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Skin Care - Creams versus Oils

August 2017

I have always enjoyed using my hands, making and creating. Learning about vegetable oils and essential oils lead very quickly to the intense desire to make my own skin care.

The first thing was to make up a recipe for a soft but resistant, bubbly bar of soap. This having been achieved, thanks to Melanie Cox's handy tips, I tried a liquid castille soap which was a much harder and complex process to perfect.

I then focused on the next challenge - making a face cream. At the time, despite dealing with organic pure raw materials, it never occurred to me that I could simply blend these for a 100% pure and natural, preservative free moisturiser. In fact the thought of it was truly unappealing with the image of my face looking like a grease ball slipping up into my mind.

So I did make a cream, several in fact as it is a very easy process. One can never go wrong as the possibilities are truly endless. I struggled for a while with the preservative side of it but as years went by, new solutions came onto the market.

All was wonderful and I never bought a bar of soap or moisturizer from the high street brands again. Until one day, due to the busy schedule of work and motherhood, I found myself one night facing an empty pot of my favourite home-made face cream. I had the choice of going to bed, with a pot of nothing or a bottle of jojoba oil. Nothing was definitely not an option. Jojoba it was along with the prospect of a grease ball face. Luckily it was night time.

My vision and understanding of skin scare changed over night. Not only didn't I look like a light house but the oil sank into the skin within minutes. None of these dry, tight feelings, my face felt soft, supple and nourished. Needless to say that I went back to my blending board, experimented, tried, sampled human guinea pigs, came up with a few body and face oils including my very favourite - Tissue repair oil. I use it twice a day every day. In fact I catch myself just before bed time, going back to my bottle and smearing a few more drops around the eyes and the mouth where the skin is more prone to wrinkles. Grease ball face it is - most definitely. The fact is, I love it and by next morning, the oil is all gone, sunken in, leaving my face smooth, re-plumbed and wrinkle free.

To review a few simple biology facts. The top layer of the skin contains chains of fatty-acids, the exact same that make up all the vegetable oils. These lipids protect the second layer of the skin that houses the collagen and its moisture containing properties. They prevent the moisture to evaporate. If the epidermis is not nourished and replenished properly, it fails in its protective role letting down the collagen which cannot retain the moisture, leading to dry, sagging, wrinkly skin.

A cream can be made up with up to 70 to 80% water. It also contains an emulsifying agent to mix water and oils, stabilizers to keep consistency and colour over time, preservatives and hopefully some vegetable oils and their long chains of fatty acids. Let’s face it, the active ingredients in such a cream are the vegetable oils. They are the ones which will keep the top layer of the skin in tip top condition so it can perform its protective role. And these represent a tiny proportion – 10 / 15% - of your so-called moisturising cream. Nothing is going to moisturize the skin. Definitely not water which does not penetrate the skin at all, or the emulsifier that is only there to bind water and oil together into a smooth consistency, or all the additives that are added to ensure shelf life and so forth, not even the vegetable oils whose role it is to nourish and replump the top layer of the skin so it forms a barrier to retain the moisture contained in the under layer. In a natural cream, you may hope that it will be free of all stabilisers, synthetics, colourings but it will still have preservatives. Why put all these unnecessary ingredients on your skin and pay extra for them when all you really need is a long chain of fatty acids.

Vegetable oils provide ideal solutions for every aspect of your skincare, from cleansing to ‘moisturizing’ and even make-up (although I have not tried yet). The range of oils available is wide and offer fantastic possibilities and solutions for any type of skin. It does not have to be complicated. In fact, it is simple.

One important thing is to choose your oils carefully. Many vegetable oils are highly processed, going through 10 to 20 different processing stages, which subject them to over heating, solvents, etc… A vegetable oil of good quality is cold-pressed, filtered and is extracted from organically-grown plants and fruits. Strictly nothing else.

If you would like advice to make your own face or body oil, please give us a call.

We will be very happy to help. Alternatively we offer ready-blended oils.

Ian Kusmerik chose a wonderful title for his book on vegetable oils. They are truly… LIQUID SUNSHINE

Experiment, try, have fun and enjoy!