Saturday, July 25, 2009

Natural Skin Care



Last April I began an experimental skin care regimen from which I really got results! Since my teenage years I have struggled with skin blemishes - acne and congested pores. I fully expected to just grow out of it, but it persisted into adulthood. While browsing the internet one day I ran across what is called the Oil Cleansing Method. It sounded easy enough, so I put it in to action! After one month of faithful practice, I got noticeable results. Now I want to share with you all about it along with other natural hygiene practices.


First things first:

Eye Makeup Removal

Grapeseed oil is my solution for eye makeup removal. First, I tried Olive oil which stung my eyes. Next, I tried Jojoba oil which didn't sting but left a film over my eyes (no fun!). Grapeseed oil, however, is light, produced no stinging, and is great for the skin! Perfect!

The Oil Cleansing Method

The basic idea behind this method is that oil dissolves oil. Typically, soap is used to cleanse the skin, but soap not only takes out the dirt and grime, it also strips away the natural oils which are needed to keep the skin moist and supple. This dried-out effect brought on by soap necessitates the use of moisturizers. Most moisturizing products are loaded with all kinds of harmful chemicals (big problem!). Fortunately, there are natural products available with less perplexing lists of ingredients. I exhort you to begin reading the labels on all packaged products you purchase (for both internal and external consumption). The shorter and more comprehensible the list of ingredients, the better! Don't be fooled by package labels that say "All Natural" or "Organic". Verify the ingredients yourself.

In the oil cleansing method, Castor oil is used to draw out impurities from the skin without leaving the skin stripped and dried out. Castor oil is antibacterial and antifungal and is used in many more ways to achieve healing than will be covered here. Using cold-pressed castor oil, I perform the following steps each night:

  1. I remove my eye makeup.
  2. I pour some castor oil into my palm and use my finger tips to rub it into my skin. It is okay to apply the oil right on top of makeup without washing first. I rub in circular motions all over for several minutes.
  3. I soak a wash cloth with hot water and press it to my face. What I really want to accomplish here is a steam effect. I want the pores to open and the castor oil to penetrate and latch on to impurities. Sometimes, if the water on the cloth is too hot, I hold it close to my face. When I breathe out of my mouth onto the wash cloth, I can feel hot steam rise to my face. It is really quite effective. I will hold the cloth to my face until it cools to room temperature. Once cool, I will resoak the cloth with hot water and do the steaming procedure again. Please be careful not to hurt your skin with scalding hot water. You could also accomplish this steam using a pot of boiling water and a towel to drape over your head. Feel free to pursue this method, but chances are you are more likely to stick with a quicker, simpler method.
  4. After the second steam, I use the cloth to wipe the oil from my face. 
  5. Then... I start all over! I use a second dose of oil and rub it into my pores followed by two steams and wipe off.

Toner

Once I am done with the oil cleansing, I use a cotton ball to apply my homemade toner. In a glass bottle I have combined the following:
  • 1/2 cup of strongly brewed tea: I used green and chamomile teas (6 tea bags total), but you can use other things such as Burdock, Yellow Dock, and Sarsparilla which are good detoxifying herbs. I may experiment with those on my next batch of toner. 
  • 1/4 cup of raw, apple cider vinegar: let the tea cool before combining.
  • Several drops of Tea Tree oil: Tea Tree is an excellent antibacterial treatment for blemishes.
You may at first be put off by the smell of vinegar, but don't worry, the scent disappears quickly enough.

Anti-Aging

My final step is to apply my homemade anti-aging formula. In a 2 ounce amber dropper bottle, I combine jojoba oil and the following essential oils in the approximate amounts:
  • 10 drops of Frankincense
  • 7 drops of Myrrh
  • 7 drops of Sandalwood
  • 5 drops of Rosewood
  • 1 drop of Geranium
  • 5 drops of Lavender (I may or may not add this, but it is a wonderful, universal skin remedy)
To apply, I drop some of the formula on clean fingertips (important!) and rub around my eyes and lightly pat all over my face. It smells wonderful. Jojoba oil is a nice, light oil that penetrates the skin easily and takes all the wonderful essential oils with it. Jojoba oil will not clog pores. Do not be afraid to use it even if you have very oily skin. In fact, your skin's oil production may become quite balanced after using jojoba oil consistently.

A second skin formula that I always have mixed in a dropper is jojoba and Tea Tree (approximately 15% solution) that I use on particularly blemished days. Tea Tree oil works just as effectively on acne as Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid and is non-toxic!

Cleansing Tea

In addition to the topical skin routine, I recommend drinking tea made with herbs which are known for cleansing the liver and thus improving skin condition. These herbs include Burdock root, Yellow Dock, Sarsaparilla, and Dandelion root. Here is a formula for a cleansing tea:
  • 1 part Burdock root
  • 1 part Dandelion root
  • 1 part Yellow Dock
  • 1 part Sarsaparilla
  • 1/2 part Licorice root
Add for flavor:
  • Cardamon seeds
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Clove buds
  • Ginger root
Put 3 tablespoons of the mixed herbs in 20 ounces of water and soak overnight. In the morning bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out the herbs and drink. Save the strained herbs and add 1 tablespoon of new herbs to make another batch the following day. Continue to reuse the herbs 3 times before discarding.

Often, poor skin condition is an indication of a toxic liver and/or poor elimination channels. If the body is having difficulty eliminating via primary means, it will eliminate through the skin.

Dry Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing is the use of a stiff, natural-bristle bath brush which you can find sold in health and beauty supply stores. The technique is accomplished by briskly brushing in long, sweeping strokes across the skin toward the heart. Brush the entire body at least twice over and follow with a warm shower to rinse. The brush should be kept in a dry place as exposure to water will change the stiffness and effectiveness of the bristles.

Dry skin brushing removes dead skin layers, stimulates circulation, assists the lymphatic system, helps remove cellulite, and results in overall softer skin. Additionally, the dry skin brushing technique can assist us in restoring proper levels of vitamin D. It is well known that skin makes Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. However, it is not so well known that Vitamin D is actually produced by the interaction of sunlight with the natural oils produced by the skin. If we wash those natural oils away with soaps and detergents, we still end up Vitamin D deficient even with sufficient exposure to the sunshine. The dry skin brushing technique is effective enough to cleanse the skin and leave the natural oils behind.

Diet

In addition to this skin routine, I have become vegetarian/vegan over the last few months as well as increased my intake of raw foods. I didn't become vegetarian over night, rather slowly moved away from consuming meat and most animal products altogether. I'm sure this factor also played a role in my improved skin condition as eating lower on the food chain introduces fewer toxins into the body which must find their way out.

Sources:
Body Electronics by Thomas C. Chavez
http://www.acne.org/messageboard/OIL-CLEANSING-METHOD-Hi-t141871.html

1 comment:

Brett said...

Keep the Both Thumbs Up!
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