Oil to the palm

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In my few times around the sun, I have tried just about any product range PROMISING to make my skin smoother, clearer, plumper and prettier; partly the occupational hazard of a model, partly always being on the lookout for a quick fix. I also used to have cystic hormonal acne all through my twenties, so I did what any lesser informed, desperate person might have done: I took a nine-month course of roaccutane, or accutane, or isotretinoin. This medication serves a high concentration of vitamin A, whereby the sebum secreted by oil glands is reduced and skin turnover is accelerated. Sounds like a dream, but this drug has a long list of side effects, and can have serious effects on the liver and the body as a whole. In hindsight I shudder at the impact and side effects the roaccutane had on me, but I would lie if I said I was sad to see them cysts shoo'd off my face. I did clear the remains of the medication out with the help of a naturopath, which took a good two years. My hormones persisted in their determination to show up on their imbalances though - I developed hyper-pigmentation, and so another condition had me throwing money and chemicals at the problem. Until quite recently (and with the remainder of the Phloretin CF antioxidant serum in my routine) I have used SkinCeuticals and have been very happy with it. Since my pregnancy I have stripped back on the chemical input and have started to experiment more with oils, an act which at first felt counter-intuitive given my unbalanced skin history. Not only did I become determined to fight these skin issues at their core - hormonal imbalance - through nutrition and lifestyle changes, I have invested time into research and discussion with some professionals on this subject. there is a plethora of information on the internet regarding the use of oil on the body, so I have put together my comprehension on the subject. 

As an entry point:

  • Plant oils can be a rich source of antioxidants and emollients to the skin, so if you tend towards seasonal dryness or dehydration or your skin is dull and imbalanced, get involved. scrap that, you don't need a coin phrase, oil is actually ideal for all skin types, as it locks in hydration deep into the tissue, and that oily or imbalanced skin reacts badly to oil is a myth. It's about finding the right plant oil.
  • Single origin oils - plant based - are best, although mineral oil has gotten a worse wrap than it deserves. As an FYI: Mineral oil is also in origin 'natural' - compressed and composted roots and soil. Let's stick with jojoba (which is closest in composition to the skin's natural sebum), almond, sesame, olive, coconut, baobab, melon seed, primrose - you catch my drift. 
  • Pure essential oils are a no-go for the skin and should never be directly applied, although this also has some exceptions (like taking tea tree or lavender to a blemish with an earbud). 
  • Hair oil is not my jam, it has never worked for me and so I can not write on this. Also, argan oil doesn't impress me as I have found it too heavy in application and too hyped in its reputation, but each to their own.

In application:

  • Cleaning: Our bodies require alkalinity from the inside, and the skin, in turn, requires acidity to thrive. The acid mantle of our skin cells is vital to preserving hydration, elasticity and lustre.  As a rule of thumb, any cleanser that is foamy strips the skin of oil and acidity, therefore disturbing its PH level. You've got a recipe for imbalanced and dehydrated skin if you foam cleanse and then apply oil-free moisturiser to control breakouts, as this perpetuates the problem. Stay clear of any product which promises alkalinity of the skin, even if you tend towards oily skin. oil pre-cleansers or Oil to milk cleansers (such as the one I use by the Skin Creamery) bind excess sebum and dirt trapped inside cells and rinse them without disturbing the acid mantle. With regular use you are guaranteed a more balanced, blemish clear skin (unless you have hormonal cystic acne - this needs to primarily be addressed through nutrition and lifestyle).
  • Toning: A toner is important as this helps to restore the skin's PH level post-cleansing, as well as removing excess product and dirt. Furthermore, the toner prepares the cells for optimal absorption of what is to follow. You may choose a toner which contains AHA fruit acids, this will add a slight exfoliating factor to your routine without being too invasive, but if you're wanting to stay on the calming and balancing side of the spectrum, choose rosewater or witch-hazel water. Either of these will do well in regulating the skin's acidity levels. 
  • Skincare: If you are invested into the subject of anti-ageing, you'll be no stranger to the benefits of hyaluronic acid, retinol and peptides, which plain oils won't provide. Brands such as Kahina Giving BeautySKOON.Skin, African botanics, and tata Harper have developed organic, chemical free anti-ageing alternatives that are legit, and very powerful. I massage my face morning and night with a combination of jojoba, melon seed and jojoba. Summer hack: I spray thermal water onto my face after cleansing and toning, and then massage in three drops of my face oil for a lightened version. 
  • Body: I religiously body brush before I shower to get the lymphatic system moving in the morning. I alternate between Dr Hauschka Rose Body Oil and Blackthorn toning body oil depending on my mood. Always apply body oil straight out of the shower without drying off first. Beware of dry oils as these have been been chemically modified. Coconut oil is amazing as a whole body treatment (hair included) and is ideal for oil pulling to clean bacteria out the mouth.