We all want a quick fix. We want to purchase solutions that exonerate us from doing work. We want to feel effortlessly smart and beautiful and complete. This is why advertising is so powerful – it sends the message that we are not enough and then promises a neatly packaged, hands-off approach to bridge the gap between who we are and who we wish we were. This has never been more prevalent than in skincare remedies; your face is the first thing other people notice and that makes you vulnerable and marketers rich.
I’d like to offer solutions, but they are going to be of a different hue. I’ll start by telling you that you ARE enough. You are already beautiful. You have the tools to become whoever it is you’d like to be because there is a reason why that version of yourself is the one you exalt.
Okay, now that your self-worth is properly buttressed it’s time to get real. Transformation is work. Changing a habit is hard. No product or essential oil will do it for you! Skin care is no exception; acne is typically a sign that something else has gone awry. I’m going to bring up a ton of health topics and the scope of this piece cannot scratch the surface of each one, so further investigation might be appropriate!
- Dairy protein intolerance – you may not be classically “lactose intolerant” and still experience unwanted side effects. If you’re not sure, try going a full month without it. Here are some substitution suggestions.
- Gluten sensitivity- Gluten compromises the tight junctions between the cells lining your intestinal wall and can lead to a landslide of insidious health problems that don’t always show up right away (sometimes they show up on your face, first). This is true whether you are celiac or not! If you have unexplained pizza face it might be time to ditch the pizza. (OR just love yourself and do whatever you want. Totes up to you). For more info I recommend this book.
- Blood sugar spikes and crashes – Consider going low (or lower) carb and reduce your sugar intake.
- Hydration – Water, water, water and more water. Not soda. Not juice.
To learn much more about gut health, the dietary and lifestyle factors that influence it, and how essential oils and other Young Living supplements can help, check out my YouTube video, here.
- Hormonal Imbalances – This is such a multi-layered and important topic that I cannot simply gloss over! I will, however, recommend this book and advise that you seek a functional medicine practitioner if that is within your means. Hormonal acne is usually indicated along the jawline, chin or cheeks and usually gets inflamed in accordance with your cycle.
- Your liver or kidneys are working too hard – Detoxing is often the FIRST step in approaching a health issue BEFORE introducing oils to reduce adverse reactions.
- Harsh skincare products – Now this one, I’m prepared to get into.
Your epidermis, or the top layer of your skin has 4 layers, the outermost of which is designed to protect and seal the layers beneath. This layer, the stratum corneum, keeps the skin elastic and prevents water evaporation. It is ALSO composed primarily of dead skin cells, which according to Nadine Artemis “has given rise to the practice of chemical peels and excessive exfoliation. Yet this vital layer is our topsoil that feeds our friendly flora. Cell loss is designed to precisely match cell production. Exfoliating cells away too quickly tips the balance, and cell loss exceeds cell production. This signals stress in the skin.”
When harsh chemical cleansers and surfactants in cosmetics strip away this layer prematurely, they leave the immature underlying cells vulnerable to toxins.This new skin becomes inflamed and a vicious cycle of dermal dysbiosis is initiated. Below are some common side effects and the underlying issue:
REDNESS – impaired lipid barrier
DRY / ITCHY – Inflammation
CLOGGED PORES – Oxidative stress
PREMATURE AGING – impaired cell signaling
You wouldn’t walk around the desert in your birthday suit. You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked. Would you decimate your skin’s natural body guards?
You’ve likely been doing just that for years without knowing it. So how do you revive your skin’s natural function?
- Invest in a quality water filter for your shower that filters pharmaceuticals, fluoride and chlorine such as this one.
- STOP using synthetic skincare products, especially those containing antibiotics and
other harsh chemicals. Download EWG’s healthy living application to scan common products.
- Don’t over-exfoliate – Try dry brushing instead (this is to stimulate lymph, not slough off dead skin!)
- Do not wash your body with antibacterial soap. IN FACT, the bulk of your body doesn’t really need soap at all most days. Just the pits and bits.
- Practice oil washing on your face:
- SEAL the hydro-lipid barrier with soothing essential oil serums. PRO tip: pop open your preferred probiotic and add to your moisturizer.
Below is a list of my favorite skin-supporting botanicals. Simply choose essential oils that speak to you and combine 10-20 drops per 15 ml of carrier oil. (Dilution ratios are subjective; you may prefer more or less. For pregnancy and breastfeeding I recommend 2-4 drops per 15 ml). You can store the serum in a glass pump dispenser or roller bottle. I like the roller bottle because it fits in my purse and regulates the amount nicely – just swipe across the chin, jawline, forehead and bridge of the nose, rub it in and you’ll be glowing in no time.
Another way for your skin to imbibe the oils is via a diffuser running in the bathroom during a hot shower. If you don’t have a diffuser, simply place a few drops on the shower floor far away from the drain!
Essential Oils for Radiant Skin
- Blue Tansy: works at an early stage of the inflammation cascade by preventing the synthesis of proteins that would transmit inflammation.
- Roman Chamomile: rich in easing esters, making it the gentlest go-to oil to soothe unruly skin conditions
- Carrot Seed: Revives skin cells, enhances elasticity and revitalizes skin lacking tone
- Cypress: stimulates lymph, prevents spread of varicose veins, hemorrhoids and edema, heals cellulite, balances excess oil, soothes dandruff
- Frankincense: unparalleled power to heal wounds, fade scars, treat wrinkles, and reduce inflammation
- Geranium: offers skin a natural glow by driving moisture into the skin, stimulates blood circulation, assists the release of toxins, tightens loose skin, balances female hormones and adrenal dysregulation.
- Helichrysum: aids in cellular regeneration, skin tonic for acne, wrinkles, cuts, bruises + burns
- Lemon: brightens dull complexions, combats cellulite and varicose veins
- Myrrh: optimal oil for wrinkles and dry, dull, uneven skin. Induces healthy cellular apoptosis.
- Neroli: youth hormone ocimene fades fine lines, scars, and stretch marks. Improves elasticity, strengthens fragile skin, balances overproductive oil glands, reduces pore size and prevents water loss in skin cells
- Lavender: balances the skin’s sebaceous glands
- Palmarosa: balances oil production (in either direction), helps all body systems work together more efficiently
- Peppermint: reduces redness, tranquilizes itchiness
- Rosemary: Enhances the skins metabolism and has antiseptic, cleansing, cell-rejuvenating, acne-clearing stimulating qualities.
- Sandalwood: Excellent for toning, regulating, and moisturizing the skin.
- Vetiver: Helps skin maintain a youthful plumpness, soothes tired tissues
- Ylang Ylang: cell regenerator, oil production regulator, skin softener, facial-muscle-relaxer, skin-tone balancer
- Patchouli: tones and smoothes mature skin
My favorite carrier oil is jojoba because it stabilizes native bacteria and unplugs pores by dissolving oxidized sebum. A close second is coconut oil, which is good to keep on hand for anything and everything – plus it has a natural SPF between 4 and 10! Tamanu oil is my preferred choice for first aid.
A toner is a water based solution intended to remove residues and tighten pores. Apply with a cotton ball after washing but before moisturizing.
Toner – For dry, sensitive, or combination skin
Astringent Toner – For oily, acne-prone, or combination skin
* It isn’t necessary to lather up your whole body in soap everyday! Since that can disrupt the skin’s natural ecology, I recommend sudsing up areas that need washing and simply use a wet washcloth (not a scratchy loofah) for everything else!
*Any of the skin-supporting oils may be substituted in place of lavender or frankincense
This daily serum is appropriate for daily use for most skin types, but have fun and create a serum that addresses your unique needs!
New to essential oils? Take my free oil course to get acquainted!
What is your favorite way to support healthy skin? Drop a comment below!