Woman’s Science Project… skin care with oils!
Please note my most amazing readers… when it comes to explaining the oils further on down, I have basically copied the information from various sites. Where I have copied the info, links can be found at the beginning of the paragraph. Where I felt that further information might be needed, I linked the source.
Pictures are all from Wikipedia.
But before you carry on reading about some of the various oils… hopefully this answers some of the questions some of you have been asking.
So let’s start off with…..
Face: I have oily skin, with the tops of my cheek bones the only part of my face that are dry all the time. I have pretty large pores but do not suffer anymore from black heads or dirt build up causing a black or brown looking pores. I suffer from acne along my jaw line and neck usually around my period.
Damn you hormones!
In the morning I usually wash my face with just a mild facial soap; either something from the Burt’s Bees line or a homemade scrub (coffee grinds, coconut milk, honey (or lemon), cinnamon, cocoa) that I let dry on my face then wash it off in the shower. In the shower I have a silver bowl I fill with near boiling temperature water, and put my clean face over that opening my pores. Then massage Sensuous Beauty’s Neroli and Sandalwood Facial Moisturiser without drying my face or use the oil cleaning method to clean and moisturise my face.In the evening I wash my face again and use either the Neroli and Sandalwood moisturiser, or cold pressed virgin olive oil mixed with a little cold pressed castor oil and massage it in.
About four hours after I have washed my face in the morning, I take cool water, splash it over my face and use a hanky or tissue to pat my face dry. Because usually I have quite the shiny face. Sometimes when I can, I drop a few drops of lemon juice into the water to help tone and remove the excess oil.
I also try to change my pillow cases daily if not every second day because of dust, pollutants, body oil and sweating while sleeping.
Body: I use a wash cloth/loofa with just water practically daily. Every couple of days, I will use a coffee grind, cocoa, coconut and honey scrub (or whatever scrub I make for my face only a little more for my body), or a homemade sugar scrub (brown or white sugar with a cold pressed oil usually olive oil with a drop or two of a various essential oil).
If I had a bath tub, I would be taking coconut milk baths, but since that is not an option for me, I have a basin filled with warm water and coconut milk. Soak a towel in it and use coconut milk compresses, or just rest my hands in the basin.
This might change come winter time, but, I have not needed to apply any lotions to my skin as honey and oils make my skin feel amazing. I use various organic oils (coconut oil or a Apricot kernel oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil bottled oil), raw honey and coconut milk massage lotion. If my skin gets a little on the dry side in the winter, I plan on using my future coconut oil based lube as my lotion.
Feet/hands: once a week I’ll pamper my feet and hands with soaking them in cool or hot water with about a cup or two of vinegar. Then, I massage castor oil into my hands and feet, cover with cotton socks and jump into bed. I hardly ever need to use a lotion for dry hands or dry feet. Although, this might change come winter.
Hair: I did the no ‘poo- or the no shampoo and conditioner for four full weeks and it was not for me. I have tried various organic and semi-organic shampoo and conditioners, but the only things that I find that work, is when I just heavily dilute my shampoo and pretty much half water and half conditioner. I use a German brand of shampoo and conditioner but I use whatever is closest to my hand. I use a leave in conditioner/oil: I either use Moroccanoil or cold pressed coconut oil from Nutiva. Once in a while I will use a lemon or a apple cider vinegar rinse to add extra shine and softness.
Lube: I only use coconut oil based lube. The one I am currently using is called Love Balm; which helps to prevent irritations, prevent and cure infections and more.
Bedding: Now I don’t know if you have figured it out yet, but I love having clean bedding. When I wash my sheets, I drop a few drops of lavender or some other type of pure essential oil into the spin cycle rather than putting any type of fabric softener in. Plus… according to some people, this is probably one of the reasons I sleep so restfully through the night. (now if you have problems with mosquitoes? Try a few drops of lavender and geranium. I usually put in about ten drops of each for queen sized bedding.) While lavender promotes a calming feeling, try out cedar wood oil to encourage dreaming.
Because I wash my sheets so frequently, I use less laundry soap, and put my bedding through two full wash cycles, only adding detergent to the first cycle, and the essential oils to the last rise cycle. I use no fabric softener, and all my laundry is air dried.
If you decide to start the oil cleaning method, or start incorporating essential oils, or begin using oils to moisturise, you most likely will have a break-out on your face.
It takes up to a month or more to get your body used to the change from stripping your skin and needing to produce less of it’s own oils. Plus not to mention, all the crap that is is your skin coming to the surface.
Essential oils usually come in a brown or blue glass bottles, and don’t forget to store them in a location that is away from heat and direct sunlight.
Now onto the oils! Please note I only use pure essential oils, organic products, cold pressed where cold pressing is needed.
Amber: Amber is a semi solid mass of tree resins and gums native to India with most of the raw material coming from the resinous tree Liquidamber orientalis.
It is not harvested with that sensual aroma all on its own, but rather it undergoes a slight manufacturing process. To get the finished product commonly referred to as Amber oil it is usually mixed in a base of beeswax and is combined with other essential oils and carriers. True amber resins should not contain artificial ingredients, petroleum by-products, or have any mineral base. Studies have shown that pure Amber oil has a psychoactive effect shown through biofeedback as a relaxant for brain waves, (alpha, beta, and theta) and it has been shown to “enhance” heart energy and increase sensual pleasure.
Amber is a highly sought-after fragrance, with its subtle, euphoric, warm and exotic aroma. Contrary to popular belief, there is no true ‘Amber essential oil’ – rather, Amber oil is an extract of one or more tree resins, generally found in a solid or semi-solid form. There is no one tree that produces amber resin, so there is a great variety of products sold as ‘Amber Oil’ that vary greatly in aroma and quality. Amber is very earthy, without a hint of harshness that may sometimes accompany tree-oils.
(Woman: Amber essential oil is used in various perfumes as a base note and is long lasting. Mixed fantastically well with other scents especially rose or jasmine. It is the base note of the majority of my new body sprays.)
Almond Oil: Studies have indicated that using sweet almond oil for acne is effective. Users often prefer almond to other oils because it is not greasy, it has a pleasant fragrance, and it works well in many cases. As with any remedy, whether homeopathic, prescription, or over-the-counter, results may vary from person to person. With its high levels of fatty acids, almond oil has been used to treat skin problems, such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis, since the 1500s, making it one of the most-used oils for acne treatment.
Some may wonder why using almond oil for acne actually works. In general, some people produce too much of a fatty substance called sebum from their sebaceous glands, which causes their facial pores to become clogged. Eventually, the clogged pores will lead to a mild infection, creating acne. Almond oil is made up of fatty acids that dissolve substances such as sebum. As a result, using the oil works to clean the pores and repair the damage to the skin.
(Woman: I have just recently started using almond oil and found it a little too oily for me right now, but my skin does look a little more glowing as in oilier, not sure if it is the almond oil or the carrot oil that is doing it though)
Carrot Oil: is steam distilled from the seeds of Wild Carrot – aka Queen Anne’s Lace – considered by some to be a ‘common roadside weed’! The oil has a wonderful, unique woody/ herbaceous and mildly sweet aroma, and a light, fluid consistency. This middle note combines well with frankincense, geranium, citrusand spice oils. This is a particularly nice, complex carrot seed oil that would lend itself well to natural perfumery.
Carrot seed is a premier skin healing oil, regularly included in blends for dry and mature skin. The oil’s high carotol content gives it its skin-rejuvenative properties. It can be added to nearly any skin care blend to enhance its effectiveness. Further, carrot seed oil is said to balance both dry and oily complexions. Small amounts would go nicely in almost any skin care blend, and could be used alone in a neutral base cream.
Carrot seed is also said to rejuvenate the energy of the solar plexus, and to be relieving of fatigue. It is also regularly indicated as a digestive tonic.
Castor Oil: Castor oil contains triglyceride fatty acids that are well-known for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. The topical application of castor oil is very effective in curing skin infections. People suffering from skin inflammation, itching and skin irritation, are often advised to use castor oil to ease the discomfort. Keratene ( benign skin growth) can also be treated by applying Castor oil over the affected part.
Castor oil can also be helpful in treating acne. It can control acne and even clear up the skin. Topical application of this oil can improve the skin’s appearance. Castor oil is an active ingredient of anti-acne soap bars that help moisturize and purify the skin. The oil has the ability to heal skin quickly. Massaging with Castor oil can eliminate rashes, blemishes and acne.
The antibacterial activity of castor oil comes from ricinoleic acid, an important compound present in this viscous liquid. Ricinoleic acid is categorized as a omega 9 fatty acid that is found to be lethal weapon against viruses and bacteria. It is extremely effective when it comes to restricting growth of harmful microbes. Hence, topical application of castor oil can work wonders to get rid of acne.
Castor oil when applied regularly, can help reduce signs of aging, reduce liver spots, reduce scaring, and lighten skin discolourations.
(Woman: Here is a fabulous and amazing site about all sorts of various castor oil uses for making your eye lashes longer and hair repair as well. I use castor oil for joint aches, hand and feet massages to increase circulation, as a compress for various aches and pains. It is an amazing oil! I’ve heard many people take it as a natural laxative, but I’ve never conducted any research into its effectiveness in this manner.)
Coconut Oil/Milk: Coconut oil has long been used the world over for a variety of skin-healing applications. It has an incredible balance of natural saturated fatty acids not found in other oils. Encourages healthy skin for nearly every skin condition. Is antibacterial and antiviral, and is thought to stimulate hair growth. We are using it as a component of many of our skin care formulas. Has a very light coconut aroma. Because it is solid at room temperature, we recommend blending with other oils in your formulas. A truly excellent, therapeutic addition to many aromatherapy recipes.
This is one of my favourite sites for the various ways to use coconut oil.
Q. You had a reader who wanted to know what to do for vaginal dryness. I’d like to respond.
From my experience, coconut oil is best. It is inexpensive and widely available at health food stores. It comes in a glass jar. Even though it is a bit solid in the jar, when it is allowed to warm to room temperature it easily dissolves into the skin. It is harmless to the tender tissues of the vagina and has antiviral and antibacterial properties that are very helpful.
There are many ways that coconut milk can make your skin glow. Coconut is full of antioxidants, and is also thought to be possibly antibacterial in nature. Those with acne especially can benefit from these possible antibacterial properties. Those with dry skin greatly benefit from its moisturizing effects. Not to mention, coconut milk used as a conditioner can help prevent grey hair, massaged into skin it can help to prevent signs of aging and repair sun damages and other various skin ailments. Ingested… there are so many ways that drinking coconut milk can help your body (Woman: that link has some AMAZING recipes for such yummy food too and why coconut milk is good for you!! For me, I love putting coconut milk in my coffee for a nutty-sweet treat)
Honey is a natural antiseptic and many people use it as mask to help soothe and heal their skin. However, if you are allergic to bees, it’s probably not a good idea to use this mask.
Honey is superb for healing burns and small cuts. It’s also a humectant, which means it helps keep your skin moisturized. Because of all of these amazing qualities, honey is thought to treat acne as well. I mean, it’s antibacterial, it helps with wound healing, and it even keeps your skin hydrated. What more could you ask for?
But of course, there is always a catch.
Honey will help clear your skin if your acne is from bacterial problems, but if your acne is from hormones, irritation, or any of the other numerous causes of acne, then honey probably won’t do much at all. It could help soothe existing breakouts and heal irritated skin, which could help improve your complexion, but it won’t make acne disappear and never come back.
(Woman: I have finally convinced my sister to use a honey mask to treat her eczema with huge success. And now another sister is on the honey joy for skin… but she also uses honey and lemon or honey and fresh ginger as an energy drink. I love honey, green tea, ginger as a tonic in the winter time as soon as I have any sort of chest issues. I have read many accounts of using honey and cinnamon to treat deep rooted acne, I’ve used it a couple times, but I find my skin looks like I got sun burn from the cinnamon)
Lavender Essential Oil: The overall action of Lavender oil is both calming and regenerating. It’s a profound effect, as our bodies need to be relieved of stress in order to heal, and lead healthy lives in general. The sweet smell alone bestows calm on folks of all ages; from the little ones all wound up when it’s time for bed, to the wizened generation whom may be recovering from illness or loss. It has done the same for many creatures in university laboratory studies. And this effect may be the most simple to produce, too. For personal use, you only need to inhale deeply from a bottle, or dab a couple drops on your wrists to get a little whiff of the scent now and then. There are several styles of essential oil diffusers available which release aroma into the air. Almost every one will work for stress reduction; it just takes a hint of Lavender in the air to have its effect – the scent needn’t be so strong that those not expecting become distracted by the aroma.
Associated with its calming effect is Lavender’s ability to improve sleep. One headline proclaimed ‘Lavender Beats Valium’ in sleep studies. If you or your children have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, Lavender can be a profoundly effective home remedy. For a really simple method, sprinkle just a drop or two (really just a little as too much can actually be a stimulant for some folks) on the bed sheet, on-top-of, or under the pillow before bed. (Woman: They say the more restful your sleep, the better your skin is)
Lavender essential oil is safe to ingest in small, therapeutic amounts. Recent research involved participants ingesting 80 milligrams of the essential oil per day for 10 weeks. The results were very positive, with a notable lowering of anxiety, improvment of sleep, and an overall increase in perceived well-being.
The health benefits of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. It heals wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns rapidly as it aids in the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is added to chamomile to treat eczema.
For skin problems like acne, eczema, dermatitis, and insect bites, lavender can be your best friend. This oil is both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be applied neat on acne or bug bites. For larger areas, mix one drop of lavender with a small pea-sized amount of lotion, and then apply to affected area.
The oil is also used to repel mosquitoes and moths. You will find many mosquito repellents containing lavender oil as one of the ingredients. (Woman: I mix lavender oil with geranium oil, and mix it with some water in a spray bottle and spray down my house. Not only does it clean the air, and freshen carpet, curtains and bedding, but it keeps mosquitoes away too)
Neroli essential oil: is a very precious oil produced from blossoms of the Bitter Orange tree. These blossoms are small, white and very fragrant. Our Neroli Oil is steam distilled, not solvent extracted. The high cost is a result of requiring 1 ton of orange blossoms to produce 1 quart of oil. Neroli is named after Anna Maria de La Tremoille, Princess of Nerola (we’re not making this up!) who first introduced the fragrance to Italy.
The essential oil is both a sedative and overall tonic to the nervous system, and can be beneficial for most stress-related disorders of an emotional origin. The oil has been said to treat heart palpitations, relieve insomnia and reduce nervousness. Neroli’s calming effect can be tried by deeply inhaling the aroma, rubbing a few drops on the solar plexus, diluting in Jojoba oil and wearing as a natural perfume, or diffusing in small amounts. Neroli is considered one of the most important aromatics for aromatherapy treatment for anxiety, and depression resulting from stress and anxiety.
Neroli is one of the premier oils for mature women’s skin care (along with Rose Otto and Clary Sage). The relaxing properties are imparted on a cellular level, and the oil is especially beneficial for sensitive skin. Salvatore Battaglia notes in The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy: “The oil is reputed to have a rejuvenating effect on the skin, as it has an ability to stimulate the growth of new and healthy cells”.
Neroli essential oil has been noted as a tonic for the female reproductive system, for relief of menstrual cramps – add to a bath or dilute to 10% in Apricot Kernel Oil and massage into the abdomen.
The anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-spasmodic properties of Neroli oil make it possibly supportive for intestinal disorders. Again, use in a bath or dilute and massage into the abdomen. Abdominal massage with Neroli may be most effective when the stomach trouble is the result of stress.
The aroma of Neroli has been reported to successfully treat nervous depression and shock; it is relaxing to the body and spirit, and may bring relief in seemingly hopeless situations. The essential 0il used in a diffuser or burner can enhance the ambiance of a room, bringing an air of tranquility and relaxation.
Sandalwood essential oil: Is steam distilled from a tree native to the East Indies, and found growing wild throughout the South Pacific. The Australian variety has a woody, balsamic, deep and complex aroma.
This classic Aussy Sandalwood is a soft yellow and viscous fluid, with excellent tenacity (the aroma naturally lasts a long time). Sandalwood is known for its superior fixative properties, used in both therapeutic blending and natural perfumery. Australian sandalwood has been the subject of heated debate in terms of ‘the ultimate sandalwood essential oil’ ~ we think this one may have you agree that Australian Sandalwood is a beutiful, unique and therapeutic essential oil in a class of it’s own.
The long history of Sandalwood in the cultural and spiritual life of Asia cannot be overstated. The wood was carved into furniture, temples, and religious icons; it is burned as an incense in Buddhist and Hindu temples, and retains an important place in Tibetan and traditional Chinese medicines. The oil is high in sesquiterpenes, a class of compound which has been studied in Europe for its stimulating of the pineal gland and the limbic region of the brain – the center of our emotions.
Sandalwood has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, traditionally as a skin tonic, and for yogic meditative practice. It may be beneficial for both acne and dry skin; it has also been used to treat chronic bronchitis. (And when mixed with a little almond oil, dabbed onto the Eczema problem spot… say good-bye dry itchy and irritated skin)
The oil’s aroma is relaxing, uplifting and gently sedative, considered to have antidepressant effects. Sandalwood may also be helpful in cases where depression has lead to sexual difficulties, and can support the nervous system and circulation.
The Australian Sandalwood oil is a perfect choice where Indian sandalwood is called for ~ the only noticable difference being that a fine Indian variety may have a unique, sweet top note ~ lending itself to unique perfume blends. Indian sandalwood oil is becoming increasingly rare, and it may be best to allow the natural Sandalwood jungles of India to re-establish themselves. We think you may find this Australian variety well-suited to your aromatic and therapeutic needs.
Sandalwood is also a key ingredient to many anti-aging skin care products.
(Woman: many perfumes I’ve studied usually have a vanilla or a sandalwood base. For perfumes, I am a Dior-whore (usually Hypnotic for its complex scent, for me I usually explain that it is like sex in a bottle), but I love learning about the notes of perfumes, take a look at Sephora’s page for info. I might like vanilla as a base note when it comes to perfumes, but when it comes to body sprays, I do prefer sandalwood as it is more woodsy and earthy over sweet.)
This list may or may not grow as time goes on….
Now for those of you who have made it this far into the program, and who have followed Woman’s Science Experiment, there is a reason for my madness of trying to go a little more natural in my skin care regimen, is the hype over the whole sodium lauryl sulfates and all the various spellings of the detergent. It’s not proven to be linked to cancer, but while SLS may not be proven at the moment to cause cancer, it does have a tendency to react with other ingredients to form NDELA, a nitrosamine and potent carcinogen.
And with all the side effects of SLS from constipation, baldness, skin irritations, heart issues… and so many others. And well… in this day and age, and loosing two of my favourite uncles to two different types of brain cancer which their doctors said were a result of SLS in the past year, it has made me question things I’ve read, and things that have at the moment have been proven to be false.
And then in many products there is Propylene Glycol. And for some reason, in my mind, all I can think of is this image: I’m at some woman’s home, I’m like the Avon lady, and I’ve got a super soaker type back pack, and I pump it up and I spray down the car. It’s winter and there is ice. Then I take my super soaker thingie and spray down everyone after I’ve done the car.
Propylene Glycol is also known as “airplane de-icer” and is a frequent ingredient in cosmetics, lotions and potions. It has been proven to inhibit cell growth in humans, kidney and liver damage, bone damage and tons more. It is in beauty care products because it is a penetration enhancer and keeps products from melting in heat and/or freezing in the cold. It is known to alter the structure of the skin.
Most skin care products from the cheapest to the most expensive, spa like quality or the bargain quality body products (make-up, skin care, body care) contain all sorts of chemicals in them that may not pose a problem with occasional use, but long term use (think toothpaste here, shampoos, anti-perspirant, things in the foods we eat like sodium nitrates: found in pretty much all store bought meats)… what effects do they have on our bodies? What kind of effects are they having on the environment when we flush the toilet every day? Take a look at your deodorant which is probably an anti-perspirant. It probably contains aluminum in it which does cause brain diseases like alzheimer over long term use.
All this stuff goes down the drain. And then what happens?
These are the thoughts that run around my head, and why I try to avoid various chemicals.
Now hopefully, I have not been all judgey and preachy when writing this post as that is not my intent at all. My hope that this post would be informative in explaining why I made the change from various products to more natural products. And hopefully, I have answered all the questions I was asked!
If you have any questions, or need further references, please let me know!