Your skin loves you .....
..... love it back!
With the regular use of the Oil Cleansing Method followed by the proper application of the right facial treatment oils dry skin can fight back! In arid climates such as the one I live in year round wind, sun, and blasts of cold snow to the face when skiing on a deep powder day can make you swear that every last drop of moisture is being sucked from your precious skin! We can help it cope by correctly applying the right treatment oil blend the correct way, then protecting it from photoaging with a good mineral sunscreen (I recommend Badger Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 35 unscented).
INSIDE OR OUT - HOW DOES SKIN BECOME DEHYDRATED?
Skin dehydration is very rarely from not drinking enough water. In most cases where your skin is dehydrated due to lack of water consumption you would be experiencing systemic symptoms beyond the scope of this discussion.
The primary function of our skin is that of a biological "tight junction". A "tight junction" keeps infections and bacteria out, and moisture in. Skin becomes dehydrated at the surface due to the evaporation of fluids. This often leads to irritation and dry skin. If skin becomes dry and irritated, this barrier becomes compromised. The more fluids we lose to evaporation the more potential damage is done to the skin barrier, leading to further irritation and even more fluids loss. This cycle leads us to rely more and more on moisturizers and lotions, which can further exacerbate the situation and can lead to more problems such as outbreaks as bacteria can more easily penetrate the "tight junction", as well as a reduced ability for the skin to retain its' structure, making it more vulnerable to sun damage.
Another overlooked aspect of skincare that impact everyone is product freshness and this will be the topic of a future post.
Of course, these things occur more often in a harsh, dry climates than in humid ones but it also happens as we age due to a progressive reduction in epidermal barrier functions. Thankfully, It is possible to actually help maintain, heal and restore a healthy epidermal skin barrier by applying nutrient dense plant oils with the right properties, in the RIGHT WAY!!
PROPERTIES OF PLANT OILS: OCCLUSIVE + EMOLLIENT + HUMECTANT
The properties we are evaluating here are "occlusive", "emollient" and "humectant". The role of fatty acids will be discussed in a future post.
"Emollient" oils lubricate the skin and fill in the gaps between skin cells making it feel smoother. Emolliency reduces evaporation and helps keep skin soft and pliable. All fruit, nut and seed oils have both emollient + humectant properties. But some are considered to have more emollient properties than others.
If you apply oils to dry skin without getting the water part right, then trapping zero moisture under the skin leaves you with, well, zero moisture and still dehydrated skin with an oil layer on top of it. This is where the humectant part comes in, the vital water part that often gets overlooked when you are new to OCM.
"Occlusive" oils form a protective barrier on your skin helping to maintain the primary "tight junction" function mentioned above. Occlusive rich oils are very nourishing to our skin and work by trapping existing moisture in, not by adding it as noted above, that is the job of the humectant. Occlusive oils work well for those with normal to dry skin by helping retain moisture already present but can cause problems for those with very dry or dehydrated skin. It is important to note that if your skin is dehydrated applying an occlusive oil is not actually adding moisture back into your skin (unless you are applying them correctly)
"Humectants" work by PULLING water (moisture) TO the surface of the skin FROM somewhere, either the humidity in the air or from the cells underlying the epidermis. Water itself is NOT considered an humectant but it does function as one when using facial oils correctly ....
THE ROLE OF H20: DEWY SOFT OR GREASY? IT'S ALL ABOUT THIS ONE VITAL STEP!
As noted above, water is not considered a humectant but we can look at it as functioning as one when facial oils are applied to warm, damp or wet skin. Once we have the right blend of oils with the right balance of emollient plus nourishing (occlusive) properties we are gunning for, applying it correctly is vital to helping our skin cope with environmental stressors. In fact proper application of your facial oils might be the most important step! Always apply facial oils to WARM DAMP or WET SKIN and allow it all to soak in - do not pat dry. This technique traps that moisture (water) IN helping skin stay higher in moisture for a longer period of time. The more moisture on your skin, the more moisture is available to trap there so wetter is better, especially if you skin is quite dry or you live in a very dry climate.
Always apply FACIAL treatment oils to warm damp or wet skin and let it air dry.
Many people find, myself included, that applying oils to dry skin does not help us because the oils for a layer on top of the skin and just sit there, leaving me feeling greasy. But when I apply oils to wet skin, once my skin has dried I feel so dewy and soft! Which is what I really love the most about using OCM + FACIAL OILS!
STILL FEELING DRY AFTER STARTING OCM + FACIAL OILS? YOU MIGHT AN EXTRA BOOST!
If you find that your skin is still dry after adopting OCM + Facial Oils, there are a couple of things to try.
First, try applying the oils to very wet skin. The more water is there to trap, the more moisture is retained.
Next, you might very well need more "humectant". Instead of returning to constant use of moisturizers creams and lotions, try applying hyaluronic acid serum under your oil. It's a super strong humectant that binds to 4000x it's weight in moisture and can help it stick around so it can sustain a healthy lipid barrier.
"The skin: an indispensable barrier". Proksch E, Brandner JM, Jensen JM (2008).
The Ageing Skin – Structure. Structural Changes Associated with Aging Skin. Dr. Diana Howard
Surface Structure and Properties of Plant Seed Oil Bodies Jason T. C. Tzen, Anthony H. C. Huang Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California.