With all our focus on the realization that true wellness and beauty come from within, I fear we at Full Circle Wellness Tools have overlooked the very necessary conversation about how to enjoy “beauty” products and treatments in a way that is both nourishing, healing, healthy AND lovely.
Susan Parker is a pioneer in the space of beauty stewardship. An herbalist, wildcrafter, and deeply knowledgable about health, wellness and beauty Susan is a well-spring of information about what your skin needs to be vital, healthy and luminous from the inside out.
So happy to welcome Susan to the Shift Series. Enjoy!
Oils; warming, protective, nourishing and sympathetic to our skin. Why? Because our cells are made up of the same materials; fats, oils and waxes called
lipids. Like, needs and attracts like.
A good half of the skin’s make up is a mix of lipids. In caring for it, it is important to support the cells of the skin with the same materials, good quality oils and fats.
Both inside and out!
Inside is so important
Diet: the days are over when we were told that fats are bad for our health. The truth has finally won out; fats and oils are a major component of our body and an important part of the food we eat.
The fats and oils serve to keep precious moisture in: in the cells, in the body. By protecting the water needed for our internal organs and functions, eating high quality oils and fats also feeds the skin from the inside. You can’t really go wrong.
Examples are avocados, butter from grass fed cows or goats, coconut and palm oils for cooking (solid natural oils don’t go rancid in the heat), olive and olive oil, sesame seeds and oils, raw nuts like macadamia and almonds (for their healthy oil and protein content). All wholesome foods high in quality oils will feed your cells naturally.
Water: DRINK that water, at least one liter a day, preferably two. It will help the skin glow. Remember it is water that keeps the plants upright and plump. You don’t want to look like that plant you forgot to water.
Topically oils are excellent skin care. Simple and direct, the plant world gives us a wide variety for a multitude of uses.
More years than youth?
As we add years to our chronological age we don’t have to
look like our pet lizard. Water and oil are your skin’s best friends.
Water plumps up the tissues while oils, a variety both inside and out, protects that moisture and keeps it in the cells where it belongs.
Supporting, protective and nourishing oils will stabilize the cells of face and neck areas so that you can put your best face forward in the Wisdom Years. Along with generous water intake, oils of argan, jojoba, pomegranate and macadamia or avocado used as simple facial oils will support the cell’s lipid make up. Oil’s ability to hold in moisturizing water nourishes the tissues creating its own fountain of youth.
Outdoors a lot?
We need those sunrays on our skin to make immune strengthening vitamin D along with compounds that keep our heart and circulatory systems healthy. Depending on season and location we may need to supplement this most important nutrient but that does not mean you can avoid the sun. It has many necessary benefits for our health.1
Yes, too much sun can be harmful but it is Vital too. Protect skin cells with oils from tropical climates; nature knows how to provide what her inhabitants require to thrive. Sunscreens block the beneficial effects of sun on the skin so go easy in your applications.
Shea butter is naturally protective with up to 15% healing fraction in addition to quality fatty acids that protect cells. Its healing fraction possesses generous quantities of plant compounds that actually protect the cells of the skin from excess exposure and damage. Shea butter is sun protection and nourishment in one natural package.
Highly colored buriti and red palm oils are high in beta-carotene, a natural antioxidant that protects against the oxidizing actions of some UV rays where it happens, on the outer skin layers. Naturally.
Youthful Skin and breakouts?
Oils for youthful skin – yes, oil is good for oily skin. Remember like needs and attracts like. Trying to dry the skin of excess oil just makes it want to produce more! Remember, oil is protective and the skin’s job is one of protection. Using oils that help moderate the skin’s natural tendencies of over production is the key to happy skin.
Some oils are high in tannins, plant compounds that cause the pores to contract helping restrict overproduction. These are called ‘dry’ oils and they don’t feel as oily as oils with lesser amounts of tannins.
Camellia, or tea seed oil, like its herb, green and black teas is a dry oil, high in tannins like the cup of tea you drink. Hazelnut, mango butter, and grapeseed oils are also excellent for oily skin.
For skin with blemishes, African Kalahari or watermelon seed oil helps clear the pores of old hardened oils and waxes that could be causing blemish problems. Cranberry seed oil with its balanced fatty acid profile can provide compounds that may be missing from the skin. Jojoba oil from dry hot climates possesses both tannins and very long chain fatty acids that protect the skin causing it to calm and not over produce its own oils.
Skin in need of extra care?
Skin that needs extra care after exposure or a period lacking care can be helped by extra nourishing oils that are high in vitamins and plant compounds to strengthen and support the skin.
Vitamin C is particularly helpful for maintaining the health of the skin and the underlying collagen and elastin that provides the skin’s structure. Many oils have similar components as the fruits and leaves of the plant it comes from. Berries are particularly high in vitamin C as are many oils from their seeds. Blackberry seed oil is one such oil high in vitamin C that soaks into the skin quickly, while nourishing and protecting against oxidative damage.
Rosehip seeds too are an important oil source that nourishes deeply and ameliorates previous damage to the skin. Scar tissue is improved and the balanced fatty acid profile of the oil balances and supports the skin helping it to regain its natural bloom.
Pomegranate seed oil is particularly beneficial for
mature skin as its conjugated fatty acids help thicken skin that
has grown thin and fragile. Unusual fatty acids that are
particularly beneficial for skin and body and usually found in
meat and dairy have a botanical counterpart in pomegranate seeds. The oil is expensive but a little goes a long way towards a renewed skin tone.
How to Use Oils on the Skin
As simply as a few drops rubbed into clean skin or warm oil treatments, a variety of oils can perform most tasks that a good skin care regimen includes.
Using the Oil Cleansing Method to remove make up at the end of the day leaves your skin feeling soft, moisturized and clean. The oil cleansing method works with your skin’s natural oils and rhythms. The cleansing oil combines with oils on your skin to loosen dirt, makeup particles and dead skin cells.
To use the oil cleansing method, massage oils like grapeseed or sunflower into your skin and neck. Use enough oil for a thick layer all over the skin, but not so much so that it drips. Massage the oil into cheeks, forehead, nose and neck for a
moment or two. Next, heat up a washcloth with fairly hot water, wring
it out and press it onto your face and neck to loosen any remaining
unwanted oils or dirt. Then gently wipe away the excess oil. Follow this
with a toner and moisturizer as the skin can become quite dry.
Facial oils and serums can be made by using one or more nutrient rich oils like blackberry, rosehip seed, pomegranate, jojoba or argan, and massage a few drops into the skin after cleansing. Allow to soak into the skin tissues before applying makeup or a cream moisturizer.
The best oils for massage are monounsaturated oils like olive,
shea oil, macadamia, almond, apricot kernel and avocado along with medium chain fatty acid, coconut oil.
An oil massaged into the body after showering warms and conditions the skin over a larger part of the body. Excellent oils for the body include sesame, kukui, grapeseed, even olive though it is a bit oily and takes longer to soak into the skin. Oil applied at the end of showering then lightly rinsing the skin will leave a thin protective film that is absorbed well and will not damage clothing.
Scrubs can exfoliate the rough skin on feet and body and be made simply with sugar or salt mixed with one or more oils. A quarter cup of salt/sugar with about one or two tablespoons of oil is all you need. Mix thoroughly in a small bowl and use when showering. The oils keep the skin from drying while the salt or sugar granules remove excess and dead skin cells. The result is a freshened layer of healthy skin.
Oils, butters and waxes are a natural part of the plant world and our food as well as our body. Buy quality fresh oils and use them generously on the body and in the diet.
Cautionary Comments & Suggestions
Chemicals often used in skin and body care products, as well as our food, serve no positive benefit for our health or us. However beneficial to the manufacturer, your skin and body are stressed rather than improved. Our bodies are amazing and complicated life forms that require quality food, water, light and air to perform optimally. When we throw non-nature derived chemicals into the mix the body has the added job of removing them so that health can be achieved.
Simple ingredients, organic foods and materials minimally processed will result in the best that your body can achieve. Reading the ingredient lists on your skin care and food packages is a practice that pays dividends in health.
Color in foods indicates the presence of plant compounds like antioxidants, flavones, carotenes, vitamins and minerals. Called polyphenols and terpenes these plant compounds are the key to health. Seek out beautiful colors in your foods and oils and your skin and body will thank you.
Many excellent oils can be found in your local natural foods store and better groceries. Olive, almond, coconut, palm, red and white, walnut, grapeseed, sesame, sunflower and safflower are usually available. Other more exotic oils can be ordered on line.
Note: some of the following are affiliate links with companies that we work with regularly.
From Nature With Love This company carries the most amazing array of natural oils and many of them are organic.
Mountain Rose Herbs A company based in Oregon on the West Coast that carries a large number of organic oils and ingredients for making your own skin care.
Majestic Mountain Sage Based in Utah this company has many oils and ingredients, most of them suitable for natural skin care.
Lotion Crafters Based in the Northwest, this company has a wide range of oils and natural ingredients along with cosmetic ingredients that are not so natural.
Coming soon: Power of the Seed: A Guide to Oils for Health and Beauty, Susan M Parker, published by Process Media, 2014. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan M Parker, an herbalist, creator of fine herbal and skin care products and author with a book on cosmetic oils that will be released in late 2014.
Susan started SOLUM&HERBE in 1996 using clays, solum and plant extracts, herbe she coined the name to reflect her areas of interest in healing. After an herbal apprenticeship with Pam Montgomery in1994, she made a cream to treat wounds on a neighboring cow at the request of the farmers. Malta was the name of the cow and so Malta’s Cream has had an eighteen year life helping animals and humans with skin issues, cuts, abrasion, rashes, burns and much more. Over the years she also developed a natural and organic skin care line and a number of creams, salves and elixirs for skin and body. http://www.solumandherbe.com
While healing has always been an interest to Susan her early training was in the fine arts and museum work, BFA, MFA. The graphics for SOLUM&HERBE and occasional watercolor painting are her ties to the fine arts now.
Her book, Power of the Seed: Oils for Health and Beauty, is the culmination of a dozen plus years of her work with and interest in the fixed oils. Needing a reference manual to keep the information on the many oils close and available in her work she began by self-publishing a booklet in 2000 on the oils; almond, olive, coconut, and walnut were a few. In 2013 the original booklet was expanded to include many more oils and greater depth on their chemical make up including the properties that give them their color, scent and taste. The book Power of the Seed, to be published by Process Media is an outgrowth of these efforts and her interest in oils. Contact info: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org