Seed Oil: Perfect for aging skin due to its nourishing and skin regenerating properties, it improves skin elasticity and firmness, improves skin texture, soothes redness and inflammation, helps reduce dark spots and scarring, and softens and smooths the skin.
Health Benefits of Plant Oils
Next to essential oils, you’ll find various plant oils (coconut, olive, jojoba, sunflower, etc.) in most natural skin care products. Plant oils provide the perfect base for lotions, creams, nourishing skin oils, and moisturizers. They also happen to provide some rather impressive therapeutic actions on the health and functioning of the skin.
In fact, plant oils like jojoba, and other plant oils rich in vitamin E possess incredible anti-inflammatory effects, which not only protect the skin from cellular damage, but have been shown to reverse this damage and regenerate the skin. 1
Let’s take a moment to more deeply explore their therapeutic mechanisms and effective benefits for skin health.
Plant Oils are Anti-Inflammatory
The skin encounters a daily onslaught of exogenous stressors including environmental pollutants, irritating light, pathogens, and various toxins, which sometimes result in injury or infection, leading to inflammatory conditions and therefore skin aging. When inflammation to the skin barrier occurs in response to these injuries; on a molecular level, the inflammatory response ignites your innate immune response, triggering a release of immune cells such as leukocytes, macrophages, mast cells, and dendritic cells. 2,3 Additionally, various inflammatory mediators called cytokines are attracted to the site of injury and infection to help contribute to tissue repair and infection prevention and control. However, the chemokines and cytokines are also able to damage the skin tissue in proximity to the injured site of the inflammatory response. In this way, depending on the intensity and duration of the inflammation, damage can be done, resulting in aged skin. Therefore, reducing inflammation is one of the most important goals in maintaining skin health and balance.
Now for the good news, because the metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the skin is high, applied topically, plant oils like jojoba, provide a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-proliferative property 4.
Also, some of the major inflammatory chemicals in the body referred to as cyclooxygenase (COX) and prostaglandins E(2), which induce skin inflammation when at high levels, are “deactivated” by the topical application of vitamin E rich oils like jojoba. 5. In simpler terms, topical supplementation with plant oils provides localized anti-inflammatory properties. With inflammation being at the root of most skin disorders, the regular use of topical plant oils can act as a novel anti-aging, anti-inflammatory agent.
Plant Oils are Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Cancerous
The aging of the skin can be split into two categories; chronological and environmentally-induced. Both of these factors create common changes in the physiology of the skin, which include the thinning of the skin, the loss of elasticity and the increase of skin roughness, wrinkling, dryness, and impairment of the skin barrier.
At basic, chronological skin aging happens due to a decrease in the cellular functioning of the skin. Environmental factors in skin aging are brought about by more controllable factors such as exposure to radiation, air pollution, smoking, metabolic changes, environmental toxins, diet and other external stressors that affect the skin.
However, ROS levels can be regulated by various antioxidants like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione (GSH). When the skin becomes unhealthy, really what happens is its antioxidant capacity is being overwhelmed by stressors. This is what causes oxidative stress, which damages skin cells and alters their gene expression, leading to aging, disease and cancerous cells. 6,7,8.
Luckily, we can supplement antioxidants in times of stress when the naturally occurring antioxidants in the skin are overwhelmed. Of the many antioxidants, vitamin E (tocopherol), which is found exclusively in plant oils, possesses some of the most potent antioxidant activities.
Vitamin E has a dual effect, it is both anti-inflammatory and thereby antioxidative. It acts within the cellular regulatory systems, to prevent inflammation and inappropriate excitation to cells. Vitamin E is a powerful scavenger of hydroxyl radicals and other anti-inflammatory activities in tissues. In one study, an inflammatory induced response via acetic acid, which increased levels of inflammatory tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, myeloperoxidase and malondialdehyde, and decreased levels of antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase was reversed by vitamin E. This suggests a powerful anti-inflammatory and regenerative effect by vitamin E. 9
Selecting the Best Plant Oils
Topical applications of plant oils may have different effects on the skin depending on their composition extraction methods. From our understanding and research, cold-pressed oils will possess the most therapeutic action. Considering that plant oils are unsaturated and therefore more sensitive to oxidation, it is important to get fresh, cold-pressed oils that are protected from the air, light and heat. This is why we selectively use cold-pressed extracts of our plant oils and store our products in dark, Miron glass.
In conclusion, plant oils like jojoba, olive oil, sunflower, almond, coconut and others improve the health of the skin synergistically by several mechanisms. There is extensive research showing that these oils can promote skin barrier homeostasis, protect the skin from oxidative stress, inflammation, have antimicrobial and anti-cancerous properties, and even promote skin regeneration. With the science in mind, we strongly feel that quality, cold-pressed plant oils are an essential part of any natural skin care regime.
Which is your favorite plant or essential oil? Leave us a comment!
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