Buying Guide for Natural Skin Care - Specific Concerns
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Start with gentle cleansers that do not contain soap. Soap is generally abrasive and depletes skin’s natural oils, forcing your already sensitive skin to begin reacting. Opt for cleansing milks or oil cleansing methods. Look for gentle ingredients like floral waters or hydrosols.
When it comes to moisturizers, Calendula oil is a gentle anti-inflammatory oil that keeps skin hydrated and heals any hint of irritation. Sunflower oil is another gently nourishing but anti-inflammatory oil due to its high concentration of Omega-6 (Linoleic) fatty acids and vitamin E. Other gentle nourishing oils include Jojoba, Macadamia nut and Kuikui nut oils. Almond, Olive and Avocado oils are very nourishing but avoid them if you have oily, shiny skin or the tendency to break out as they can block pores. Cocoa butter and virgin Coconut oil are also examples of highly nourishing but rich ingredients. Evening Primrose oil has been known to irritate skin and cause breakouts in some cases. Some essential oils that work great for sensitive skin are Lavender, Jasmine, Neroli, Rose, Sweet Orange and Chamomile.
For a cleanser, consider non-drying cleansers that gently remove dirt without stripping natural oils, irritating skin or leave skin too dry.
For a moisturizer, look for ingredients that calm skin, exfoliate and hydrate without clog pores. So avoid very rich oils like Avocado, Almond, Olive or virgin Coconut oil. It sounds counter-intuitive to use oils when you have acne, but a healthy balance of oils is needed to keep skin from becoming parched. Skin that is stripped of oils will attempt to restore balance by producing more sebum and further exacerbate your condition. Fractionated coconut oil is very light and non-comodogenic. Jojoba oil is actually a wax with the same consistency of skin’s sebum and restores balance. With acne, you’ll want to help your skin exfoliate the outer layers of skin to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. Doctors often prescribe concentrated Retin A (vitamin A) as a topical application to treat acne. Your natural counterpart is Rosehip seed oil. With a high concentration of vitamin A, rosehip seed oil helps exfoliate skin and reduce the appearance of scars. Other gentle oils for acne prone skin are Argan and Calendula which sooth irritated skin. Kuikui nut oil is a great addition to protect outer layers of skin.
Essential oils are great for skin with acne. They are naturally anti-bacterial so they will work to kill bacteria that causes skin to break out. Rose, lavender and chamomile oil sooth inflammation and calm skin. Lemon and orange are naturally astringent and brighten scars. Cedarwood and Sandalwood are also great for absorbing excess sebum. Ylang ylang balances sebum production. Tea-tree kills bacteria and lemongrass helps remove scars. Licorice root brightens skin.
Instead of protecting the body from infection as it normally does, the immune system in someone with psoriasis malfunctions, promoting inflammation and excessive skin cell production. This leaves thick layers of patchy, irritated skin that makes you itch.To alleviate this condition, you need to help manage your body's immune system responses, normalize skin cell production and hydrate with anti-inflammatory ingredients that calm and repair skin. Calendula oil and Aloe are known to be wonderful for calming inflamed, sensitive skin. Tamanu oil originates in the pacific islands and has been known to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic and antibiotic properties to treat symptoms of Psoriasis.
Essential oils heal and keep skin clean without bacteria. Look for essential oils of Chamomile, Clove or Vanilla to soothe the itch. Stress is often attributed to aggravating Psoriasis. Lavender is a calming anti-inflammatory essential oil that repairs damaged skin and helps decrease sympathetic nervous system activity that triggers excessive skin growth. Geranium balances hormones and Bergamot heals wounds. Avoid ingredients that trigger more cell proliferation or thicken your epidermis. Vitamin A is known to do that, so best to avoid ingredients with large quantities of Vitamin A (eg. Rosehip Seed oil, Apricot kernel oil, Avocado oil).
To alleviate symptoms of eczema naturally, you need to seek ingredients that moisturize and calm irritated skin as well as repair damage. Coconut, Perilla seed and Almond oils are intensely nourishing. Jojoba oil is close to skin’s natural sebum and is balancing. It moisturizes and is easily absorbed. Calendula oil is extremely anti-inflammatory and calming for irritated skin. Sea buckthorn oil repairs skin tissue. Carrot oil (made by mascerating carrot in vegetable oil) soothes itchy skin. Kuikui nut oil protects repaired skin. Witch Hazel is an astringent that with anti-inflammatory properties and makes a wonderful addition to your toner. Tamanu oil is a rare and expensive but extremely healing oil that heals broken skin, nourishes and protects from further eruptions. Other oils that are great include Sesame oil, Peach kernel oil, Walnut oil and Rosehip seed oils.
Besides the soothing oils mentioned above, essential oils (concentrated, potent plant compounds) can also help reduce eczema. Lavender essential oil is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and calming and particularly good for broken, irritated skin. Cedarwood essential oil is known to treat the redness and inflammation caused by seborrheic eczema. Helichrysum (also called Immortelle) is alleviates itchiness and promotes skin renewal. It is an expensive oil because it takes over 1 ton of flowers to get 0.85 kg of essential oil. Geranium and Frankincense are anti-inflammatory oils that also help regenerate and balance. Last but not least, Chamomile is anti-inflammatory that soothes dry, scaly patches.
Now for the after sun treatment. Post sun exposure, you need ingredients that calm and soothe skin - anti-inflammatory compounds - followed by ingredients that penetrate quickly and repair underlying layers of skin. Nothing soothes and calms irritated sunburned skin like Aloe. Sea buckthorn berry oil has copious amounts of anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin E to intensely nourish, repair and regenerate skin. Calendula oil is a gentle anti-inflammatory oil that soothes irritated skin and itching. Another great oil to use after sun exposure is Rosehip seed oil is rich in vitamin A and linoleic acids (an anti-inflammatory fatty acid) to calm skin and promote exfoliation of dead skin cells. Almond, Coconut and Avocado oils are nourishing for sun exposed skin. Tamanu oil is a great healing oil to heal damaged skin and treat redness. Honey is a humectant that holds moisture close to skin. Other great oils after sun exposure include Jojoba, Pumpkin seed and Kuikui nut oils.
For essential oils, Cocoa absolute (chocolate) tones and promotes softer skin. Essential oils of Lavender, Chamomille and Rose are anti-inflammatory while promoting swift cellular regeneration. Frankinsence is another great essential oil that helps regenerate skin tissue.