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Using vegetable oils as base ingredients for skincare

September 2014

We are often faced with comments such as: ‘Oils will make my skin greasy, oily and shiny !’ If it does, you will have either used the wrong type of oil or put too much of it. Vegetable oils are made of the same molecules and substances that are already present in the skin. Each oil has a different texture and therapeutic application. If used and applied appropriately, they are all your skin need. They will leave it clean, soft, nourished and rejuvenated.

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By the end of this article, we hope to have dissipated the worries and misconceptions and made you an addict of skincare formulated with the best ingredients in mind to look after your skin.

INGREDIENTS WE USE

  • All ingredients in our skin care formulations are derived from plants only.
  • As much as possible, we only use ingredient that have undergone the least aggressive extraction processes before they reach our shelves so as to preserve the vital components of the plant.
  • We use ingredients that are certified by the soil association so our customers know that they are the purest we can find
  • We do not add anything to our formulations – no preservatives, no chemicals of any sort, no colourings. We also endeavour not to take anything out.
  • As a result, our skin care is suitable for all skin types, from dry, mature to sensitive or damaged.

The reason we can do this is because we use vegetable oils as our bases. They do not contain water, therefore do not need any preservatives. As long as they are kept sensibly out of a source of heat and out of light, they will keep for a year. They are packed with fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, K, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, carotenoid, chlorophyll, lecithin… all that is necessary to feed the skin.

WHAT IS THE SKIN MADE OF

The skin has 2 basic layers, dermis and epidermis.

The epidermis which is in contact with the environment is made of layers of dead or dying cells separated by layers of lipids which role is to protect and retain the moisture held in the deeper layer of the skin. These lipids are made of fatty acids, waxes etc. and accounts for 14% of the total weight of the skin.

The dermis is a mixture of protein fibre collagen and elastin. The moisture is retained in the collagen. It contributes to the plumpness, smoothness, elasticity and youthfulness of the skin. This will dehydrate quickly if the limpid barrier, residing in the epidermis, is poor or damaged, resulting in sagging skin forming wrinkles etc. It is therefore important to look after the oil film protecting the skin so that it can effectively protect the collagen and its moisture retaining properties.

The body produces its own protective oil – sebum a mixture of fatty acids and glycerides. It is produced by special glands and are most active after puberty. Their activity decreases as the body gets older. Diet, reactions caused by the use of chemicals on the skin affect greatly the secretion of sebum causing dry, oily or a variety of skin complaints.

Vegetable oils offer the right solution. They are used because of their low incidence of irritation, sensitivity and non clogging.

OILS & THEIR CHARACTERISTICS

Vegetable oils are made of chains of fatty acids, the very same that are present in the lipid barrier in the top layer of the skin. The variations in the combinations of these fatty acids and their nos give the oils their own specific values and characteristics, whether it is solid or liquid, saturated or unsaturated, mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated. The latter are the oils that contain the EFA (essential fatty acids - omega 3 & 6) that are not produced by the body – sign of deficiency in EFA is a dry, flaky skin

They also contain all the liposoluble vitamins A (provitamin A), D (D3 in avocado), E and K.

There is a wide range of vegetable oils, we stock about 20. They are all very different from one another.

Some are solid (contains more saturated fatty acids) - cocoa butter, coconut, shea butter
Some are thick (olive, almond), others are light (macadamia, evening primrose, borage, walnut, sesame, sunflower ...)
They have a colour from pale yellow to green, red and brown
They have the aroma of the seeds or nut they come from.

All these describe an oil which has not been refined and has only undergone the basics of cold-expression.

Refining involves deodorising, bleaching, degumming, using solvent (petroleum based) to increase the yield (grapeseed, almond), winterisation to avoid cloudiness caused by waxes (filtered or centrifuge), neutralisation (to remove free fatty acids with caustic soda), fractionating. Hydrogenation is the process of hardening a liquid fat into a hard fat, adding hydrogen molecules to the chain of fatty acids to make it a saturated chain. That requires pressure and heat along with creating a reaction using hydrogen gas and metal catalyst usually nickel or platinum. That process creates trans-fatty acids that compete with enzymes, interfere with the work of essential fatty acids in the body and are toxic.

The refining process covers a number of operations which varies from manufacturers depending on the type of oils they wish to produce.
All these processes remove all the vital elements of the oils and produce an oil which has very little to do with its original counterpart.

It is essential to use a vegetable oil that has not been refined, which means that it should have retained its original colour and aroma.

  • Rosehip oil is red because it contains carotenoids that are red. Bleaching the oil will remove the carotenoids therefore will deprive the oil of the anti-antioxidant properties contained in the carotenoids.
  • Evening Primrose and Borage are pale green to a deep green which is the colour of the Essential fatty acids that the oils contain. Bleach these oils, and all the EFA are gone.

WHY ARE VEGETABLE OILS GOOD FOR YOU ?

Clinical studies have demonstrated the wide benefits when appropriate oils have been massaged into the skin.
Combinations of specific vegetable oils have shown to make significant improvement in the skin treating:

  • Dry skin – calendula, rosehip, jojoba
  • Eczema, psoriasis, particularly true using oils reached in EFA, GLA, carotenoids (rosehip, carrot)
  • Signs of aging, rosehip, camellia, sea-buckthorne,
  • Reduce scaring and stretch mark, argan, rosehip,
  • Balance the sebum secretion, jojoba, reducing it in case of oily skin or acne, jojoba, hazelnut,

If chosen correctly, they do not make the skin greasy. Although not technically absorbed by the skin, they seem to blend with the already present fatty acids in the skin to enrich the natural lipid barrier and restore the skin to health. Vegetable oils offer elements that the body need.

  • essential fatty acids, omega 3 are present in evening primrose, borage, pumpkin, melon
  • Carotenoids - pro-vitamin A in rosehip, calendula, carrot
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) is naturally found in all vegetable oils to various degree.
  • Vitamin D – (formed in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunshine) regulates the calcium maintenance and bone structure. The sole vegetable source is reputed to be avocado oil.
  • Vitamin K – needed to form the blood clotting agent. Found in green leafy vegetables and in green oils olive, canola, camellia.

All those are powerful anti-oxidants

HOW WE DESIGNED OUR PRODUCTS

Cleanser ‘Citrus Squash’

The ingredients have been chosen to create a thick and greasy consistency that will glide on the skin and dilute all the make up and grim of the day. Only a peanut size is necessary. Rub with the tip of your fingers and massage the face, even around the eyes. This blend will dissolve, eye liner, mascara, thick foundation. Remove with a warm, wet cotton pad and repeat until the pad stays clean. No feeling of dryness or tightness will be experienced. You skin will feel refreshed, cleansed, plumped through the action of avocado oil which is nourishing to the skin.

Tone with our Rose Essential Water

Apply with a cotton pad or a spray over the face. The purpose of the toner is to refresh and harvest the benefits of rose essential oil. Putting it on the face will look after the skin and fill your senses with the psychological properties of rose.

For the skin, rose is antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant and anti-aging. For the mind, Rose is antidepressant, boosts self esteem and confidence.

Moisturise

Combines in a small bottle the essence of what the skin needs.

Moisturisers are designed with a blend of oils chosen for their specific properties and for their lightness. Very little is needed indeed: 2, 3, 4 drops at most rubbed on the tips of the fingers and massaged over the face following natural lines. Leave to sink in for ten minutes and apply make-up as normal. Your skin will not feel greasy.

‘Tissue repair balm’ was designed specifically for damaged tissue, scars, post operative stress, stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles. It is our best seller and works wonders as a daily moisturiser for mature skin or even not so mature. A wonderful combination of specialists oils packed with anti-oxidants, carotenoids and is ideal as a moisturiser around the eyes, mouth where wrinkles are more likely to develop.

‘Nocturnal mist’ is especially designed for night time. Made slightly richer with added avocado therefore to use when the skin is given time to rest and restore itself. Packed with Omega 3, vitamin A, D, E & potassium. It is a good emollient, very nourishing, ideal for dry and mature skins or those suffering from eczema.