Natural Oils for the Skin
With all of the oil-free products on the market, you’d think that oils were bad for your skin! Of course, no one wants oily skin, but certain oils are wonderful moisturizers, particularly for aging skin which tends to be drier since we produce less of the natural oils that keep our skin moist as we age. While you don’t want to go slathering any old cooking oil on your skin, there are some wonderful oils that have been used for centuries to heal and protect the skin. Some of the best are jojoba oil, argan oil, sesame oil and coconut oil. These oils have been prized for their restorative properties by indigenous peoples for generations and make a wonderful addition to any skin care routine, particularly for dry and aging skin.
Sesame oil, derived from the pressing of the sesame seed, is rich in a variety of fatty acids including linoleic, palmitic, stearic and oleic acids which act as emollients on the skin, providing moisture and keeping the skin smooth and soft. Sesame oil has been respected for its restorative and healing properties for centuries, especially in Ayurvedic medicine, and has been found to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have even suggested that it can inhibit the growth of melanoma, a common form of skin cancer.
Jojoba oil closely resembles sebum, the natural oil that our skin produces to stay moisturized and protected, meaning that it is very readily absorbed into the skin. Jojoba oil is not only a wonderful moisturizer, but it also offers antimicrobial properties and creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, keeping moisture in and contaminants from the environment out.
Argan oil has been used by indigenous Northern Africans, particularly in Morocco where the Argan trees grow, for centuries for hair and skin care. It is a luxurious oil that is harvested from the nut found within the fruit of the Argan tree. It is a great source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids and it has been shown not only to nourish the skin but also to aid in healing scars, acne, eczema, psoriasis, as well as reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It restores the skin’s lipid layer without clogging pores, making it a perfect moisturizer.
One of the best oils for both cooking as well as skin care is coconut oil. Coconut oil got a bad rap because it is high in fat, however, further research has revealed that coconut oil is actually rich in the good fats, medium chain fatty acids, and also offers a variety of other health benefits when used internally as well as externally. It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties that are attributed to the presence of lauric, capric and caprylic acids that make it wonderful for treating skin disorders such as dermatitis and other skin infections. It is also high in antioxidants so it nourishes and fights free radicals while it moisturizes.
Don’t jump to quickly on the oil-free wagon as not all oils are bad, in fact, some are downright wonderful and should be a part of any healthy skin care routine. By looking for these restorative oils in your all natural skin care products you can keep your skin naturally moisturized and looking its best!